What is going to happen in 2019? This time of year, experts on every subject from cloud to cliff diving weigh in with their predictions for the year ahead. Some of these materialize, others come close but do not quite pan out. Then there is a third group that misses its mark by a mile.
We can assume there will be widespread disruption in 2019, but things are moving so fast these days, we cannot predict with any confidence which technologies will shake up fields such as retail, financial services or healthcare.
Here are our 11 predictions for what might happen to the changing market in 2019 and beyond.
1. Cloud will innovate at the edge
More and more, companies will embrace the notion that innovation needs to take place on the edge of the enterprise, focused on the end user, not on the internal core operations of the business. Until now, that has meant things like installing IoT devices in manufacturing plants and launching mobile apps to disrupt the transportation business.
In 2019, expect the cloud to get more into the act. The three hyperscale public cloud providers (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform) will continue to decentralize their offerings – pushing more services into offices, plant floors and data centers, helping businesses do more to innovate at the edge. Look for hyperscale solutions to perform automation and machine learning away from the main cloud centers, close to the work in the field.
2. Hybrid cloud use will accelerate
The trend toward hybrid cloud has been advancing for several years now. In 2019, the public cloud providers will make strong moves to help enterprises stitch together the equipment they own with the services the hyperscalers provide. Microsoft Azure has the lead in this market with Azure Stack, but AWS is closing fast, having introduced 13 hybrid services, including AWS Outpost. And Google has announced a relationship with Cisco for Kubernetes on-premises. The hybrid world is here, and adoption will accelerate as the hyperscalers start reaching further and further into the client data center.
Look for solutions that bring together the operating models of on-premises and public cloud in a holistic manner. Continuous learning systems to handle cost controls and security will dominate the market in 2019.
3. Proliferation of hybrid environments will trigger more security breaches
Expect to see more and more security breaches because of the complexities inherent in a hybrid computing world. Any CISO will tell you: complexity in networking and identity introduces risk. Complexity is harder for people to govern, and there are few, if any, holistic tools that cover all the bases. As companies assemble disparate systems, they will expand their attack areas and open themselves up to more breaches. When you have different moving parts that have not played together before, the situation is ripe for problems.
So look for the introduction of holistic, hybrid security platforms that address the public and private platforms in a total solution.
4. Enterprises will significantly underfund their training programs, but programs will improve
As companies integrate new technologies, they need to invest in training to ensure that the teams managing new projects are operating at peak efficiency. This is a problem now, and we predict it will get worse. If people are not trained in ways to free themselves from organizational silos, software release times will suffer and overall expectations will not be met.
Look for 2019 to be the breakout year for broader training programs with cooperation, communication and leadership skills at their core instead of technology. The company with the strongest teams will win this game, and the game is not technology — it is innovation, so we must train to that goal.
5. Flexible organizations will widen their gaps on the competition
One of the chief indicators of a successful transformation is the speed at which organizations release maintenance or new feature upgrades of software. Those who have figured out how to do this quickly are beating their competitors. In 2019, these innovators will start to create such a gap that competitors will be overwhelmed, and essentially left behind. We are already seeing this in transportation, where Uber and Lyft are crushing cab companies with a superior user experience. Soon, we will see this everywhere. Old-line companies that acquire new technologies in an attempt to become innovative, will be so locked into their “permafrost” methodologies, they will have trouble crossing the chasms.
6. Technologists will engage in more protests
Tech protests made the news in 2018 when 4,000 Google employees signed a petition to protest the use of AI tools for drone strikes. Expect to see more of these events in 2019. After years of relative inaction on the ethics front, a movement will take hold within the technology world. Much like in the political world, it will divide the technology space. Technologists will start to question more openly where their innovations are being applied, and when they disagree with the goals, they are going to wield their power in an effort to bring about change.
7. Calls for more security technology fines will increase
People are fed up with data breaches. Companies are too, but, as of today, the penalties for losing people’s data are not stiff enough for the broader industry to take strong action. We have seen governments respond in the past to similar conditions – such as creating the EPA because polluters were not taking environmental risks seriously. Considering today’s political climate in the U.S., we probably will not see new regulations with stiffer fines for data breaches, but security will be a persistent topic of discussion, as identity theft, credit card fraud and general data hacks proliferate.
Look for the formation of a central identity data store provided by cloud platforms. A central store is a repository of personal information, controlled by the individual. Much like personal medical records, the central identity repository is long overdue and will reduce breaches.
8. A major medical provider will embrace the public cloud
The medical field has started to dabble in the cloud, initiating pilot programs and incorporating one-off implementations for uses such as billing engines and back-end systems for insurance. But overall, this industry has been slower than others to embrace the cloud. That will change – incrementally – in 2019. We predict one large medical provider will set the pace with an announcement calling for a rollout of cloud technology across its enterprise. This will start discussions in boardrooms across the U.S. about exploring the feasibility of following suit.
9. Amazon’s expansion into new industries will drive cloud opportunities to Azure and Google
Amazon’s dominance in the retail space has created a scenario where rival retailers looking for public cloud resources generally steer clear of the market leader. These retailers will take Azure, Google, anybody but AWS. Expect more of this in the near future as Amazon invades other businesses, such as grocery, pharmacy and shipping. This will help rival cloud players, but it will hurt the overall cloud market. Enterprises tend to prefer multi-cloud environments, and with this development, one of the primary options will be eliminated from their evaluations. The right mix of cloud resources will then be based more on business issues than on the quality of the feature set. Developers trained on AWS will be eliminated from certain jobs, and companies will have to train differently – all because Amazon pushed its way into their marketplaces.
10. IT teams will be smaller – and more localized
Until recent years, rolling out a mobile application across multiple geographic locations required input from huge teams located in a company’s central office. That is changing. As more IT processes become automated – procurement, QA, networking, standing up hardware – the teams that oversee these functions are getting smaller and more localized. This trend will continue. It will eliminate jobs and force remaining team members into new roles. While this trend will take a while to play out, we will see continuing evidence of teams shrinking and being concentrated in remote locations.
11. Technologists will take more control of their own destinies
As roles in IT continue to change, technologists will need to take more personal responsibility for their own career development. We are already seeing roles change based on automation and the influence of the hyperscale cloud providers. This demands that technologists take inventories of their own skill sets. Without clear visibility into what is required in the marketplace, the speed at which technologists could be left behind will be overwhelming. This is about taking ownership of your career and not relying on your company to give you a growth path. The good news is, the coming year will open up a wider ecosystem of training for people: everything from YouTube videos, to certifications, to podcasts, to thought leadership materials such as The Doppler.