Eric J. Feldman
The extended Upland Software team is back from an intense and all-encompassing week in Orlando, attending the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo.™ This event, called the “The World’s Most Important Gathering of CIOs and IT Executives”™ certainly lives up to its billing. There were over 9,000 attendees, at least half of whom were senior IT leaders from all over the world.
Keynotes at conferences of this size and scope often get the most attention, and this event was no different. Sessions by former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin L. Powell; bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell; and inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, each had thousands of people eager to hear their insights.
One session stood out to me. For several years, Gartner has published “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends,” which lists trends that could be disruptive and that are beginning to show signs of broader adoption and growth. These trends could have tipping points during the next five years.
Technology impacts everyone, and it is important to understand in which the direction different technologies are moving, as these trends can have profound impact on the culture, the economy, and our daily lives.
So, here are Gartner’s The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020:
Automation is now quite common, and it is becoming far more sophisticated. The growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning help augment people. Think of the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to help support human tasks.
According to Gartner, “Multiexperience replaces technology-literate people with people-literate technology.” This describes how people interact with the digital world. Think of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) as interaction model examples of multisensory or multimodal experiences.
3) Democratization of Expertise
A good term for this is “citizen access.” The ability to give people easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive or costly training. This could help create citizen data scientists, and citizen developers who leverage AI-driven tools to generate code. An example of a solution is Upland Enterprise Knowledge Management, which enables knowledge sharing across different departments within an organization by delivering the right answers to the right person at the right time.
4) Human Augmentation
This is all about using technology to enhance human’s cognitive and physical experiences. Human augmentation has been around a long time. For example, the first use of eyeglasses was over 700 years ago. Contemporary augmentation will take the form of implanted or wearable technology, such as the way automotive and mining industries use wearables to improve worker safety.
5) Transparency & Traceability
We are in a data-driven world, and no better example of this is the extent of our consumer and personal data that is online or vulnerable. The growth of legislation such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and consumer awareness have led to an increase in digital ethics and privacy needs and the regulatory framework to support them.
6) The Empowered Edge
You have probably heard the term “edge computing,” the architecture that brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed. The purpose is to reduce latency and provide greater autonomy. This becomes increasingly more important as we employ more complex edge devices (such as robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles).
7) Distributed Cloud
Like edge devices, distributed cloud is the distribution of public cloud services to locations anywhere outside the cloud provider’s physical data centers. The cloud provider keeps responsibility for all architecture, delivery, operations, governance, and updates. The goal is to improve performance and better align with local regulations.
8) Autonomous Things
We are rapidly moving to an autonomous world. What was once a novelty, like a self-operating vacuum, is rapidly growing to include everything from drones, cars, trucks, ships, and robots. All these things use AI to perform functions that humans previously controlled. Currently, however, these devices operate mostly in controlled environments such as warehouses, but they are quickly evolving to public spaces.
9) Practical Blockchain
Blockchain is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” It allows parties to safely interact in a digital environment and exchange value without the need for a centralized authority. While blockchain enterprise usage is currently immature, it can become transformative when technologies such as AI and IoT are integrated. This can expand blockchain participants to include machines, which will be able to exchange a variety of assets.
10) AI Security
Many of the evolving technologies referenced here are dependent upon AI. Increased use of the IoT, cloud computing, microservices, and highly connected systems create potential security vulnerabilities and points of attack. Security teams need to focus on three key areas — protecting AI-powered systems, leveraging AI to enhance security defenses, and anticipating dangerous use of AI by attackers.
As trends go, there may be considerable lag time between announcing a new technology and when it goes into the early adopter stage and finally into common usage. It may be interesting to revisit this list in 2020 to see if these 10 are really developing into trends or will require more time for technical advances and cultural acceptance.
Many of the top 10 technology trends listed here will be adopted across an enterprise with the oversight of the project management office (PMO). To be successful, project managers need to stay on the path of best practices. The challenge, however, is that many organizations practice what we call the “7 Deadly Sins of Project and Portfolio Management” – those bad habits and worst practices that must be avoided.
Want to learn about how to keep your project management office from turning into a bottomless pit of cost overruns, deadline despair and resource allocation anguish? Be sure to read our eBook “7 Deadly Sins of Project and Portfolio Management” today!