With 2020 just around the corner, a handful of IT leaders dished out some pivotal tech predictions they say will have an impact on the IT and business landscape next year.
Here’s a snapshot of the companies and their top line predictions:
Stephen Sims, CEO, Brennan IT: Hybrid IT will take centre stage in 2020.
Joel Camissar, regional director of MVISION Cloud Asia Pacific, McAfee: The new security paradigm for 2020.
Mary Sue Rogers, Catalyst, ForPurposeCo.: Technology to change the face of food waste and sustainability.
Jason Baden, regional vice-president, ANZ, F5 Networks: Security concerns will arise amidst open banking and spur on DevSecOps.
Sean Girvin, managing director ANZ, Rackspace: Hybrid Cloud will give rise to a greater need for managed cloud services (MCS).
Gregg Ostrowski, regional chief technology officer, AppDynamics: There’s a business-critical need to meet increasing digital experience expectations.
Mike Featherstone, managing director, ANZ / APAC, Pluralsight: The skills gap will continue to challenge Australian organisations in 2020.
Craig Bastow, senior director worldwide alliances, APAC, Commvault: Interpretation of data is key to driving growth in 2020.
Narayan Iyer, country manager ANZ, Cognizant: Blockchain will facilitate greater transparency; quantum computing will no longer be a theory; banks and fintechs will work together, from the cloud to the edge.
Andrew Filev, CEO, Wrike: Flexible and remote working; digital-fuelled productivity, e-learning, enterprise software platforms and job skills.
Joe Petro, Chief technology officer and executive vice-president, Nuance Communications: Partnerships are the new acquisition; data is the new software; regulations and security will catch up with innovation; horizontal AI knowledge will be ubiquitous but deep; specialised expertise will be critical in breaking new ground.
Let’s dig a little deeper:
Stephen Sims, CEO, Brennan IT:
Hybrid IT will take centre stage in 2020
“Over the past decade, many businesses adopted hybrid IT models by accident, rather than design, on their journeys to cloud. This represented a major missed opportunity in terms of understanding how a robust hybrid IT model can maximise existing IT investments while benefiting from cloud and SaaS.
Ultimately, a long-term hybrid IT model can be cheaper, ensures compliance and security, and performs far better than cloud-only models. In 2020, I expect more organisations to wake up to the benefits of a hybrid IT model that is properly designed in accordance with maximising return on investment and achieving real business outcomes.”
Joel Camissar, regional Director of MVISION Cloud Asia Pacific, McAfee
The new security paradigm for 2020
“Australia has always been one of the fastest-growing cloud countries in the world per capita. As organisations take advantage of the cloud, there’s one thing we can’t forget - our data. When using cloud providers, organisations need to remember that while cloud providers secure their cloud platform, companies are still responsible to protect the data within the cloud service.
“According to McAfee research, 69 per cent of respondents said they trusted their cloud providers to keep their data secure, when in fact, cloud security is a shared responsibility and no cloud provider will solely deliver 100 per cent of security.
“The year 2020 will see the security paradigm shift away from traditional security to a realisation that security in the cloud needs a new approach - a security platform built on a unified cloud edge. This means organisations will become less risk-averse and enter a partnership with cloud providers while applying their own set of security controls built in the cloud, for the cloud. The outcome is to help businesses achieve greater agility through embracing a cloud native security framework.”
Mary Sue Rogers, Catalyst, ForPurposeCo.
Technology to change the face of food waste and sustainability
"The food and waste technology market is exploding with 2018 seeing a record US$16.9 billion being invested worldwide from venture capital and private equity. The increased investment is being driven by several trends.
“First, consumers are demanding sustainably sourced food through to the expansion of plant-based proteins. Second, technology-driven packaging and biotech to help preserve food and reduce food waste. There’s also a real focus on biodegradable packaging and the elimination of single-use plastics. The final trend is robotics, AI, and big data. For example, drone delivery of your pizza, 3D printing of the perfect food for you and your diet, or analytics that focus on the causes of food waste in order to take preventative actions.
“A great example is our partner Winnow and its latest AI product Winnow Vision, the most advanced food waste technology on the market which automates waste tracking through visual recognition, enabling chefs to run more profitable and sustainable kitchens. At ForPurposeCo, we are focused on identifying these innovative technologies that can tackle our current food waste crisis, which costs Australia $20 billion per year. At the same time, we’ve created a unique profit-for-purpose business model where profits go to OzHarvest to deliver more impact."
Jason Baden, regional vice-president, ANZ, F5 Networks
Security concerns will arise amidst open banking and spur on DevSecOps
“As the Australian banking and financial industry continues to undergo significant transformation, 2020 will see banks investing more in Open Banking initiatives. As a result, a new wave of security concerns for local banks and fintechs alike is likely to emerge. While transparency and open communication will be key drivers of successful Open Banking initiatives, the BFSI industry will need to adopt ‘open’ APIs to allow third-party applications to access user data. DevOps teams will need to define, publish, secure, monitor, and intently analyse APIs, whilst keeping developers in the driver's seat of API design for open banking platforms.
“In saying this, the convergence between DevOps and security teams will become much more prevalent. The thriving application capital era is driving the need for organisations to agilely adapt to rapid app developments to ensure security risks are mitigated and avoid slowing down app deployment pipelines. This will ultimately spur on the increased need for SecOps to collaborate with DevOps, creating what’s known as DevSecOps.”
Sean Girvin, managing director ANZ, Rackspace
Hybrid Cloud will give rise to a greater need for managed cloud services (MCS)
“As business’ cloud strategies reach levels that include more critical workloads in the new year, challenges in maintaining these increasingly complex environments will also arise - meaning more organisations will choose to outsource their infrastructure. IDC’s Managed CloudView 2019 study reveals managed SPs and public cloud providers as becoming more ‘strategic’ partners to meet these evolving cloud service needs.
“The early adoption curve is over and, as a result, more expertise and experience in the market will be needed to leverage the full value of hybrid cloud for Australian enterprises. Hybrid cloud will be cemented with us over the next 12 months, driven by business uncertainty, risk adversity and enterprises not quite being ready to leverage sensitive data. In 2019, 60 per cent of Australian enterprises planned to use MCS for legacy application modernisation. In 2020, this figure will no doubt increase.”
Gregg Ostrowski, regional chief technology officer, AppDynamics
The business-critical need to meet increasing digital experience expectations
“Any outage, inconvenience or a poor customer experience of any kind will cost Australian businesses dearly in 2020. As we enter a new decade, we also enter the ‘Era of the Digital Reflex’ – a seismic shift in the way customers interact with digital services and applications, causing these digital services to become almost a ‘reflex’ of innate human behaviours.
The recent App Attention Index Report highlights just how unforgiving customers have become, due to increasing expectations when it comes to digital customer experience: two-thirds of Australians are less tolerant of problems with digital services than they were two years ago, leading to another 43 per cent switching suppliers when performance issues do occur.
“By leveraging machine learning and AI, businesses can turn data into meaningful insights quickly and automatically. And as application loyalty becomes the new brand loyalty, there is a business-critical need to not only meet the digital expectations of today’s consumer but also to beat the customer experiences provided by competitors.”
Mike Featherstone, managing director, ANZ / APAC, Pluralsight
The skills gap will continue to challenge Australian organisations in 2020
“For 2020 and beyond, the rapid pace of change in technology will continue to challenge local talent who will need to keep their tech skills fresh. It’s already prevalent in Australia with a dire tech skills shortage burdening organisations across the nation. While this is today’s reality, it doesn’t have to be Australia’s future. With a tech skills development platform at the fingertips of local developers, the ability to push boundaries in technology will no longer be hindered by the lack of talent. This coming year is an opportunity for organisations to equip themselves with the right tools and teams to evolve with technology.
“For example, take Pluralsight’s latest Technology Index which ranks the most in-demand technologies for software engineers, IT operations, information security and data professionals. From UiPath for developers, to Qlik Core for data professionals and Microsoft Intune for IT operations, some of the fastest growing technologies are knocking at the door of Australian organisations, and it’s the onus of CIOs to ensure their talent is equipped with the right skills to keep up with the increasing pace of emerging and evolving technology.”
Craig Bastow, senior director worldwide alliances, APAC, Commvault
Interpretation of data is key to driving growth in 2020
“Digital transformation in 2020 will mean being organisationally focused on what technologies and services optimisation – through increased integration of digitally collected and distributed data – will deliver new, cost-effective and more agile ways of creating business value. Unlocking not only access and competitive insight from data, but doing so securely, in legislatively compliant ways is key to a minimised risk digital transformation journey.
“Next year, we will see a continued shift in Australian organisations to push more into the cloud and the realisation of the importance of data for an insights-driven enterprise to enable growth. There will be a continued priority on data strategy in regard to cloud initiatives and solutions will have to be re-engineered for even faster agility to market. Specifically we expect demand for combined converged storage and data management at scale to be increasingly required. “Companies doubling down on the interpretation of data for greater personalised interactions and placing the customer first through data-driven analytics driving real intelligence in customer experience will achieve growth.”
Narayan Iyer, country manager ANZ, Cognizant
Blockchain will facilitate greater transparency
“Blockchain has for some time been a solution in need of a problem. Since its inception with cryptocurrency, the technology has been subject to hype and criticism. But we’ve already started to see real-world applications of blockchain in 2019 across all industries, particularly the medical, financial services, hospitality, and apparel industries. Blockchain will also facilitate greater transparency and traceability across businesses, supply chains, transactions and more, and may play a role in shaping future consumer expectations of brands.
“Quantum computing is fast approaching. What was once a long-standing scientific theory is now becoming a reality with the likes of Google’s quantum computer greatly surpassing the ability of our current binary computers. Quantum computing will significantly enhance industries that rely on computing capabilities, such as AI, big data analytics, IoT and automation. Would we be able to get our hands on a quantum computer in 2020? Probably not, but the quantum race is on and commercialisation is in sight. There is a high probability that we will see greater R&D funding for this ground-breaking technology in 2020.
“As the fintech market keeps on maturing, competition is increasing, and fintechs, traditional players and big tech companies need to plan their next move to ensure they will stay relevant in that industry. Especially as open banking will kick off in Australia in February, financial organisations will fight for a share of the pie. It is, therefore, reasonable to expect greater collaboration in 2020 between upstart fintechs, incumbent players and potentially digital giants through strategic partnerships designed to compete effectively and better meet Australian consumers’ demand for more digitally designed financial services.
“Cloud computing has been the lifeblood of our professional and personal lives for some time. But now, the Internet of Things has set the cloud on fire, and with more and more internet-connected devices in use every year, more compute power is needed to overcome challenges in latency. As a result, in 2020, we will see greater adoption of edge computing - the processing of data at the point of generation, such as our mobile phones. The shift from the cloud to the edge will speed up everything from video streaming to virtual and augmented reality.”
Andrew Filev, CEO, Wrike
Flexible and Remote Working
“Businesses will look to remote and teleworking as they continue to support employees’ appetite for flexible arrangements. The Japanese government and the Olympic Committee have urged eight million employees to telework during the Tokyo Olympic Games to decrease commuting congestion. By 2025, remote and telework work will be viewed as a remedy to urban congestion, and be encouraged or incentivised in up to 30 per cent of cities with populations above five million people.
“Businesses will experience a digital-fuelled productivity bump as the digital-native generation grows in the workforce. Generation Z will make up 12 per cent of the Australian workforce in 2020, and this number will increase steadily throughout the decade. This generation is natively comfortable with virtual collaboration and are masters of the social marketing tactics they’ve used their whole lives. Millennials accelerated the digital transformation, but Gen Z will own the post-digital era with eye-popping results for brands.
“E-learning will become mainstream and even mandatory in some rapidly evolving fields. By 2025, 45% of white-collar employees will have used an e-learning platform to improve their job skills or explore new careers.
“Enterprise software platforms will become a factor in the decision-making process for job candidates when accepting positions at new companies. Candidates, especially those of Gen Z are most likely to seek positions that add to their long-term career growth through the mastery of market standard CRM, CWM, analysis, and automation platforms.”
Joe Petro, chief technology officer and executive vice-president, Nuance Communications
Partnerships are the new acquisition
“Jack-of-all-trades, master of none, is a trend we will continue to see play out in the tech markets. Companies will increase their pursuit of partnerships to capitalise on the combined strengths of different technologies. The historical tension between large companies with deep pockets, start-ups with ultra-nimble deployments, and mid-size companies with long-standing brand recognition and customer relationships will begin to manifest in more partnerships that are beneficial to all parties. The result will be a more fluid exchange of ideas, a re-emergence of IoT with combined capabilities, new levels of integration and infrastructure support - creating a dramatically improved end-user experience.
“We’ve become accustomed to seeing tailored ads on our Instagram feeds, and studies have shown they are quite effective in increasing engagement. This is all driven by cultivated data that powers the system and creates an optimised experience for you. Increased collaborations, partnerships, and open platforms will create new volumes of data moving across industries, no longer locked in silos, e.g. your banking data only informing your online banking experience. Instead, with your permission, your data will be used to create a better experience for you. Similarly, digital payment functionalities enabled by banks will be embedded in your car, eliminating the need for automated pay stations in parking garages and tolls, and with biometric authentication, you’ll be able to pay your bills with simple voice commands on your commute home.
“As we come through the trough of disillusionment with AI and move toward a cloud-first ecosystem, a new era will arise where industries and governing bodies will start to draw bolder lines around ethics and proper application of machine learning for problem-solving. We will realise the limitations of the technology and with that, security will become paramount - especially in industries where individuals’ information is being captured and stored for personalisation. While always a priority, as machine-led conversational experiences become more commonplace, it will be impossible to ignore the need to foster trust. This pressure will open up investment and opportunity for innovative new ways of protection including through biometric and behavioural factors.
“With new tools democratising access to powerful computing, we’ll see the knowledge gap on baseline AI start to close in 2020. Researchers will move from focusing efforts on ‘common knowledge problems,’ to ‘uncommon knowledge,’ from large horizontal problems to deep, complex specialisations, and this will spur the next wave of innovation. Empowering diverse workforces with varied and true perspectives will be necessary to combat top-down cultures that have an inflated understanding of their expertise, and will be imperative to building systems that are free from bias.”