3D Printing: Time for the CIO to Build a Business Case?

Gartner has put 3D printing on a list of critical technologies that CIOs need to understand, particularly saying that they must track how transformational (or not transformational) 3D printing will be in their respective industries. Steve Ranger tests whether the time of 3D printing has really arrived for CIOs in a roundtable discussion at ZDNet.

Pivotal or Irrelevant?

The jury of IT professionals Ranger summoned was split down the middle on 3D printing’s relevance. One perspective is that CIOs need to be the all-seeing eye of tech trends, and so it is their duty to be keeping tabs on 3D printing the same way they watch any other emerging technology. Whether 3D printing ranks among the most critical emerging technologies right now is where there is disagreement. Certainly, companies dealing with a lot of physical goods will have a need to investigate, but others may just shrug their shoulders at the proposition. At the very least, one point of morose agreement may be that 3D printing will complicate intellectual property discussions.

When it comes to the healthcare industry, the views on 3D printing become more uniform:

Healthcare tech chiefs seem particularly aware of the potential of 3D printing for their industry. Brian Wells, associate CIO at Penn Medicine, said it was definitely be something to be experimented with: “In healthcare the ability to 3D print a replica of a patient's organ prior to surgery enables the surgery team to plan the surgery in more accurate ways. And printing is relatively easy given the 3D imaging (CT Scan) already being used.”

The technology could similarly be used to produce much faster and cheaper prototypes in industries not restricted just to healthcare. But in the end, the truth is that the roundtable did not seem to uncover very much. “Some will benefit, others not so much,” is where we started the discussion, and it seems to be where we end it for the moment. Oh, well. You can read Ranger’s full article here:

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