Gartner has released its 10 top strategic technology trends that organizations need to explore in 2024. It’s not surprising that different types of AI are in the top three.
“For the past few years and through 2023, the number of organizations that started to work with AI has exploded. This is not expected to slow down,” said Gartner Vice President Analyst Bart Willemsen, in an email interview with TechRepublic.
Top strategic tech trends for 2024
Gartner’s top 10 strategic tech trends for 2024 are the following, in order of their ranking:
- Democratized generative AI.
- AI trust, risk and security management.
- AI-augmented development.
- Intelligent applications.
- Augmented-connected workforce.
- Machine customers.
- Continuous threat exposure management.
- Sustainable technology.
- Platform engineering.
- Industry cloud platforms.
Democratized generative AI
A trend Willemsen said organizations are currently prioritizing is democratized generative AI. This is defined as the confluence of massively pre-trained models, cloud computing and open source, and making these models accessible to workers worldwide, according to Gartner. By 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used GenAI APIs and models and/or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5% in early 2023, the firm predicts.
Many organizations are already working with AI, but it is trending because Gartner surveys this year “indicate that the hype brought by ChatGPT and other GenAI platforms causes 45% of respondents to increase their AI budgets,” Willemsen explained.
AI trust, risk and security management
To ensure the strength of these efforts, organizations must focus on proactive measures that will increase the chances of AI projects actually getting to production, Willemsen said. He advised that businesses adopt what Gartner refers to as “AI TRiSM,” a comprehensive AI trust, risk and security management program that helps integrate governance upfront, and proactively ensures AI systems are compliant, fair and reliable and protect data privacy.
This is “one of the trends that needs to be taken into account from the start when working with AI technology to escape the horrible numbers of past failures observed and to increase explainability, reliability, privacy and security in using it,” he said.
GenAI infuses some of the firm’s other trends as well, such as AI-augmented development, which organizations with large developer teams will prioritize, Willemsen said. By comparison, “others with complex working environments or considerable employee turnover will prioritize efforts towards an augmented connected workforce.”
AI-augmented development is the use of artificial intelligence technologies, such as GenAI and machine learning, to assist software engineers in designing, coding and testing applications, according to Gartner. AI-assisted software engineering allows software engineers to spend less time writing code.
These AI-infused development tools make it possible for software engineers to spend more time on more strategic activities, such as the design and composition of compelling business applications. This improves developer productivity and enables development teams to address the increasing demand for software to run the business, Gartner said.
Preparing for AI-augmented development means having “a straightforward view on where main bottlenecks exist in the development cycle that brings you almost immediate relief,” Willemsen noted. This can be to produce application code, translate legacy code to modern languages, enable design-to-code transformation and enhance application testing capabilities, he added.
“Let a select team of software engineers do most of the evaluation, testing and establishing – after all, they have to work with it,” he advised.
Continuous threat exposure management
Continuous threat exposure management is a systemic change in view that allows organizations to automate a cybersecurity validation approach, Willemsen said.
“Starting such an approach means to implement breach and attack simulation or automated penetration testing tools, and expand progressively to a workflow of systematically taking the attacker’s view to validate whether an attack would be successful,” he said.
By 2026, Gartner predicts that organizations prioritizing their security investments based on a CTEM program will realize a two-thirds reduction in breaches.
Machine customers, which are sometimes also referred to as “custobots,” are nonhuman economic actors that can autonomously negotiate and purchase goods and services in exchange for payment, according to Gartner.
By 2028, the firm predicts 15 billion connected products will exist with the potential to behave as customers, with billions more to follow in the years ahead.
“Exploiting the machine customer opportunity isn’t about technology or marketing,” Willemsen noted. “It’s a business opportunity that every executive should be involved in. All C-suite executives must decide where they fit in. Without that full team collaboration, progress will be partial, ineffectual and inconclusive.”
Gartner defines intelligent applications as those with learned adaptation to respond appropriately and autonomously to better augment or automate work. Intelligence in applications comprises various AI-based services such as machine learning, vector stores and connected data, Gartner said.
“A clear need and demand for intelligent applications exists,” the firm stated, noting that 26% of CEOs in Gartner’s 2023 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey cited the ongoing talent shortage as the most damaging risk for their organization. CEO respondents cited attracting and retaining talent as their top workforce priority, while they named AI as the technology that will most significantly impact their industries over the next three years.
The need to accelerate and scale talent is driving the trend toward an augmented-connected workforce, a strategy for optimizing the value derived from human workers. The ACWF uses intelligent applications and workforce analytics to support the workforce’s experience, well-being and ability to develop its own skills, according to Gartner. Concurrently, it drives business results.
Through 2027, 25% of CIOs will use augmented-connected workforce initiatives to reduce time to competency by 50% for key roles, the firm said.
Sustainable technology is a framework of digital offerings used to enable environmental, social and governance outcomes, according to Gartner. This is trending due to growing concerns about energy consumption from the use of technologies such as AI, cryptocurrency, the Internet of Things and cloud computing, and their impact on the environment.
There is good incentive to address this from an IT perspective: Gartner predicts that by 2027, 25% of CIOs will see their personal compensation linked to their sustainable technology impact.
Platform engineering refers to building and operating self-service internal development platforms that all have a layer, created and maintained by a dedicated product team. The platforms are designed to support the needs of their users by interfacing with tools and processes, Gartner said.
The goal of platform engineering is to optimize productivity, as well as the user experience, and accelerate the delivery of business value.
Industry cloud platforms
Industry cloud platforms address industry-specific business outcomes by combining underlying SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services into a whole product offering with composable capabilities, according to Gartner. The typical elements include an industry data fabric, a library of packaged business capabilities and composition tools.
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