2020 always sounded like a science fiction concept and not a real year to me, the year of flying cars, personal jet packs and robot butlers, right? Waking up after NYE, I still find it hard to believe we are actually in 2020. A glittering new decade, full of possibilities…
January is customarily prediction time, so let us lay down a few as well.
First, there are a couple of big external changes that most of us have no control over – yet will inevitably have major IT implications.
- The economy – to many people’s surprise, 2019 turned out to be a banner year for stocks with S&P going up 28% and NASDAQ up 35%. But most economists agree that won’t repeat in 2020 – we are starting out the year with a lot of trade tension, geopolitical instability, general slowdown in global economic growth – just a lot of economic jitters.
What does this mean for IT? In these times of uncertainly, companies are going to buckle down, focus on cost-efficiency. Budgets will be flat, adaptability and flexibility will be key to recession-proofing. Projects for automation and streamlining operations will get the green light, and there is even more pressure to bring in intelligent analytics for improved decision making in real time. IT will be tasked with helping lines of business automate, save money and improve efficiency.
- 5G – As anyone can see from just TV ads, 5G is really truly here. Yes it’s just the beginning, but the possibilities are absolutely mind blowing. Many are saying that 5G is going to deliver the greatest wave of innovation since we welcomed the internet into our collective lives. It will add trillions to the economy, new products, services, new business models and industries.
What does 5G mean for IT? Sort of depends on where you are on the digital food chain. For mobile startups, this will be a crazy boon. For existing established businesses – it is all about racing to invent new applications that leverage all the new capabilities of 5G – tie it into your business model to provide better services for more consumers. For technology companies that cater to these companies, there will be needs for more infrastructure, more cloud services, more compute and storage – just a whole new groundswell of investment – but it’ll take longer, sort of a downstream effect.
Now, some straight IT predictions:
- Digital Transformation Goes Mainstream – a recent IDC report claims that by 2023, more than half of global GDP will be coming out of digitally transformed industries – reaching something they call “digital supremacy” in the next couple of years. What does this mean? If you do not have a long term, cohesive plan for digital transformation that combines technology, people, processes in 2020 – it may be too late for your business to maintain a foot hold in this brand new economy. There is a major drive for IT to help simplify, modernize and accelerate the business – and every company will be jumping on the transformation bandwagon in a big way this year.
- SAP Migrations Gets Serious – the 2025 deadline for SAP migration is no surprise to anyone, but this year is when customers get off the sidelines and make a decision on their ERP future. Smaller successful pilots will now see follow ups in the form of companywide initiatives to move to HANA and SAP’s latest generation of intelligent ERP solutions. Other companies that have been suffering from decision paralysis will be forced to get decisive, whether it’s on-prem SAP, in the cloud SAP through any number of available providers or go with a different platform. ERP is simply too crucial to the business to leave as a question mark.
- Data Continues to Explode, Software Defined Storage Deployments Trend Up – Forrester claims 2020 will be a key year for data strategy. IoT and other technology innovations dramatically ups the storage requirements faced by most businesses, software defined storage is a cost effective solution that is also maturing and becoming easier to deploy.
- Clouds Get Connected – While the Public Cloud wars continues to go red hot in 2020, companies are quietly adopting hybrid cloud strategies – but the key to success lies in the interconnections. As organizations connect their cloud applications to edge data, the transactional cost of data processing and movement may overtake cost of storage. A major effort needs to happen around integrating the management of various cloud silos to present a holistic picture back to the business and all customers/partners.
- AI Kicks into High Gear – Artificial intelligence is finding more and more use cases in every industry, we are starting to see a wide and deep infusion of AI/ML across most IT organizations. Narrow use cases lead to broader ones as companies move beyond weak AI to stronger AI. Machine learning will flourish under the hoods of all kinds of technology services, driving new efficiencies in workflow. We see a virtuous cycle and accelerated innovation that will make AI and connected to it- intelligent real time decision making more and more pervasive in the years to come.
So what are your thoughts, Mr. Reader/IT Guru? What do you think are the major trends this year and how is your own company getting ready for the new decade?