Gartner released its annual list of top strategic technology trends this week, projecting that 2022 will keep enterprise executives busy with new developments in everything from artificial intelligence to cybersecurity.
While much of this tech is centered on greater automation and even autonomy in data systems, there are also some outliers in areas like mesh networks and application-level composability.
The report was introduced at Gartner’s IT symposium/Xpo Americas, which was held virtually until today. According to David Groombridge, Gartner’s vice president of research, the focus this year is finding ways for businesses and other organizations to establish direct digital connections with their users, in part by leveraging IT force multipliers to push growth and innovation while at the same time creating scalable and resilient technical foundations that boost performance and lower costs.
AI on the upswing
Topping the list of technology trends is Generative Artificial Intelligence, which is distinguished from the broader AI realm by its use of machine learning and other tools to first form an understanding of contents or objects and then generate all-new artifacts. Gartner expects GAI to bolster activities as wide-ranging as software development, drug creation, and targeted marketing. At the same time, it can be used to detect fraud, disinformation, and ID theft. At the moment, GAI generates less than 1% of all produced data, but Gartner expects that to climb to 10% by 2025.
Other forms of AI are also set to make a statement in 2022. Autonomic systems that can learn and adapt to their environments will likely break out of their traditional roles in cybersecurity to augment a wide range of technology, including robots, drones, and manufacturing equipment. By dynamically modifying their own algorithms, autonomic systems reduce the need for complex and costly software upgrades, while also conforming themselves to the unique processes and procedures found in every enterprise.
As well, Gartner has flagged Decision Intelligence (DI) as a novel new way for organizations to capitalize on fast-moving data and rapidly changing environments in order to gain a competitive advantage. DI concerns itself specifically with how decisions are made and how outcomes are to be evaluated and improved based on user feedback and other data sets. Gartner says this technology will be in place at a third of all large organizations within two years.
The key to implementing all of this intelligence will be AI engineering, which strives to overcome the multitude of integration and organizational issues that prevent many current AI projects from coming to fruition or cause them to perform poorly once they are deployed. Groombridge said that by mid-decade, 10% of organizations will have established AI engineering best practices, and these firms will see a three-fold boost in the value of their AI projects compared to those who are still struggling to integrate.
Of course, other technologies are poised to alter the IT environment as well. Data fabrics, for one, will simplify data and infrastructure integration to undo the silo-based architectures that have hampered data performance for so long. By combining this with advanced analytics, organizations stand to shave upwards of 70% off their data management costs and dramatically shorten the value timeline for digital initiatives. As well, cybersecurity mesh architectures (CMAs) will help push security into the geo-distributed data footprints of the cloud and the edge. This will provide organizations with an integrated security framework for all assets and reduce the cost of breaches by 90%.
IT across the cloud
This plays into two more trends identified by Gartner: the distributed enterprise and cloud-native platforms (CNPs). With the traditional office-based enterprise giving way to more remote and hybrid environments, data infrastructure will have to become as geographically dispersed as the workforce. This will require distributed services and infrastructure, which can best be accomplished in the cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 75% of distributed organizations will exceed non-distributed competitors’ growth by 25%, while CNPs will support 95% of all digital initiatives by 2025.
Elsewhere, Gartner sees a busy year ahead for composable applications that support rapid change and rapid development of new digital products and services, along with new forms of privacy-enhancing computation (PEC) as pressure mounts to provide better protection of personal information. At the same time, we can expect to see the convergence of customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), user experience (UX), and even multi-experience (MX) design concepts into an overarching Total Experience (TX) model that drives confidence and satisfaction across all stakeholders.
Overall, Gartner expects enterprises to continue the drive to more streamlined, flexible, and lower-cost infrastructure and architecture in order to compete in an increasingly digitized economy. No doubt there will be many false starts and failed initiatives, but ultimately the best ideas will rise to the surface and prove to be highly lucrative for those who bring them to fruition.
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