Despite the British Comedy “The IT Crowd” doing it’s best to portray Information Technology as incompetent, the Information Technology (IT) field is constantly growing and progressing.
Because it is always evolving, it’s wise to make sure you update your IT department early and often. So, today we’ll be talking about a few IT trends to make sure you implement in 2020 to stay ahead of the competition.
But first, let’s break down the importance of Information Technology in the business world today.
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of Information Technology is that it allows for globalization to flourish. As our IT capabilities progress, so does our ability to share, communicate, and learn from people all around the world.
Communication is one area of IT that has become exceptionally faster, better, and easier. According to Michael Gurua of The Beacon Group, real-time language translation is one of the most significant tech innovations of the past few years.
“Driven by voice recognition technology coupled with AI, real-time language translators allow single-language speakers to have real-time conversations. It's impressive both on the usability front (earphones) and on the level of complexity insofar as getting both the language and accent right,” Says Gurau of the technology in a Forbes article.
We’ll talk more about the impact AI has on IT in a moment.
Another important development in IT revolves around storage — more specifically, the cloud.
Cloud technology has evened the playing field for smaller and medium-sized businesses. They no longer need to dedicate significant portions of their budget for servers, server rooms, and maintenance.
Cloud-based subscriptions, like Google Drive and Amazon Drive, have allowed businesses to pay for computing resources that they actually need.
IT is also important for security and cybersecurity that has improved dramatically over the course of the last few decades.
Born from the necessity of being able to stop the ever-improving tactics of hackers, these improvements in cybersecurity are helping to protect the mass amounts of data businesses are now harboring.
IT is important for all businesses because of its wide reach in terms of what it affects. Whether it’s your ability to prevent data breaches or being able to communicate with a client across the world, IT is crucial for your success.
So, to ensure that you don’t fall behind in your IT department, look for these industry-breaking trends that you should consider leaving room for in your budget next year.
IT Trends to Be Ready For in 2020
There are already tons of AI features available in everyday products — think about the AI capabilities in a Tesla car or Amazon’s Alexa.
In April of 2019, Tesla released an update to the ‘Navigate’ feature on their cars, which allows the vehicle to change lanes without confirmation, but does still require the driver to have their hands on the wheel.
And Alexa’s ability to understand commands, whether it’s adding an item to your online shopping cart or changing skipping a song on your playlist, is illustrative of one of the best consumer-focused AI products on the market today.
What many people don’t know is that there are many ‘behind the scenes’ initiatives with artificial intelligence — particularly within the Information Technology field.
This is especially true in larger businesses. According to research conducted by Spiceworks, emerging technology, like AI, has a 10 times higher adoption rate among large enterprises than when compared to smaller businesses.
When it comes to incorporating artificial intelligence into your systems, here are some of the most common applications:
While you may already have included some of these features in your IT systems, be on the lookout for more AI advancements to incorporate in the upcoming year.
Don’t worry though. We are still very far away from a HAL-like robot taking over the world.
Machine learning is considered a subset of AI, and it is quite an impressive technology. Machine learning involves computers learning to do something that they were not originally programmed to do.
Well, it’s actually being used to do some extraordinary things and the machine learning market is expected to grow to over $8 billion by 2022.
This technology can be used by businesses for data analytics, data mining, and pattern recognition. Machine learning will allow for quicker production of computer models that will be able to analyze extremely complex data and deliver faster, more accurate results. This way, businesses identify opportunities to get ahead of the competition, as well as any risks that they can then avoid.
Meanwhile, on the consumer end, machine learning is involved in retargeting, real-time ads, search engine results, and network intrusion detection.
It should be noted that there are some automation developments that may (or may not) put some job availability at risk — particularly within the manufacturing sector.
However, automation will likely do more good than harm.
Think about all the mundane day-to-day tasks your employees have to take on repetitively. Well by incorporating automation within your organization, you can allow your employees to focus extra attention on more important tasks that utilize their talents for added value.
For example, here are a couple of the ways automation can positively affect your workplace:
There are some automation tools out there that allow HR employees to avoid reading thousands and thousands of cover letters and resumes for open positions in the company.
These automation platforms and software can search for keywords within applications to quickly identify which candidates are the best candidates to interview in-person.
It might not be a foolproof tool, but according to CareerBuilder, 71% of employers said automated applicant tracking software improved the candidate experience.
The early stages of chatbots weren’t anything to write home about.
But today, chatbots are becoming quite sophisticated — both for the customers and your employees.
Spoke uses a smart bot to handle internal questions. So, if someone had a question about a particular file, they could send Spoke the question through Slack, email, or SMS and get info immediately.
This ultimately frees up time for IT and HR to handle their core responsibilities and larger projects.
Meanwhile, platforms like Zendesk offer intelligent chatbots for customers to talk to and get answers to simple questions or be directed on where to find more info.
Virtual intelligence (VI), not to be confused with artificial intelligence, is a sophisticated program designed to make modern computer systems easier to use. Clever programming is what allows VI to stand out amongst other computer systems.
While they aren’t actually self-aware, they can still do some pretty amazing things. And some VI systems will have personality characteristics, such as speech pattern and behavior paraments. However, it is currently illegal to make VIs based on living people.
For the most part, VIs are used to assist the user and process data. They can handle extensive search queries, act as tour guides, and even manage complex lab and database work.
Duke School of Nursing Training Simulation is a recent example of VI in action. This VI program was developed to test critical thinking for nursing students performing trained procedures to identify critical data to ensure they were making the right decisions and performing the correct steps. Bots are programmed to respond to the nurses' actions as the patient with their conditions improving if the nurse performs the correct actions.
In the following years, look for more businesses, schools, and other organizations to start pushing the boundaries of their virtual intelligence.
Whether or not you completely understand it, blockchain is coming and it is coming fast.
Blockchain technology has been on the radar of those in the IT field for a while now. The technology can be used for a multitude of purposes, including recording transactions and other digital interactions. Basically, blockchain allows buyers and sellers to store and exchange value without the need for traditional intermediaries.
Blockchain technology has also ushered in the rise of bitcoin.
For example, Microsoft started accepting bitcoin — one of the first applications of the blockchain — back in 2014. Today, they are continuing to put effort into bitcoin. Look for more companies to follow their lead in 2020.
What many people find intriguing about blockchain is that it is completely open to the public. Don’t worry though. People can only see a transaction occurred and the blocks that are stored within, not the actual content of the transaction — which is protected by a private key.
There is a pitfall with the open format of the blockchain, in that there is no authority that can approve specific rules in which transactions must be accepted.
All the participants in the blockchain must trust one another and come up with an agreement for how to accept transactions. This will help establish trust between those who use the blockchain.
That being said, blockchain is very secure and will continue to grow in its reach and impact in the IT sector over the next few years.
The same Spiceworks study from the artificial intelligence section found that security awareness and testing tools continue to be highly valued when it comes to preventing IT security incidents.
This makes sense because as mentioned previously, hackers are getting smarter and more crafty when it comes to breaching a company’s data.
Above all else, you should make sure that you’re allocating enough resources to security awareness, in addition to testing tools to validate the security of your internal systems.
Not only is your customer’s private information at risk when your cybersecurity is lacking, but the fines that come with not properly putting the systems in place to protect that information are severe.
For example, Anthem, a company that works in the healthcare field, had to pay $16 million in fines for not being HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant. This was after a data breach of their IT systems caused the information of 79 million people to be exposed.
Not only did that negatively affect the consumers whose information was hacked, but it also harmed their business with such a large fine. For small and medium-sized businesses, these fines can be detrimental.
IT managers are also starting to place more of an emphasis on utilizing software that helps to manage their company’s assets.
While using Digital Asset Management (DAM) is not a new concept, more companies are starting to realize the value of incorporating a DAM system in their operations. The “management” aspect of DAM is coming to the forefront as companies start to use DAM in a sophisticated way.
Rather than being solely a library for digital assets, companies are starting to implement workflows, integrate into other systems, and use supplementary technology like AI in their DAM.
In 2020, look for more emphasis on DAM as an essential part of the technology stack that plays an integral role in the full lifecycle and management of digital assets.