Six Trends for 2019 That Will Redefine Enterprise Tech

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Deloitte Consulting has identified six tech trends as the next wave of aspirational change for organizations. Find out how new developments in AI, ubiquitous connectivity, cybersecurity–and even the transformation of “boring” network tech into exciting stuff–will better position CIOs and IT to help business teams achieve strategic goals.

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Big data/analytics, the cloud and even the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) have either already emerged as part of the organizational mainstream, or appear to be headed in that direction. Given this, it’s hardly hyperbolic to say that, if companies aren’t at least considering these technologies yet, they risk fading into irrelevance due to a loss of competitive edge.

But what’s next for these and other advancements? Deloitte Consulting provides an intriguing, up-close look as part of its recent “Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the Digital Frontier” report--the 10th in a series for Deloitte. Change remains a constant theme throughout all of the reports, and how companies manage change often determines whether they succeed.

“A decade ago many companies could achieve competitive advantage by embracing innovations and trends that were already underway,” according to the report. “Today, this kind of reactive approach is no longer enough. To stay ahead of the game, companies must work methodically to sense new innovations and possibilities, make sense of their ambitions for tomorrow, and find the confidence to boldly go beyond the digital frontier.”

In this eWEEK Data Points article, we highlight the six trends that represent what Deloitte describes as the “often mind-bending velocity of change.”

Data Point No. 1: Enterprises find new ways to acquire AI

No longer the stuff of sci-fi movie fantasy, AI is now incorporated into practical and achievable activities that increase productivity, strengthen regulatory compliance (through automation) and derive meaning from ever-larger data sets. In the immediate future, look for a larger cloud presence, with “AI as a Service” possibly emerging as the next, big operating system. There will also be “package-adjunct” offerings from vendors, who are investing in AI platforms to complement existing, core products and services.

Data Point No. 2: Automation encourages 'NoOps'

CIOs realize that the costs of simply keeping business-critical tech systems running account for too much of their budget--while consuming significant labor resources. To address this, they’re investing in what’s called “serverless computing,” in which cloud vendors automatically allocate the compute, storage and memory for a high-order service request (such as that for a database). As a result, they create a “NoOps” IT environment that requires far less expense and effort while giving IT operations staffers the opportunity to increase their skills and redefine their roles.

Data Point No. 3: Networks gain a digital edge

While serving a critical purpose, the network is often taken for granted in light of more “exciting” advancements. But ongoing developments in networking strategies may change all of this. They include 5G, the fifth generation of cellular wireless tech that will bring more speed, lower latency and--of most interest for digital transformations--the ability to connect massive numbers of sensors and smart devices within the network. In addition, there’s edge computing, which enables the partitioning of data processing in a “mini cloud” that’s either very close --or embedded within--a device. This results in very low latency (i.e., roundtrip time from the device to the cloud, and back) for VR and automation, among other needs.

Data Point No. 4: Retailers “get into customers’ heads” via smarter tools

ML, IoT, robotics, contextual awareness and advanced augmented reality and VR are now redefining the way humans engage with machines, data – and each other. So expect to see more profound uses of these tools--such as retailers using cameras, sensors and computer vision to track and analyze shoppers’ store movements, gazes and behavior to assess their moods/in-store experience. With this, businesses can more effectively push promotions in real-time to shoppers’ mobile devices and even predict needs based upon customers’ subconscious behaviors, to get the right inventory on the shelves at the right time.

Data Point No. 5: The roles of the CIO and CMO start to blur

To make possible scenarios such as the one just described for retailers, chief marketing officers (CMOs) and CIOs will have to work more closely than ever--to the point where many of their job duties will closely intersect. CMOs will oversee the integration of first, second and third-party data and analytics required to make customer experience (CX) systems successful. CIOs will need to usher in front-office customer engagement systems. Both CMOs and CIOs will focus on what’s called “beyond marketing,” which pushes new approaches for data, automated decisions about the CX and the delivery of dynamic content that remains consistent throughout multiple channels.

Data Point No. 6: DevSecOps takes hold

In a DevOps culture, traditional “bolt-on” security techniques and manually dependent controls from legacies stand in the way of speed, transparency and overall security effectiveness. “DevSecOps” brings a more innovative approach, with open collaboration that aligns security expectations and metrics to business priorities. It also prioritizes the automation of recurring tasks throughout the development life cycle and testing--and during operations--to embed protective operational controls, create ongoing audit trails and respond quickly in a readily repeatable manner.