Cutting costs by optimising IT, scaling networks to deliver business value and growth, and changing the direction of the business itself are among the top 10 technology trends Gartner predicts for 2023.
There is growing uncertainty on how to move past the most recent challenges resulting from supply chain issues, war in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, difficulty finding talent, and the evolving financial crisis. To overcome those, some businesses will cut costs, others will continue with existing expansion plans, and some will change the direction of their business strategy completely.
With three central themes — optimise, scale, and pioneer — Gartner has predicted 10 top strategic technology trends for 2023 that can help enterprises see through the current economic and market challenges.
Scale industry cloud platforms vertically
In order to scale their business, organisations are adopting vertical-market clouds, which are increasingly being offered with industry-specific data sets by a variety of vendors for sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, supply-chain, agriculture and finance.
These days, enterprises are focused on extracting business value from cloud technology, and don’t want to worry about the underlying infrastructure, according to Padraig Byrne, Gartner’s senior director analyst.
“What we’ve seen has been the rise of industry specific modular components, dedicated to particular industry segments that allow businesses to rapidly build differentiated offerings without having to fully develop the underlying technology,” Byrne said.
Reduce friction between development teams and complex infrastructure
Once the cloud environment is ready comes the urgency of getting products to market, and to scale delivery the focus must be on platform engineering.
“But we have complex architectures, or we have hybrid systems and some of the applications on premises and some in the cloud. We also have a lack of skills — a developer that doesn’t know how to build a scalable network,” Byrne said.
The solution is to look at the difference between where the development team sits and the infrastructure layer and look to reduce the friction between the two.
This can be done by building engineering platforms that have reusable components for developers with their tools — such as integrated development environments (IDE), monitoring tools, and CI/CD — all delivered in a self-service development portal. These would be pre-approved tools so developers have access to them when needed rather than having to ask for approval to use this or that tool.
Scale everywhere with Wi-Fi
The wireless trend is based on Gartner’s prediction that by 2025, 60 per cent of enterprises will be using five or more wireless technologies, which among other things means additional use of office Wi-Fi.
That prediction isn’t far-fetched — as Byrne said, consumers are already using up to three wireless technologies daily.
But wireless networks go beyond individual tools. Western Australia mining company Albermale created a private 5G network that allowed scientists and engineers to access systems remotely when needed rather than having to be onsite.
“What this means though, is that your network is not just a cost to the business but if you think differently, it may become something which actually adds value or differentiation to what you do,” Byrne said.
Create digital immune systems
Seventy-six per cent of teams responsible for digital products are now also responsible for revenue generation, according to Gartner. Traditional approaches to software development make it hard to create systems that are scalable, secure and stable, therefore hindering the opportunity to generate revenue.
This is where the research firm’s concept of digital immunity comes in, as it brings together multiple modern practices around the application development lifecycle, like observability, to improve what organisations can see, and site reliability engineering and chaos engineering, to improve the resiliency of applications, Byrne said.
“It brings together analytics and AI to improve the testing of these tools and then also encompasses end-to-end security across your supply chain. And what this delivers then is applications that are more resilient and will help you avoid outages,” he said.
Gartner predicted that companies have the ability to reduce downtime by up to 80 per cent by adopting some of these technologies — which translates into revenue.
Applied observability for better operations
The concept of applied observability isn’t new, but has implications in the context of optimisation, and goes hand-in-hand with the practices related to digital immunity.
Byrne explained it as collecting data from decisions made, then collecting data on the context in which decisions were made and applying analytics to the context in order to create a feedback loop to make more business-value driven decisions.
Trust, risk and security management for AI
AI TRiSM — trust, risk and security management — is, simply put, making AI trustworthy. Even among the most experienced enterprises, Gartner has found that only 50 per cent of AI models ever hit production and that the reasons behind this are lack of trust in the data, and problems with security and privacy.
First, to improve the adoption of AI, organisations must be able to explain the reason why a computer came to a decision.
This is accompanied by modelops, which is a Gartner term for the governance and life cycle management of a wide range of operationalised AI and decision models, including machine learning, knowledge graphs, rules, optimisation, and linguistic and agent-based models. The result of using modelops, according to Gartner, is that models get into production faster and with less friction.
Next comes the use of advanced techniques like adversarial AI, used to generate one model to train another “and we see this already being used in areas like image generation as well as games like chess,” Byrne said. And finally, ethics guidelines and strong data protection are needed.
“All of this means that these models will have enhanced trust and therefore, you will likely, at the development effort, make it into a production environment,” Byrne said.
Start creating superapps
Gartner suggests that enterprises can pioneer news ways to engage customers by developing superapps. Superapps combine some of the functionality of a regular app with the attributes of an app platform and an ecosystem, according to Byrne. Superapps not only have their own differentiated features, but also the ability to build out third party applications with a shared common data model between the core app and the third-party software.
Moving into this early on will give enterprises an advantage, Byrne said, and he sees opportunities around finance and health, among other verticals.
Adaptive AI to respond to organisational change
Once problems with trust, production, and generation of personalised analysis have been dealt with, enterprises can jump onto adaptive AI, which uses real-time feedback and adaptable learning algorithms to gain a sense of the business and provide response to changing environments.
It enables enterprises to create and access new data for testing in these environments as well as the ability to personalise the output of the algorithms for the user in a continuous manner that provides dedicated individualised offerings to users. “This is adaptive AI and it’s a very different mindset from traditional AI,” Byrne said.
Metaverse will combine different technologies
For those skeptical of the metaverse, Byrne said that it comprises a number of different technologies and is related to business problems like lack of trust in data, or how to improve customer service.
One way to use it could be through avatars and chatbots to improve customer delivery. Other ways include use of gamification for training and augmented reality for shopping experiences. Gartner found 51 per cent of Gen Z expects some form of augmented reality to come to fruition in the next two years.
Technology will have a role in sustainability
Gartner’s top trends wrap up with sustainability and the role IT can play. Byrne warns that it is not just about the environment and climate change but also about the people behind the business, the social aspects of an organisation, improving work culture, improving diversity, equity and inclusion for employees, and improving training.
But technology has an especially important role to play when it comes to environmental sustainability, particularly around solutions for energy reduction for IT services, and the use of analytics and traceability of renewable energy. Enterprises can take these into consideration, define what is applicable to their business, and then work on a roadmap.
“And then you build your own roadmap and realise that not all of these technologies need to be delivered at once. Once you determine the timeframe that these can be delivered, you can set your own path through this and build your own organisation-centric action plan,” Byrne said.