As 2017 draws to a close, IT leaders are thinking ahead to the technology trends that will impact their business over the next 12 months and beyond.
Gartner analysts gathered in Orlando last week to reveal their bets for the top strategic technology trends for 2018.
According to Gartner, a strategic technology trend is one with “substantive disruptive potential that is beginning to break out of an emerging state into broader impact and use, or which are rapidly growing trends with a high degree of volatility reaching tipping points over the next five years.”
Here are 7 strategic technology trends for 2018, relevant to IT pros, and what can be done now to prepare:
1. AI Foundation
Gartner expects that creating systems that learn and act autonomously will be a “major battleground” for technology vendors through 2020.
Action Item: Invest in skills, processes and tools to build AI-enhanced systems; these include data preparation, integration, and algorithm and training methodology selection; model creation
2. Intelligent Apps and Analytics
Apps and services will continue to incorporate some level of AI. According to Gartner, intelligent apps create a “new intelligent intermediary layer between people and systems and have the potential to transform the nature of work and the structure of the workplace.”
Action Item: Think about how AI can add business value to software and services, improving user experiences
3. Digital Twin
Digital twins, in the context of IoT projects, is a promising area over the next three to five years, Gartner says. Digital twins of assets have the “potential to significantly improve enterprise decision-making.”
Action Item: Consider a strategy for digital twins; over time, improve their ability to collect and visualize the right data, apply right analytics, and respond effectively to business objectives
4. Cloud to the Edge
Edge computing places content collection and delivery closer to the sources of this information, cutting down on latency.
Action Item: Begin using edge design patterns in infrastructure architectures
5. Conversational Platforms
While conversational platforms have reached a tipping point around their understanding of language and basic user intent, they still fall short, Gartner says.
Over the next few years, conversational interfaces will be delivered in dedicated hardware, core OS features, platforms and applications, according to Gartner.
Action Item: Select conversational platforms that have robust conversational models and APIs to help deliver complex outcomes
6. Event Driven
According to Gartner, business events are anything that is “noted digitally, reflecting the discovery of notable states or state changes, for example, completion of a purchase order, or an aircraft landing.”
Event brokers, IoT, cloud computing, blockchain, in-memory data management and AI all help business events be detected faster and analyzed in greater detail, Gartner says.
“Event thinking is a key component of digital-business-native organizations. A well-functioning digital business is always in an ecosystem, always sensing and always ready to respond -- so it must be well-grounded in event processing,” Gartner says.
Action Item: Consider what cultural and leadership changes are necessary along with technology to embrace event-thinking
7. Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust
Continuous adaptive risk and trust assessment (CARTA) approaches allow for real-time decision making, and strike down barriers between security teams and application teams, according to Gartner.
Action Item: Integrate security testing at multiple points into DevOps workflows (DevSecOps)