Top 10 predictions and key drivers for the IT industry for the next five years

Over the past several years, IT and business leaders have been focused on the digital transformation (DX) their organizations must go through as they reimagine their organizations built on 3rd Platform technologies (cloud, mobile, big data & analytics, and social) and further enabled by Innovation Accelerators such as the IoT, AI, and AR/VR.

IT industry predictions

Today, this transformation story is well into its second chapter and gaining momentum as organizations unleash “multiplied innovation” through expanded digital reach, pervasive intelligence, exploding app and service development, evolving customer expectations, and ambient trust and security. In this changing tech and business environment, enterprises have embarked on a race to expand their digital innovation capabilities to compete and thrive in the rapidly digitizing global economy.

“As industries – and the global economy – rapidly realign and consolidate around digital innovation, CXOs must race to reinvent their organizations for the fast-paced multiplied innovation world,” said Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC. “This means reinventing IT around a distributed cloud infrastructure, public cloud software stacks, agile and cloud-native app development and deployment, AI as the new user interface, and new, pervasive approaches to security and trust at scale.”

A closer look at IDC’s top ten worldwide IT industry predictions reveals the following:

1. By 2022, over 60% of global GDP will be digitized with growth in every industry driven by digitally-enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships. Business leaders in every enterprise must put digital transformation at the top of their priority list. Businesses that fail to transform their offerings and their operations, at all levels, will find themselves competing for a progressively shrinking share of their traditional marketplace.

2. By 2023, 75% of all IT spending will be on 3rd Platform technologies, as over 90% of all enterprises build “digital native” IT environments to thrive in the digital economy. Nearly half of enterprises recently surveyed indicated that they are “digitally determined,” meaning they have already determined to develop an integrated digital strategy and architecture that largely mimics that of “digital native” organizations: cloud-centric service delivery, leveraging agile/DevOps practices, plugged into digital innovation platforms/communities, and focused on integrated data management and monetization.

3. By 2022, over 40% of organizations’ cloud deployments will include edge computing, and 25% of endpoint devices and systems will execute AI algorithms. A massive expansion in “digital reach” is underway as cloud infrastructure, and enterprise applications and services, shifts out to edge locations with proximity to devices (sensors, phones, cameras, etc.) and data sources. AI services will be among the first – and most transformational – of public cloud capabilities being distributed across the edge.

4. By 2022, 90% of all apps will feature microservices architectures that improve the ability to design, debug, update, and leverage third-party code; 35% of all production apps will be cloud-native. The digital economy’s requirement to deliver high-quality applications at the speed of business is driving the shift to “hyperagile apps” – highly modular, distributed, continuously updated, and leveraging cloud-native technologies such as containers and serverless computing. Combined with agile/DevOps approaches and methodologies, enterprises can dramatically accelerate their ability to push out digital innovation – at 50-100 time (or more) the frequency of traditional approaches.

5. By 2024, a new class of professional developers producing code without custom scripting, will expand the developer population by 30%, accelerating digital transformation. Hard pressed to deliver digital solutions with increasing frequency, organizations will turn to a new class of developers that leverages visually guided development tools, low code development platforms, no code development platforms, and model-driven development tools to create and refine digital solutions. By 2024, this new class of developers will expand the global developer population by nearly one third.

6. From 2018 to 2023, with new tools/platforms, more developers, agile methods, and lots of code reuse, 500 million new logical apps will be created, equal to the number built over the past 40 years. This explosion in app and services development and deployment pace and scale is the product of the shift to hyperagile app technologies, architectures, and methodologies and the expansion in the developer population enabled by lo/no-code tools.

“The ability to accelerate digital innovation volume and pace will be the most critical new benchmark for organizations competing in the digital economy,” Gens added.

7. By 2022, 25% of public cloud computing will be based on non-x86 processors (including quantum); by 2022, organizations will spend more on vertical SaaS apps than horizontal apps. Multiplied innovation means the number of use cases that can be served by IT will expand significantly, which creates a wider variety of specialized IT needs. At the infrastructure level, the parallel processing requirements of AI is driving processor heterogeneity. Similarly, organizations are choosing vertically specialized SaaS applications nearly twice as often as horizontal applications.

8. By 2024, AI-enabled user interfaces and process automation will replace one third of today’s screen-based apps. By 2022, 30% of enterprises will use conversational speech tech for customer engagement. One of AI’s most obvious and transformative impacts will be its increasing role as the main interface (UI) for an expanding number of apps and services. At the same time, AI-driven process automation is being utilized to streamline and replace human tasks that are often based on existing B2B and B2C applications. IDC expects conversational and other AI-powered interfaces will increasingly become the norm while expanded use of automation will maximize employee productivity.

9. By 2022, 50% of servers will encrypt data at rest and in motion; over 50% of security alerts will be handled by AI-powered automation; and 150 million people will have blockchain-based digital identities. Security and trust are poised to expand to meet the demands of multiplied innovation. A variety of next generation offerings will bring enhanced trust for data (via pervasive encryption) and digital identities (registered on blockchains), as well as real-time threat management that leverages analytics, machine learning, and other data science models.

10. By 2022, the top four cloud “megaplatforms” will host 80% of IaaS/PaaS deployments, but 2024, 90% of G1000 organizations will mitigate lock-in through multi- and hybrid cloud technologies and tools. Over the next 4-5 years, enterprises will embrace integrated hybrid/multicloud tools and strategies to support different applications and use cases. Lack of an integrated strategy will result in suboptimal resource allocation, limited access to best-available technology innovations, longer problem identification and resolution times, and limited vendor leverage.

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