10 tech trends that will impact your job in 2020

IDC has unveiled its annual global IT predictions for the coming year, from connected clouds and edge build-out to a new kind of CTO. Here’s what you need to know:


Enterprises will focus on developing a groundbreaking new type of code in 2020: a code of trust.

That’s No. 7 on IDC’s annual list of top 10 global technology predictions for the next 12 months and beyond. In a webcast unveiling the list, IDC’s senior analyst Frank Gens said the proliferation of AI is pushing organizations to address the issue of trust.

“[This] prediction … is not about cool new technologies. It’s about relationships,” he said.

While AI is transforming the digital economy, Gens said it’s also raising questions about the authenticity of digital content, the ethics of how that content is created and used, and the responsibility enterprises owe to their customers when they deploy AI.

As Twitter and Facebook face pressure to remove fake ads and news stories from their sites, Gens believes organizations will shift their focus from data security, privacy and management to the deeper issue of “ethical business operations.”

That shift means trust “is going to have to change from being a bolt-on to a built-in,” he said. In a nod to that, he predicted an increasing number of enterprises will follow Airbnb’s move to create the brand-new position of chief trust officer.

Here are all 10 IDC predictions, with a few takes on their potential implications for IT pros, including architecture, budgets, governance, hiring and skills development, new tech adoption and executive roles.

#1. Innovation spending spree

By 2023, more than 50 per cent of all ICT spending will go directly to digital transformation and innovation, up from 27 per cent in 2018.

Budgets: Innovation requires forethought, so IDC advises enterprises to plot out a three-year (or longer) IT spending plan to align business goals with IT transformation spending.

#2. Connected clouds

By 2022, 70 per cent of enterprises will integrate cloud management across their public and private clouds by deploying unified hybrid/multi-cloud management technologies, tools and processes.

#3. Edge build-out

By 2023, more than 50 per cent of new enterprise IT infrastructure deployed will be at the edge rather than corporate data centres, up from less than 10 per cent today; by 2024 the number of apps at the edge will increase 800 per cent.

IT architecture: IDC suggests this will drive uptake of more standardized IT configurations.

#4. DIY development

By 2025, nearly two-thirds of enterprises will be prolific software producers with code deployed daily. More than 90 per cent of new apps will be cloud-native, 80 per cent of code will be externally sourced and there will be 1.6 times more developers.

IT skills, roles, tech adoption: Gens said this trend means “enterprises will become digital innovation factories.” This will expand the developer’s role dramatically within the organization. Since open source software (OSS) is key to this trend, IDC recommends that each enterprise create its own OSS project office.

#5. Industry-specific apps

By 2023, more than half a billion digital apps and services will be developed and deployed using cloud-native approaches, with the majority aimed at industry-specific digital transformation use cases.

IT skills, roles: Gens said this trend will drive a “democratization of development” that enables staff—even line-of-business employees—to develop their own apps. He recommends taking stock of the digital innovation skills across every department, including part-time and non-IT workers, so everyone can play a role in this.

#6. Inescapable AI

By 2024, more than half of user interface interactions will employ AI; by 2025, AI will be embedded in at least 90 per cent of new enterprise apps.

Governance: IDC said this explosion in AI will fuel greater scrutiny of the sources and quality of AI data, all in an effort to prevent AI bias and unlawful or unethical AI usage.

#7. Trust becomes key

Fleshing out what we mentioned earlier, IDC expects 50 per cent of the G2000 to name a chief trust officer by 2023; the new CTO (no, not that CTO) will orchestrate trust across functions such as security, finance, HR, risk, sales, production and legal.

#8. Enterprises as platforms

Enterprises will operate as digital service providers or platforms. By 2023, 60 per cent of the G2000 will have a digital developer ecosystem with thousands of developers; half of those enterprises will drive 20 per cent of digital revenue through their digital ecosystem or platform. Enterprises will emulate the way Amazon, Google, Facebook and Salesforce grow their own ecosystems by allowing third parties to leverage their offerings via APIs.

Executive roles, tech: Gens recommends appointing an experienced senior executive to lead this transformation because “for many, this is an entirely new capability and business model.” He says this shift will boost demand for ecosystem management solutions, API management and monetization solutions.

#9. Multi-industry mash-ups

By 2025, 20 per cent of revenue growth will come from “white space” offerings that combine digital services from previously unlinked industries, and one-fifth of partners will hail from previously unlinked industries.

Rather than focusing on how they make or sell their product or service, enterprises will have to consider where their offerings fit within various digitally connected ecosystems. To do that, they’ll have to seek partnerships with players outside their core industries. Translation: it literally doesn’t pay to stay in your own vertical lane anymore.

Governance: In addition to forming their own ‘trust’ strategy, enterprises will have to question how their new ecosystem partners—who come from completely different industries—approach trust as well.

#10. Platform power plays

Cloud consolidation will continue, with 75 per cent of the public cloud market share concentrated in the hands of the top five mega-platforms by 2023. The opposite will unfold in the SaaS space, where the top 10 pure-play SaaS vendors rapidly expand their PaaS offerings.

Tech adoption: To cope with narrowing public cloud choices, IDC suggests seeking open source technologies supported on multiple platforms, and choosing SaaS providers that deliver platform services versus just modular apps.

Images: turk_stock_photographer/iStock; dem10/iStock

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