Technology remained at the forefront of many major headlines throughout 2018. If it wasn’t a report about the compromised data of 87 million users of the world’s largest social network, it was the U.S. government finally acknowledging Russia’s involvement in the NotPetya ransomware attacks that impacted networks worldwide in 2017.
What will 2019 bring? While there’s no way to predict potential cyberattacks, and many technology firms are keeping new product launches under wraps, there are many emerging and not-so-new technology trends that will make their mark in the business world in 2019. Here’s a look at what we believe will be the top six major business technology trends in the year ahead.
1. Increased IoT Connectivity
With the surge in popularity of Amazon Echo, Alexa, Google Home and other connected devices, it’s easy to see that an increasing number of consumers are relying on the Internet of Things (IoT) for daily life. Gartner predicts the number of connected things in use will hit 14.2 billion in 2019, and grow to 25 billion by 2021. But the greatest increase in the number of connected devices will not be among consumers; it will be among businesses, especially manufacturing and industrial applications.
Gartner predicts the number of connected things in use will hit 14.2 billion in 2019, and grow to 25 billion by 2021.Click to Tweet this!
As with consumer products, businesses will be able to gather valuable data to create a self-learning environment, leading to improved processes, greater efficiencies, increased productivity and cost savings. Customers will reap benefits by having better experiences as a result of intuitive and predictive problem solving and recommendations.
2. More Connected Devices, More Shadow IT
Each year, the number of remote workers rises, meaning the number of devices and applications needed to keep them connected to enterprises increases as well. The need for connectivity to the Cloud repeatedly ranks among the top trends, suggesting that it’s not so much a trend as it is a slow and steady migration for many businesses.
An important part of a company’s technology plan must include a strategy for addressing the use of shadow IT and its potential threat to businesses. Shadow IT includes unauthorized applications, software and devices that are used for business purposes without the knowledge of IT departments. Some of these applications and tools can be effective for improving connectivity, but many fall under the radar and may have insufficient or unknown security loopholes. As more applications flood the market in 2019, IT professionals will need to be more diligent in developing and enforcing policies and protocols to address the problems associated with Shadow IT.
3. Data Management
It’s hard to imagine a time when some form of computing wasn’t part of our daily lives. Whether it’s the smartphone in your pocket, the computer on your desktop or any number of software platforms used to conduct business, all that technology and more is generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day. In fact, some estimate that 90% of the world’s data was generated over the last two years alone!
With 5G technology on the horizon, it’s expected to only increase the speed at which data is generated (100 to 250 times faster than 4G). The sheer volume of potential data that businesses will need to manage moving forward is mind-blowing. Implementing processes and automated workflows through the use of technologies, such as an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, will see increased adoption in 2019 in an effort to mitigate the risks of managing ever-growing virtual storehouses of data.
4. Artificial Intelligence Becomes Even Less Artificial
One of the first examples of Artificial Intelligence (AI) many of us likely encountered were chatbots. Chatbots have been widely used for customer service and support, but have had limited adoption due to their less-than-human characteristics and capabilities. But as AI continues to improve, chatbots and other computer systems are increasingly able to respond to customers and predict their needs as well as or better than humans. Google’s introduction of Duplex AI software even caused some controversy in 2018 because of its eerily lifelike verbal ticks like “uh” and “um,” making it indiscernible from a real human.
It’s estimated that 70% of enterprises are implementing an AI strategy, and CIOs are making it a top priority to enhance customer experiences and leverage data to make better business decisions. AI will influence industries by mining data to determine patterns, promote machine learning and predict user behaviors.
5. Hypervigilance About Cybersecurity
The need for data security is at an all-time high, as is demonstrated by the ranking of technology careers among the top jobs with the greatest potential for growth. Some organizations are struggling to find qualified IT security specialists to mitigate the risks of data breaches and cyberattacks.
Even though the number of self-reported cyberattacks against small and mid-sized businesses has remained fairly steady, 40% of business owners reported that they were unconcerned about cyber attacks in 2018, nearly double the number in 2017. While the threat will remain the same or higher going forward, this increasing lack of concern is, well, concerning!
As IT jobs go unfilled and cybercriminals become more cunning and disruptive, business owners will need to find effective security solutions in 2019, yet 65% of them confess they don’t have a dedicated employee or vendor in place to monitor their systems.
6. Increased Reliance on Managed IT
The skilled labor shortage that topped headlines in 2018 shows no signs of reversing itself and, in fact, is expected to only create more challenges in 2019 and beyond. This reality along with heightened security threats will lead many organizations to seek a third-party provider to supplement their existing IT teams, or to serve as a sole solution. This is an especially appealing approach for small and medium-size businesses that require many of the same security measures as larger corporations, but can’t afford a CIO salary on their payrolls.
A Managed IT provider can deploy a virtual CIO (vCIO) to serve in a similar capacity at a fraction of the expense. Managed IT offers assurance that a dedicated representative and a team of highly skilled experts are at a company’s disposal to address problems such as slow computers, connectivity issues, printer errors, software updates and more.
The year 2019 will bring many challenges, but the business world will also face many opportunities for growth and improvements. The Gordon Flesch Company is dedicated to supporting your organization’s IT initiatives, and can provide skilled and diligent experts who receive consistent training on the latest security threats, equipment, upgrades and updates to keep systems running smoothly and to provide peace-of-mind.
If you’d like to explore the benefits of Managed IT, reach out to us for a free, no-obligation consultation, and we’ll help you make 2019 the best year yet. Not sure if you’re ready for Managed IT? Take our quick quiz below to help determine if it’s right for you.