Eight more IT leaders look into their crystal balls to predict the technologies and trends that will drive the sector in 2020. Here are their predictions.
Gary Adler, chief digital officer, MinterEllison
Automation, automation, automation. Whilst AI will continue to find its feet in more basic forms in most corporates, automation will have the greatest impact - whether its RPA, workflow or business process management. We will also see more practical use cases of blockchain surfacing, bringing traditional competitors together in a trustworthy way to better service their customer base. Finally, IoT will continue to accelerate at an exponential rate, in homes and in the commercial landscape, simplifying the way we do things.
On the trends front, democratisation of more technologies is underway. This will allow digitally adept users to make use of historically complex technologies like AI and data visualisation to augment their work. However, this will also continue to rapidly surface the data ethics issue as more consumers become wary of trusting both government and businesses with their data. Entities collecting data will need to acutely focus on how the data is being used and ensure they are transparent with their customers.
As organisations continue to digitise, their cyber risk profile won't only increase in lockstep, but they will also deal with more complex cyber and social engineering attacks. Cyber will, hence, continue to dominate the IT and business landscape too.
Roger Sniezek, CIO, chief information and digital officer, Coles
Wearable technology will start to rise in usage at scale. At Coles, we are using it for our new Guided Split store function, which uses algorithms to let our team members know what stock from a delivery should be sent straight to the shop floor and what can be kept in the stockroom for later replenishment. The increasing use of AI in core business functions such as demand forecasting will also start to drive material business benefits.
On the trends front, the move to cloud for traditional businesses is increasing, and companies will need to ensure that they work hard to lock in the agility and speed-to-market benefits whilst also allocating time to optimising how their applications consume cloud services.
Elizabeth Wilson, CIO, Information Management and Technology Division, Victorian Department of Education and Training
CIOs will struggle with an increasing cyber threat landscape that makes some of the traditional protections for protecting data obsolete. Blockchain has the potential to have the greatest impact in 2020 as CIOs find an increasing number of use cases.
On the trends front, increasing concerns of the public with regard to ethics in business, including the ethical use of data. There’s growing discontent with long working hours and expectations of being ‘always available’ by employees. The lack of skills in IT will impact on organisations ability to exploit digital. CIOs are battling to control the new ‘legacy’ of SaaS explosion that has no integration to the organisation’s environment.
Dr Steve Hodgkinson, CIO, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
Agencies that have made the shift to public cloud service platforms and agile project approaches will continue to digitally out-perform those that persist with on-premise applications and waterfall project approaches. They will also find it easier to attract staff that are committed to delivering digital transformation outcomes.
A series of avoidable cyber security incidents will shine the light on systemic under-investment by smaller agencies in the pace of modernisation of their on-premise Infrastructure and applications. This will further emphasise the relative safety of the market-leading public cloud service platforms. Sub-scale, under-invested, ICT will increasingly be viewed by executive boards and audit and risk committees as indefensible and risky.
Further applications for AI to augment front-line service delivery will be successfully demonstrated - mainly using artificial agents and natural language processing and robotic process automation to augment services provided by biological humans. Robodebt will continue to cast a cautionary shadow over “look Ma, no hands!” initiatives that attempt to fully automate service delivery processes.
Mauro di Pietro Paolo, CIO, Foxtel
Voice Bots (and AI technology behind them), will have a greater visibility and will be used more widely for customer support. Autonomous cars will become a reality (even if most probably at the end of the year). 5G will start being adopted widely, especially in smart home devices.
David Wong, CIO, the National Library of Australia
Uptake of cloud services and machine learning will continue. As market offerings mature, the benefits touted years ago are more realisable. The National Library of Australia is prioritising getting better and more timely insights from data in 2020, to increase the reach and impact of our digital services.
Cybersecurity and escalating geopolitical threats will be a trend. Sovereignty and protecting national digital identity will impact the landscape, and national security agencies will have more influence as the integrity, authenticity and provenance of information become more important. With Westpac and the Royal Commissions in the headlines, trust in institutions and compliance, risk management and accountability will be hot topics. Government has a regulatory role, so will be grappling with how to deal with and manage unintended impacts of technology. And for their own initiatives, as government agencies are naturally risk averse, tension between not doing the wrong thing, and trying to do the right thing, will continue.
Damian Madden, general manager digital, The Woolmark Company
I see voice and AR as continuing to be the technologies with the greatest potential impact across a broad range of applications and businesses. The next generation see these technologies as the first step in engaging with a brand and, as such, it’s important to ensure you have a strategy in place to address them. However, their application shouldn’t be limited simply to marketing. You only need to look at the results a custom voice device like Robin Healthcare to see the potential IT/tech applications internally or within vertical.
I think the top trend will be an increase in candidates with a broader skillset. I think the top of the tree is full of people who come from harder tech/IT backgrounds, whereas the next generation are going to be coming from more diverse backgrounds like digital, branding etc
Garrett O’Hara, principal technical consultant, Mimecast
Organisations will continue to adopt defensive and proactive cybersecurity technologies, but will become stricter about the value these technologies/solutions deliver. With downward budget pressures, the cost and lack of cybersecurity professionals and the continued increase in the prevalence and sophistication of cyber-attacks, security leaders will choose technology stacks that work together for less reliance on humans.
We may see the emergence of good security as a competitive advantage, rather than purely a cost to business.
Technology and people will continue to be critical, with a refocus on the importance of good supporting processes. Deep-fake voice and video hacking are trends emerging now that are likely to increase significantly in 2020. These trends point to flaws within biometric screenings that can easily be exploited.
Organisations will be forced to use processes that remediate social engineering attacks - for example, calling a customer prior to emailing them (from the organisation’s publicly listed number) with a request or notification of financial details.
The deidentification of datasets - i.e. to prevent someone’s personal identity from being revealed - will increase in importance amid continuing privacy concerns. Regulatory pressures will also increase, which will see the emergence of new privacy regulations in countries that currently lack privacy security legislation.
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