2019- Emerging Technology Trends

Lawrence TillsonAugust 23, 2019

This article is about the technological trends and how contemporary IT leaders feel about and plan to respond to them. The attitudes presented here were gathered from a survey, and there may be some overlap between figures. There were ten trends or research topics covered, and they range from customer and employee experience to the more complex topics of blockchain and AI. For each subject the survey covers 3 criteria; percentage of IT leaders who consider it a high priority, the percentage who say they have a completed strategy on the subject, and the percentage who say their skills on the subject are advanced, and then provides some additional information.

Customer experience was one of the stronger subjects. It has 89% of IT leaders saying it’s a high priority, however it loses ground with only 42% and 46% saying they have a completed strategy and advanced skills, respectively. Customer experience is generally seen as essential, with 77% of IT leaders saying that they will be increasing their investments. Another whopping 93% say that improved client-facing technology is vital for their business to compete. When it came to roadblocks to implementing a better customer experience the issues were either budgetary, legacy systems, disconnected data, competing priorities, or misunderstanding user needs.

Employee experience was a middle of the road topic; 52% of IT leaders say that it is a priority, 22% say their strategy is completed, and 31% say their skills are advanced. Though widely recognized as important, there is relatively lower investment compared to the other subjects. This lack of adequate funding exists despite 82% of leaders agreeing that improved employee technology is critical to being able to compete, and only 21% say their technology maximizes employee engagement and only 25% admit that is maximizes employee productivity. Developer experience is the worst rated of the three “experience subjects with only 20% of leaders saying it’s a priority, 10% having a completed strategy, and 23% saying their skills are advanced. Around 25% of IT leaders use low-code or no code developer tools, but this trend will only increase with an anticipated 41% in the next couple years. Another trend, serverless computing, is used by 52% of the polled IT leaders, and it’s anticipated that this will also increase to 83% within two years.

Mobile technology has 44% of IT leaders listing it as a priority, only 20% have a completed strategy, and 29% say their skills are advanced. A respectable 63% of the workforce uses their phones for both business and personal tasks, and due to globalization and the potential for mobile technology 100% of the IT leaders believed that mobile technology will create a type of global workplace. Due to this importance, 74% of the IT leaders say a shortage of mobile access to business apps, data, and content will slow business down by 2025. This immense importance also leads about 80% of the leaders to believe that development is going to be mobile first by 2025. These facts describe a grand future for mobile technology, which seems a little odd since less than half of the leaders consider mobile technology a priority. System integration is another middle of the road trend with 55% of leaders considering it a high priority, 23% say they have a completed strategy, and 44% saying they have advanced skills. Close to three-quarters of customers believe that connected experiences, such as seamless handoffs between departments or contextualized engagements based on previous interactions, are extremely important for business. Only 36% of IT leaders, however, offer completely connected experiences; thus, making connected experiences remain an “exception to the rule.” IT leaders, upwards of 69%, blamed the lack of connectivity on an absence of integration and roughly the same amount also blame connectivity projects to be expensive and time-consuming.

Artificial intelligence, a common subject of conversation, is a relatively low priority ratingbut it has higher rates of use. Only 37% of IT leaders consider AI as a priority, 7% have a completely defined strategy, and only 10% believe their skills are advanced. In every other poll AI scored fairly high. About 42% of leaders say they use it, and 64% are actively seeking more ways to use it. Roughly 80% of leaders believe that AI will help their companies draw more insights, and they also rank AI close to the top when asked what trend has the most customer service potential. The main issue with AI is that 92% believe that there are ethical concerns attached to AI.

Only 22% of IT leaders see voice technology as a priority, 14% say that they have a completed strategy, and 11% believed they have advanced skills. Roughly, about 36% use voice tech in a client-facing role, but an additional 50% plan on implementing it in the next 2 years. The three main customer-centred departments that the leaders see using voice tech are customer service, sales, and marketing, and around 68% of leader see it as being a key part of their business in the next 2 years.

IT staff learning and development is viewed as a priority by only 41% of leaders, 24% have a completed strategy, and 23% say their skills are up to par. Currently companies are struggling to find IT employees with 79% reporting that it is harder than ever to procure good IT talent. Less than half of these leaders are searching for IT talent from non-traditional background, e.g. veterans and career-changers; this may be attributed to the whopping 93% of IT leaders who believe that business acumen is an important skill for technical staff.

Blockchain, one of the most popular trends for industry-outsiders, has only about 10% of IT leaders calling it a priority, 4% saying they have a completed strategy, and 6% believing that their skills are advanced. Some IT leaders believe that in the future blockchain will play a major role within their industry, nearly 75% see it as having potential to create new business models, and about two-thirds foresee improved partnerships. Though at the moment, 22% of leaders have identified a blockchain use case, and slightly more than one-fifth are actively using it. Only 17% of IT leaders feel strongly that they have a grasp of blockchain, and only 7% believe that their partners do. All is not lost, however, since 50% of the IT leaders expect to increase their blockchain investment within 2 years.

Security and trust have a respectable percentage of IT leaders, 79%, saying it’s a priority, 42% think they have a completely defined strategy, and 44% say their skills are advanced. The majority of IT leaders take this subject extremely seriously with 85% viewing internal threats as gravely as external ones. A surprisingly high 78% of leaders have taken precautions to supervise how their employees access and use customer data. Leaders have taken security and trust so seriously not only because it’s how they can boost customer loyalty but only because of various governing bodies’ regulations.

This information is a lot to consider, but hopefully it has offered some insight into what IT leaders are making their priority, and you can consider how to act accordingly. As always, if you decide that this information has you stumped consider calling Mindtrades. We can offer our expertise and find you a path to navigate the many pitfalls and complexities of technological trends.

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