CIOs have everything to gain by thinking, now and up front, how their companies can benefit from metaverses.
Today, they can help their colleagues better understand what the metaverse really is, the technologies that need to be in place to lead an initiative in these immersive universes, as well as the opportunities they create (and the risks of as a result).
Whether or not exploring the metaverse is IT depends on the company. But CIOs are in a particularly good position. They are the ones who can provide answers to all these technological questions and directions.
For EY’s Jeff Wong, “Management is looking for leadership on how to approach the topic, from a strategic and technological point of view. […]. The IT department can establish itself as a strategic guide in these places that rely on so many technologies.”
1. Define the Metaverse Strategy
According to Gartner’s Marty Resnick, leaders in a variety of industries (from higher education to event management) are already thinking about how to metaversely introduce their products and services, create value, and even improve them. Imagine completely new shows.
Given the powerful technological dimension of metaverses, CIOs are in a good position to discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of engaging in these universes.
Likewise, their role as Head of Information Technology enables them to perform due diligence for vendors and assist other managers in working to separate reality from reality, the hype that usually accompanies new technologies.
Thus, CIOs are able to assess the limits of reasonable participation in the metaverse, “develop a strategy to take advantage of the metaverse and talk about the new business model it can offer,” according to Marty Resnick.
2. Addressing the long list of metaverse risks in the early stages
No innovation is without risk. Metaverses are no exception. Here is a short list of pitfalls to watch out for:
- environmental concerns;
- Cyber security issues.
- legal issues;
- harassment in all its forms;
- confidentiality issues
- Effects on mental health (lower self-esteem; increased feelings of isolation).
These are all reasons why CIOs should think carefully about any Metaverse initiative. With this in mind, it is important that you discuss with those responsible for compliance, finance, law, risks, and cybersecurity.
For example, think about how metaverses handle transactions. Some of the existing platforms use cryptocurrencies, while others – notably gaming platforms – have their own currency, which players can earn or buy.
“What do the legal and financial departments think of that? Can your business accept cryptocurrency? How does one own and therefore sell a digital object? And how does a company calculate that?” asks Jeff Wong of EY.
The legal department, the financial department, and the risk management department all need to work with the CIO to make these decisions. Likewise, the metaverse creates new considerations regarding compliance issues, data privacy, risks, and security requirements.
Jeff Wong calls “All of these areas (legal, financial, risk) must be associated with the CIO to make the right strategic decisions.”
At the same time, concerns about environmental sustainability are growing. The metaverse can be computationally intensive to create a huge 3D space. They are based on blockchain, and some are particularly energy-intensive. So CIOs will also have to grapple with difficult questions regarding metaverse’s negative impact on the environment, and the carbon impact of this new space.
3. Test different metaverse platforms
While it’s a far cry from the unifying metaverse as in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 movie “Ready Player One” – which coincidentally helped popularize the concept – it’s interesting to see what is or is about to exist.
For Jeff Wong, you have to “go see and test all the platforms”. CIOs need to understand the current alternating landscape, where there are indeed many differences.
Decentraland, Somnium Space, Cryptovoxels, and The Sandbox are the main metaverse options today, along with “game” platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, or Minecraft.
4. Develop use cases
Jeff Wong invites us to take advantage of this overview of metaverses to design use cases in parallel, which will vary widely depending on the enterprise sector.
Some potential cases are reminiscent of video conferencing, but in a 3D space, with participants’ avatars and not just video and audio. This use of metaverse could have applications in user experience or in training, always with the idea of developing increasingly immersive interactions.
“You can actually do these kinds of meetings [et] They gather to exchange ideas in a room [3D] You create it using whiteboards and sticky notes on them. “It’s like you’re actually together, sitting in the same room,” says Jeff Wong. With these immersive worlds we can [aussi] Imagine a customer relations training environment, where a salesperson can practice reacting to a situation in front of an aggressive customer, while simulating physical aggression.”
Accenture Virtual Offices in the metaverse – © Accenture
The EY expert also sees opportunities to strengthen the brand, and even develop new revenue. For example, Burberry, Balenciaga or Gucci now sell virtual products, such as fully digital clothes or bags. Heineken sells virtual beer. A more radical example, startup The Dematerialized sells digital-only clothing and accessories, in limited series (thanks to NFTs).
5. Prepare for constant development
We can expect the metaverse to start like the web. It is likely that organizations will begin to establish their presence on certain platforms, which will be “on the ramps into the metaverse” – a future in which moving from one place to another in the global metaverse will be as seamless as with the Internet today.
If indeed such a consolidated metaverse sees the light of day. Because “there is a lot of speculation, and we will find out a lot of things over the next couple of years. We have to see how all this will be put into place,” advises Marti Resnick.
6. Planning to hone the skills of IT teams
For Jagjeet Gill, partner at Monitor Deloitte, CIOs will also have the work they need to do on technical skills to enable their organization to move into the metaverse.
For starters, they will need to adopt Web3 to support new types of transactions and virtual currencies. They will also need to ensure integration between their existing IT structures and multiple decentralized networks. Finally, they will have to invest in the technologies on which the worlds of the future will be based: cloud infrastructures, 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data security.
Not forgetting to continue existing projects such as managing customer data to improve “cash lead” processes and to be able to realize the potential of marketing data that metaverses will generate (just like the web with behavioral data or cookies).
In this context, CIOs will have to technically strengthen their teams. It will certainly be necessary to find new skills (or training) – for example for the Solidity programming language, in order to create smart contracts on blockchains.
7. Personally go to metaverse
Experts also invite IT managers to go in person to one or more metaverses. to see.
By directly confronting yourself with the reality of this virtual, you’ll dispel misunderstandings, sort more easily between true and false (and tangible than fiction), and see concretely the evolution of platforms. Lots of positive points for establishing a long-term strategy and action plan in your professional activity.
Moreover, it can only help to better understand the experiences of the next generation – a generation that will not see the metaverse as a futuristic novelty, and for a very simple reason: for them, the metaverse will be a reality that has always been there (“original metaverses”).