“It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” — Yogi Berra
This quote is good for a chuckle since it highlights the degree of difficulty involved in figuring out what tomorrow might look like. Yet every year around this time, you’ll see the technology and business prognosticators peering into their crystal balls to foretell our digital future.
But there is value in this yearly exercise for technology decision-makers when assessing present business goals and keeping an eye on future ones. As with any prediction, it’s worthwhile to pay attention to the trends but ensure you’re doing what’s right for your business.
With this in mind, here are some enterprise predictions for 2019 to consider.
Data, data everywhere
It’s a never-ending enterprise story: companies that drowning in a sea of structured and unstructured data and information are looking for ways to navigate and make sense of it all.
As research firm Forrester notes, with better data governance in mind, 2019 should be the year where 40 per cent of firms establish and maintain automation centres to have a better grip on data issues around auditing, change management and security.
All about artificial intelligence
No longer relegated to the realm of sci-fi, the business prospects for artificial intelligence (AI) grow more real by the day. Indeed, businesses are realizing how this technology can drive processes and offer insights into real-time, real-world information.
According to research firm IDC, AI-enabled UI and automated processes will supplant a chunk of current screen-based apps by 2024. The firm also notes 30 per cent of companies will adopt conversational speech tech for customer engagement within four years.
Security and diversity
If your business hasn’t already taken a proactive approach to cybersecurity, it’s time to step things up. IDC is predicting that, by 2020, 60 per cent of technology decision-makers will make the move toward devising and developing digital trust frameworks that can anticipate, assess and proactively take on security threats and events.
And as companies finally make a genuine and concerted effort to diversify the workforce, Gartner predicts that approximately three-quarters of large-sized businesses will see the benefits of data-driven decision making in selecting new hires and promoting existing staff. The research firm notes that more companies will look at establishing rigorous guidelines for setting diversity and inclusion targets, aiming for a timeline between 2020 to 2022.
Get ready for 5G
As the next generation of wireless technology, 5G networks are on the horizon and the businesses that are ready for it will be the ones leading the enterprise pack. Low latency 5G networks — which promise to attain near-20 Gbps download speeds — will be the driver of next-gen technologies including video streaming, VR/AR, self-driving vehicles and the Internet of Things.
The transformational potential of this technology cannot be understated — according to IDC, by 2022 the 5G and 5G-related network infrastructure market will grow from approximately US $528 million in 2018 to $26 billion. Companies should already have a 5G strategy in place that extends and expands upon current and future business goals.
Beyond digital transformation
In 2019, businesses must define an approach to digital transformation that suits IT budgets and future aspirations.
According to a recent MIT Technology Review report, 90 per cent of firms polled are already using AI to boost customer experience and boost revenue. In addition, Forrester predicts that 2019 will be the year digital transformation shifts from “super-wide enterprise efforts” to a more nuanced and pragmatic approach across the business.