Five Predictions around Digital Disruption for 2018

Carmen Carey, CEO, Apica Systems
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With the start of 2018, organizations are anticipating what the new year will bring in terms of digital developments, growing trends – and surprises. As technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) become ever more dominant, what’s next? Here’s how I see 2018 shaping—or being ‘shaken—up:’

The role of the CIO and other C-Suite roles will evolve

Specific technical roles, such as software testing, have historically sat in the realm of the IT department only. However, with digital transformation underway in most enterprises in 2018— not to mention the explosion of IoT devices and the data derived from them—focus will be shifted to the quality of applications as well as customer experience overall.

Consequently, traditional IT functions such as testing and monitoring will have higher visibility on the CIO’s agenda, and will be important for the rest of the C-Suite as well. This will result in a more rounded team for IT operations, with team members contributing from different departments within the organization.

Outages and poor user experience will affect the bottom line

In 2017, many organizations experienced significant outages—including Amazon AWS, WhatsApp, Ryanair, Virgin Money Giving, and Lowes—with very real business results. The importance of creating a great UX experience has never been greater, and to be able to do so, all businesses need to get a grip on performance issues.

Looking ahead to the new year, businesses will need to address the overall quality of their services to survive in an increasingly saturated landscape. As a result, we’ll see a shifted focus in monitoring customer experience as well as need for extensive end-to-end testing embedded within delivery lifecycles.

Although some organisations are leading the way in terms of ensuring optimal user experience, for example through ongoing monitoring and effective testing of their websites and applications, many are still disproportionally focused on factors such as speed instead of quality, security and resilience.

Differentiation of services will help set organizations apart

How will consumers decide where to spend their money if 2018 sees all vendors offering similar capabilities? To ensure differentiation of services, organizations will need to address availability, ease of use and consistently deliver a high-quality experience.

We rely heavily on IoT devices, their data and management. This will fuel increasing demand for high availability of the API services that these devices interact with. Monitoring the availability of these APIs will be critical to ensuring companies can continue to run (particularly manufacturers), as well as to guarantee the trustworthiness of business intelligence data.

AI will present more opportunities

Although AI has been a buzzword for years, I believe in 2018, we will see enterprises capitalize on the opportunities that artificial intelligence presents, and machine learning will become more mainstream. If organizations haven’t begun utilizing these technologies already, they will soon wake up to their essential role in gaining a better understanding of their data.

It’s often difficult to see the physical manifestation of concepts such as AI, but we can look to physical, ‘intelligent’ objects or things to bridge that gap. Previously in the world of IoT, connected devices sent data for limited processing. Today, machine learning enables devices to transform that same data into actionable insight, and real-time feedback looks set to change the behavior of our IoT devices for good.

With increasing adoption, businesses will face challenges: new ways of testing and validating the results from AI need to be sourced, and embed it within development lifecycles.

We look forward to an exciting year of digital developments—and disruption— in 2018. Here’s to a successful new year!

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