In the land of enterprise IT, the major shifts that challenge leaders begin to show up gradually — then all at once.
Analysts and industry watchers typically flag bleeding edge technology services or rising market trends ahead of their full-fledged development, giving technology leaders a chance to prepare for what's coming. Timely adoption of those technologies can be elusive.
CIOs’ decisions could make or break companies in a year that forecasters expect will bring economic challenges.
From selecting new technologies to attracting enough tech workers or executing wider transformation, technology leaders must strive to assess the top IT trends and act on them accordingly.
Here are five predictions to watch in 2023 and beyond:
Shortages in critical skills will limit the benefits from IT investments.
With layoff news once again making headlines in the new year, it's easy to think the talent constraints of the past may ease as workers look for new opportunities.
The catch for business leaders is that new needs are growing alongside the evolution of technology.
"We're in this period where the ability to deliver innovation has outpaced the ability to retrain or train or find new people with the new skills … to take full advantage of it," said Rick Villars, group VP, Worldwide Research at IDC. "The skills issue isn't that we're not just training enough IT staff. The challenge is we're creating new skills requirements and it's taking time to fill them."
AI will receive the most net-new investment by organizations by the end of 2023.
A review of technology investment categories for 2023 shows 44% of companies plan to invest in AI next year, according to Info-Tech Research Group data. The category shows the greatest growth between companies with past investments in AI and those with plans to invest.
"Almost every organization by next year will be investing in some sort of AI capabilities, whether they're using them or not, because their software vendors are going to be pushing them to," said Brian Jackson, principal research director at Info-Tech Research Group.
AI constitutes the biggest growth area of software investment, Jackson said. Among the new categories of software that enterprises are adopting, "everything is AI-enhanced now."
One-quarter of companies will deliver data products in 2023.
More and better data capabilities internally mean companies will be able to translate information into results. But the effectiveness and production of those data products will depend on strategies previously rolled out.
"You really need to make sure that you've got your base data that's fit for reuse and delivery through data quality and data governance efforts as a whole," said Kim Herrington, senior analyst at Forrester.
This projection is part of a broader shift the firm is forecasting for enterprise data capabilities. By 2030, Forrester expects collaboration between DataOps, MLOps, governance, analytics and application developers will take place through a single pane of glass.
A recalibration of enterprise strategy will drive 15% growth in IT investment next year.
Despite macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns still playing out, IT investments remain a priority for enterprise leaders in 2023.
"I do think that there will be targeted spend around things like modernization, which is a big focus for organizations, but also supporting their workforce as they think about their hybrid working environment," said Bola Rotibi, chief of enterprise research at CCS Insight.
Data literacy will become an explicit and necessary driver of business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.
Gartner defines data literacy as the ability to read, write and communicate data in context — and the firm expects it to play a key role in enterprise data and analytics strategies this year.
"A data-literate workforce is central to an effective D&A program and critical to driving measurable business outcomes," said Gartner Analysts Sumit Agarwal and Joe Antelmi in a report. "With the expansion of self-service analytics initiatives, business teams are empowered to analyze data and generate insights."