As we welcome the New Year, the pressure is on for senior IT leaders. Today more than ever, businesses are looking for emerging technology to facilitate revenue generation and produce greater value for customers. It’s all about deploying new business models that make it easier for people to collaborate and instantly access accurate information. Put those two together, and business gets done!
So what’s coming down the road in 2018 that will force CIOs and CTOs to take notice? Forrester predicts several market dynamics will require decisive action from firms looking to take control of their destinies:
- Businesses will need to shift their IT spending priorities towards efforts to reduce customer churn.
- They will also need to revitalize customer experiences online—where the difference between a customer who buys and one who flies
may bejust one or two extra seconds trying to find information.
- Going through the necessary digital transformation to meet these needs while maintaining your corporate identity will also present a tricky challenge.
That’s why it’s key to develop a roadmap based on the technologies you can plan to leverage in the coming years. A helpful guide to consider for developing your strategy is Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the key emerging technologies expected to come to the forefront:
- Artificial Intelligence will help enhance decision-making, reinvent business models and
remakethe customer experience. You can create an intelligent intermediary layer between people and systems with the potential to transform the nature of work as seen in virtual customer assistants and enterprise advisors. One of the mediums through which artificial intelligence can be leveraged is the Internet of Things (IoT), where technology allows businesses to interact with people and their surroundings by operating autonomous devices in unsupervised environments.
- Edge Computing: This is where information-processing and content collection and delivery are placed closer to the sources of information. Connectivity, latency challenges, bandwidth constraints, and greater functionality embedded at the edge favor distributed models. Enterprises should begin using edge design patterns in their infrastructure architectures—particularly for those with significant IoT elements.
- The New Realities: Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are changing the way people perceive and interact with the digital world. Combined with conversational platforms, a fundamental shift in the user experience to an invisible and immersive experience will emerge.
- Blockchain: Many blockchain technologies are unproven and largely unregulated. But the technology offers a new way to share and collaborate—through a distributed, decentralized and
tokenized ledgerthat offers greater levels of security by allowing untrusted parties to exchange commercial transactions. Although the conversation often surrounds financial opportunities, the technology has many potential applications in government, healthcare, content distribution, supply chain and other sectors.
Security Must Also Evolve
With software-defined networking deployments, companies are also beginning to explore what they can do with the security, agility, and flexibility of virtualized network services. The next big thing in this area is application-aware networking—managing the performance, capabilities, and security of applications to make the most of bandwidth, which is ever-more critical when handling complex content.
As your business plans to utilize software-defined networks and the other technologies listed above, it’s important to also consider the security implications. Gartner warns that traditional techniques using ownership and control rather than trust will not work in the new digital world. And infrastructure and perimeter protection won’t ensure accurate detection. They also can’t protect against behind-the-perimeter insider attacks.
Your security measures will thus need to evolve by applying continuous risk and trust assessments, which will be necessary for real-time, trust-based decision-making with adaptive responses. This requires embracing people-centric security and empowering developers to take responsibility for security measures.
Gartner envisions integrating security into the DevOps process. This will, in effect, create a continuous “DevSecOps” process and enable deception technologies, such as adaptive honeypots, to catch bad guys that have penetrated your network.
Let’s See What These Technologies Can Do
Looking ahead and planning to leverage new technologies is key because 2018 will be all about digital transformation as businesses strive to better serve their customers and differentiate themselves from the competition. Many of the concepts presented above have been maturing in recent years, and 2018 may very well be the year in which businesses turn their attention to seeing what they can actually do with these technologies.
Those who put them into actual practice may very well realize tangible benefits. If they can do so without adding complexity to their IT infrastructure, my crystal ball predicts their operations will win the day!