IT executives must look beyond cost savings to new forms of operational excellence and seek technologies that can help them optimise resilience, scale industry-specific solutions and product delivery, and pioneer new forms of engagement.
This is according to the 10 top strategic technology trends for 2023 unveiled at Gartner’s IT Symposium/Xpo 2022.
These include multiple forms of wireless, artificial intelligence, and sustainability, according to Frances Karamouzis, distinguished vice president and analyst at Gartner, and external events are making IT pros’ decisions about them even more difficult.
“Depending on what region of the world you are in there are lots of looming issues such as a potential recession, supply chain concerns, the war in Ukraine and that impact, as well as energy-related issues,” Karamouzis said.
IT executives must focus on continuing to accelerate digital transformation and consider possible use both for technologies that can be applied immediately and those that are on the horizon. With that as background, Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2023 looks like this:
5G and Wi-Fi 6 and 7
No single wireless technology will dominate, but enterprises will use a variety of wireless solutions to support a range of environments, from Wi-Fi in the office, services for mobile devices, low-power protocols, and even radio connectivity, Gartner stated.
So much so that Gartner predicts that by 2025, 60 per cent of enterprises will be using five or more wireless technologies simultaneously.
“We're going to see a spectrum of solutions in the enterprise that includes 4G, 5G, LTE, WIFI 5, 6, 7 all of which will create new data enterprises can use in analytics, and low-power systems will harvest energy directly from the network. This means the network will become a source of direct business value,” Karamouzis said.
As wireless networks move beyond mere connectivity, they will also provide insight using built-in analysis, she said.
Rise of Super Apps
Gartner says organisations will increasingly embrace a type of new platform that combines the features of multiple apps and services in a single ecosystem—the Super App.
Super App technology has been in the news recently because Elon Musk has said he wants to turn Twitter into the first truly successful Super App in the North America. Super Apps have made waves in Asia with planforms such as WeChat, AliPay and Gojek.
“Although most examples of Super Apps are mobile apps, the concept can also be applied to desktop client applications, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, with the key being that a Super App can consolidate and replace multiple apps for customer or employee use,” said Karamouzis.
By 2027, Gartner predicts that more than 50 per cent of the global population will use multiple Super Apps daily.
Industry-specific cloud platforms
Similar to Super Apps, large industry-specific cloud platforms offer a combination of software as-a-service (SaaS), platform as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure as-a-service (IaaS) that provide capabilities to support specific industry use cases.
Enterprises can use these packaged capabilities as building blocks for differentiating digital-business initiatives and providing agility, innovation, and reduce time-to-market.
Gartner predicts that by 2027 more than 50 per cent of enterprises will use industry-cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives.
Gartner has flagged AI before as a strategic technology, but this year it sees a new trend: adaptive AI systems that continuously retrain their intelligence models. These modules can learn within runtime and application-development environments based on new data and so adapt quickly to unforeseen real-world circumstances.
“Today if an enterprise has a SaaS application or new release, they can just update the software and things typically keep humming along, but you can’t do that with AI because they are literally learning what to do on the fly,” Karamouzis said.
AI apps use real-time feedback to change their learning dynamically and adjust goals.
AI Trust, Risk and Security Management
Also related to AI, Gartner says many organisations are not well prepared to manage AI risks.
Organisations must implement new capabilities to ensure model reliability, trustworthiness, security, and data protection of their AI models by adopting AI trust, risk, and security management (TRiSM). This requires the participation of different business units working together to implement new measures.
A Gartner survey in the US, UK, and Germany found that 41 per cent of organisations had experienced an AI privacy breach or security incident.
However, that same survey found that organisations that actively managed AI risk, privacy, and security achieved improved AI-project results, Gartner stated.
More AI projects by those organisations moved from proof-of-concept to production, and they achieved more business value than did AI projects in organisations that did not actively manage these functions, Gartner stated.
Observable data includes digitised artifacts, such as logs, traces, API calls, dwell time, downloads, and file transfers, that are generated when a stakeholder takes any kind of action.
“Applied observability enables organisations to exploit their data artifacts for competitive advantage,” Karamouzis said.
“It is powerful because it elevates the strategic importance of the right data at the right time for rapid action based on confirmed stakeholder actions, rather than intentions. When planned strategically and executed successfully, applied observability is the most powerful source of data-driven decision-making.”
This type of observability looks at data gathered from infrastructure, application, and enterprise-operations in a highly orchestrated and integrated way, she said.
The discipline of building and operating self-service internal developer platforms for software delivery and lifecycle management is what platform engineering is all about, Karamouzis said.
Gartner predicts that 80 per cent of software engineering organisations will establish platform teams by 2026 and that 75 per cent of those will include developer self-service portals that could include a variety of reusable components and libraries of tools and other modules.
Digital immune system
A digital immune system provides a roadmap for CIOs looking for new approaches that their teams can adopt to deliver high business value, mitigate risk, and increase customer satisfaction.
Gartner says digital immunity combines data-driven insight into operations, automated and extreme testing, automated incident resolution, software engineering within IT operations, and security in the application supply chain to increase the resilience and stability of systems.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, organisations that invest in building digital immunity will reduce system downtime by up to 80 per cent, and that translates directly into higher revenue.
Sustainability transcends all of the strategic technology trends for 2023. In a recent Gartner survey, CEOs reported that environmental and social changes are now in the top three priorities investors have after profit and revenue.
This means that executives must invest more in innovative solutions that are designed to address environmental, social, and governance demand to meet sustainability goals.
Gartner noted that sustainability spending has increased by an average of 5.8 per cent since 2017. Organisations need a sustainable-technology framework that increases the energy and material efficiency of IT services, and enables enterprise sustainability through traceability, analytics, renewable energy, and AI.
The framework should also call for the deployment of IT solutions that help customers achieve their own sustainability goals, Karamouzis said.
“Targeting areas such as data centre power consumption is low-hanging fruit because it’s easy to measure,” Karamouzis said.
“What enterprises need to look at is what to deploy as they get more and more data. Are they looking at buying more storage the same old way or are they looking at optimising that system by looking at things like DNA storage and looking at the level of redundancy they need and implementing technology with a sustainable mindset.”
Gartner says DNA storage allows the storage of binary digital data in the double helix from of DNA, taking binary coding and turning it into coding that fits in the human DNA strand. It would mean a year's worth of human knowledge could be stored in a gram of synthetic DNA for thousands of years, Gartner says.
During its keynote, Gartner said that while it might never become mainstream the metaverse shows some promise.
For example, the Indian start-up Hirect launched a VR recruitment event in a metaverse for companies attempting to attract technology talent. Gartner expects that a complete metaverse would be device-independent and won’t be owned by a single vendor.
It will include a virtual economy of its own enabled by digital currencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). By 2027, Gartner predicts that over 40 per cent of large organisations worldwide will use a combination of Web3, augmented-reality cloud, and digital twins-based projects aimed at increasing revenue.
Gartner defines a metaverse as a collective virtual 3D shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. A metaverse is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences.