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Ten technology trends for 2019 and beyond

As 2019 approaches, we expect the following technology trends to disrupt, shift and change the way we do business. The application of these game-changing technologies is becoming ever more pervasive, and their worldwide adoption is growing steadily. It is clear that disruptive technology trends like Cloud, AI, Blockchain, Robotics and Virtual Reality are going to propel the future—and that no industry will go untouched by digital transformation.

1. Organisations are restructuring to get ready for digital transformation

According to Dimension Data, most companies aren’t structured correctly for digital transformation. They’re organised in silos around traditional functions instead of having a flexible network of teams that work on transforming key business processes.

In 2019, it is expected that more enterprises will abandon their ‘technology first’ attempt at digital transformation—and embrace a ‘customer first’ approach. According to a recently published Digital Means Business report, it was found that 72% of organisations rate improving their customer experience as the most important benefit of digital transformation. Successful transformers will focus on what their customers want, use data to understand them, innovate relevant offerings, redesign business processes, restructure the organisation around them, and – only then – implement enabling technologies.

2. Organisations are focusing on cloud-based security platforms

Within the hybrid-cloud era, cloud services are presenting many security challenges for enterprises business security teams. As a result, cloud-based security platforms like Kenna Security, Mimecast and Proofpoint will continue to play an increasingly important role in the security market as they’re cloud-based, flexible, and scalable.

Security teams can integrate these technologies into their platform with relative ease and switch security technologies on or off, depending on their needs. These platforms give organisations additional visibility across their environments, rather than a static view with a defined set of technologies, protecting only specific points of the network.

3. Cybersecurity is becoming intelligence-driven

In a world of fast-moving, automated attacks, intelligence is the key to being able to respond swiftly or even predictively, rather than reactively, to individual threats. Machine learning (ML) will play a critical role in gathering cyber intelligence, and machines will start making more of their own decisions and execute changes on enterprise networks to minimise cyber-risk, based on this intelligence. Intelligent-driven cybersecurity platforms like Darktrace will thus allow for the organisation’s overall cybersecurity posture to change dynamically in response to the changing threat landscape.

4. The rise of autonomous ‘things’

Closely watched and scrutinised by regulators and consumers over the past few years, autonomous ‘things’, such as robots, drones and autonomous vehicles, are emerging in every sector. Whether it’s land, sea, air or in the digital realm, autonomous functionalities enabled by a variety of technologies such as IoT and AI are used to bridge the human-machine gap. In 2017, less than 1% of vehicles had autonomous driving capabilities, and Gartner expects that number to increase to 10% by 2021.

5. Boosting augmented analytics

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, artificial intelligence, and data science is changing forever how we derive value from data. Data accessibility is becoming an important driver in infrastructure decisions because the value of the data opens up new business opportunities and differentiates the digital enterprise.

As enterprises are now architecting their data management capability to capture, store, move and secure business data, augmented analytics has become an emerging trend for 2019.

Applying intelligence to analytics, led by machine learning (ML), allows computers to make unknown correlations in seconds, without waiting for data scientists to first create a process to derive insights. Solutions such as Grove’s Advanced Predictive Analytics tool enable users to work with and act on data insights without requiring a deep understanding of complex processes.

6. AI as co-developer

Another good trend callout is the fact that AI will impact development. As AI becomes more immersed in the enterprise, it will impact the custom software development process as well. Gartner predicts that 40% of application development will use AI in tandem with developers by 2022. Early cloud-based AI platforms and frameworks are already in place, but the number of cognitive services will continue to increase.

7. Power to the edge

The intelligent edge refers to endpoint devices used by people or embedded in the world around us — it can be found in PCs, smart signage, appliances or on a factory floor. Downloading and managing data locally on a PC device from G Suite for instance counts as the edge. This expands computing power indefinitely — well beyond centralised facilities to the ‘edge’ of the network where data can be stored, processed and displayed.

As organisations implement IoT, they’re beginning to explore edge computing. And according to Gartner, this trend will continue to grow through 2028 because of advancements in storage, computing, AI and analytics. You can put intelligence at the edge of the cloud or the edge of the network—the rationale is that you do it to deliver faster decision making while reducing the cost associated with carrying unnecessary data across your network.

8. Digital workplaces are becoming smart

A hot topic for organisations these days is how to accelerate their digital workplace strategy and create a brand that differentiates them from their competition. These discussions have moved beyond just collaboration technologies—like Google G Suite— to the creation of ‘smart spaces’, that promote the integration of environments with people and processes to drive efficiencies and boost productivity. Gartner believes the market is entering a period of accelerated delivery of robust smart spaces with technology becoming an integral part of our daily lives.

9. Enterprises are focussing on empowering and engaging employees

From our experience, customer workplaces are becoming smarter. We believed that organisations will take more proactive steps to engage with and empower their employees.

We’ve seen that the desire to engage and empower people and increase user adoption of new technology platforms is also changing the way organisations contract with their technology partners.

They now expect suppliers to have adoption management specialists and use a recognised change management methodology to launch new technologies as part of the transition to the digital workplace. They’re starting to measure their performance by the level of adoption and the satisfaction of their users.

10. Privacy in the spotlight

While technology has come to the fore, so too have privacy concerns. Asking forgiveness for overreaching technology development has defined the digital era. Consumers, however, are losing patience, placing pressure on organisations to put privacy controls in place. Up to date, there are over 100 countries with data protection laws shown in this map created by David Banisar.

According to Gartner, companies focussing solely on compliance will be exposed. Gartner anticipates organisations ‘lacking in privacy protection will pay 100% more in compliance’ costs than those competitors following industry best-practices. Thus over the next few years, it is predicted that we will be witnessing a move from compliance-driven to ethics driven to discern ‘Right’ from ‘Wrong’ and to create true value.

The technology of the future — the blockchain is still on the way

An apparent future trend identified by Gartner is Blockchain. Despite a slow ramp-up and technical challenges, experts and providers have hyped the future benefits of the blockchain.

Some early adopters have created a platform to track produce or record art transactions. To name a few examples, IBM and Maersk launched blockchain to reduce shipping time and cost through their TradeLens initiative, Britain's Royal Mint launched a service that let businesses and investors buy and sell digital tokens representing physical gold via blockchain transactions, and Estonia’s healthcare system has been revolutionized through innovative e-solutions and Blockchain technology. According to Gartner, the ledger technology is projected to create $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030. Watch this space.

Tags: Source: Gartner - top ten strategic technology trends for 2019, Source: Dimension Data - Top technology trends

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