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As we enter the final month of 2018, many business leaders will be taking stock of the significant changes that have affected the enterprise IT landscape over the last year - as well as looking forward to the continued evolution that awaits in the year ahead.
Business IT has always been a fast-moving field, but 2018 was a period of particularly pronounced upheaval in many ways, with more and more companies embracing the latest advances in cloud technology and artificial intelligence (AI), while also coping with the wide-ranging data security implications of the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
As 2019 approaches, industry analysts are already predicting similarly big changes in the months to come - which is why it’s vital for savvy business leaders to make themselves aware of the emerging trends and ensure their organisations are well-prepared to take maximum advantage of the opportunities these tech trends could present.
The growing prominence of AI in day-to-day business operations has been a major talking point within the world of IT for some time, and this is unlikely to change in 2019. In particular, organisations of all sizes are expected to harness the power of machine learning in a big way in the next year, giving those that do so successfully a major competitive advantage.
In its influential report on the top strategic technology trends of 2019, the research and advisory firm Gartner indicated that the algorithm-driven data processing capabilities delivered by machine learning will allow companies to take advantage of augmented analytics, making it possible to analyse huge datasets with greater ease than ever before.
This will bring benefits across a broad range of business functions, from HR, finance, sales and marketing, through to customer service, procurement and asset management, making it easier for companies to spot trends and develop strategies that are rooted in solid evidence.
Blockchain has been hyped up as the next big thing in enterprise IT for several years, and 2019 will see this highly promising technology take a few more steps towards mainstream adoption.
Data from IDC indicates that blockchain investments are currently increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 73%, as businesses turn to these highly secure distributed ledgers as a means of automating business processes or digitising records. The technology has been shown to help lower costs, improve cash flow and expedite transactions, meaning it has multiple uses in supply chain and currency settlement applications.
Although it remains unproven as a pillar of business operations, the number of companies investing in the tech means that blockchain is certain to be a significant disruptor in the years to come, even if 2019 proves too soon for the market to reach full maturity.
Businesses continue to look for new ways to provide their users and clients with more engaging and immersive digital experiences, with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technology all providing different ways to deliver this.
With the mainstream adoption of VR still constrained by the relative high cost and inconvenience of the associated headsets and sensors, AR looks set to emerge as the most important tool for businesses to achieve this goal, allowing them to craft intuitive digital interfaces that can be overlaid onto real-life items and environments. Because AR apps are compatible with most modern smartphones, it represents a much more accessible solution for the consumer.
Businesses that embrace AR will find they are able to connect with their audiences in new ways across multiple devices, resulting in greater engagement and improved sales.
While many of these business IT trends are about seizing new opportunities created by innovative tech, 2019 is also likely to be a year in which many organisations review their underlying fundamentals when it comes to security.
The introduction of GDPR in 2018 has created new legal expectations around data protection, while high-profile security breaches like the May 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack has highlighted the financial and reputational cost that these incidents can cause. As such, organisations of all sizes will be paying close attention to their approach to data security and privacy, ensuring they have a system in place that is robust enough to gain the trust of their users and clients.
Fortunately, new tools are emerging to aid in these efforts, from AI-equipped applications that are able to predict and automatically address security flaws in real time, to new authentication systems, like biometrics, to replace insecure passwords. Companies need to invest in the latest security tech if they want to be seen as trusted stewards of personal data.
The world of business technology never stands still, so every organisation should make sure they dedicate resources within their 2019 corporate IT strategy to getting ready for the next wave of game-changing advances.
For example, quantum computing - a new form of computing that operates on the quantum state of subatomic particles and represents information in the form of elements - is a potentially revolutionary new technological model that could deliver significant performance boosts and security implications in a few years’ time, while hyperfast 5G mobile internet services are also likely to go mainstream in the foreseeable future.
As such, IT experts and corporate leaders need to research the ways these future technologies could be applied to their own operations, and make preparations to accommodate them as soon as possible. Doing so in 2019 could give them a crucial edge over their less responsive competitors in 2020 and beyond.
If you’re looking for advice on how to optimise and future-proof your business IT infrastructure, contact Evaris today for expert guidance. Call us on 0330 124 1245, or send us an email at [email protected].