The Computing Technology Industry Association just released its 2020 research report on the outlook for the IT industry for the coming year. This annual report highlights key trends to watch and includes vast information related to the IT industry and where it is heading.
For 2020, CompTIA identified the following 10 trends to watch:
1. Tech-Washing fades in favor of real strategy;
2. Workforce diversity grows in many ways;
3. Tech front and center in U.S. elections;
4. Hype meets reality with emerging technology;
5. Internet of Things continues to redefine IT architecture;
6. Artificial Intelligence eats the world;
7. Demand for integration drives demand for automation;
8. Cyber security becomes more operational;
9. Deep fakes and 5G exacerbate the data management challenge and;
10. Tech industry regulation stirs fears.
Tech-Washing refers to the trend where almost any business labels itself as a tech business these days. With the wide availability of enabling technologies, businesses of all sizes are investing in technology more than at any time in the past. However, these investments do not always bear fruit. Has your business bought technology that has essentially sat on the shelf and never been implemented? If so, you’re not alone. Rather than chase the latest gadget or new technology, businesses need to be sure any technology investments map to business strategy and can be measured to ensure success.
The tech industry, more than most others, has been under heavy pressure to diversify. The industry lagged behind many others in workforce diversification, but this is starting to change. Perhaps driven in part by the severe shortage of skilled workers, tech companies are changing their hiring practices to welcome diversity more than at any time in its history. This is a good thing as a workforce needs to represent the population at large. With the increasing costs of higher education, many are opting for professional training academies or community college educations and this too, is helping to make the workforce in tech more diverse.
With a major election lurking, tech is front and center in many of the candidate platforms. From concerns about the size and scope of big tech to cybersecurity, candidates for local to national offices are becoming savvier on these topics. This is a good thing as our lawmakers have lagged behind the industry in terms of understanding the implications of emerging technologies on industry and society at large.
Emerging technologies continue to change and improve our lives. Whether we are talking about artificial intelligence (AI) or smart-home and other devices (IoT), block chain or others, emerging technology is changing how we do business and manage our lives. With these progressive developments come benefit and risk. The benefits come rather quickly, while the understanding of the risk often lags. Securing emerging technology and making sure it is only used for good will be more important in 2020.
The explosion of IoT devices is placing stressors on the infrastructure of our networks and opening up significant security concerns. IoT is positioning itself to become part of nearly every corporate and home network. How these devices are segmented and how the information they collect is used could hold tremendous promise. Businesses leveraging IoT sensors are facing volumes of data they have not seen before and learning how to harness and analyze this information could become critical differentiators in their markets.
AI and increased integration hold tremendous promise to improve automation. One of the great promises of the technological revolution has been the ability to harness technology to enhance business processes. Automation has made tremendous inroads in manufacturing, but not necessarily in other industries. As AI and machine learning continue to mature, automation capabilities will continue to improve.
Cybersecurity has to become an operational underpinning of every organization, large or small. While the focus has been primarily defensive, we need to pivot to more offensive initiatives. We need to meet the threat where it exists and educate users to be aware that cyber threats are not just at the network level, where they don’t operate. The most successful threats involve social engineering and more traditional espionage techniques that take advantage of human weaknesses. Communicating the existential nature of this threat is critical if we are to keep our economy safe from the hackers.
Finally, understanding the deep fake effect will be ever more important. You can no longer assume any audio or video you see is authentic. You have to authenticate it yourself and not take it as truth. This created an entirely new level of complexity with how we consume and transmit information. Our technical capabilities are quickly eclipsing our ability to ensure authenticity. This is an entirely new risk vector we have seen impact our elections and will impact commerce and daily life and needs to be better understood.
Technology has made our lives better. There is no doubt about it. This has not come without some downsides. This is one of the reasons regulating tech has become such a hot topic this election season. Not since the anti-trust investigation of Microsoft have we seen such a focus on one industry. Many tech companies are justifiably concerned by the increased scrutiny they are under. Many individuals think this scrutiny is warranted based on past missteps. It’s too early to know how this will play out. The only thing for sure is it will have a profound impact on our lives.
If you would like to read the complete report, email me and I will send you a copy. My contact information is below.
MJ Shoer is an IT consultant based in Portsmouth. He provides coaching and content development, partner program and technology stack management, Office 365 optimization, realistic cybersecurity and virtual CTO services to his clients. He maintains a blog about IT at www.mjshoer.com/blogand may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.