As the world moves into a potential economic downturn, technology leaders must help their organizations adapt through emerging technologies while building a protective layer against the risks posed. To prepare technology leaders for what's to come in 2023, global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has released its annual technology report. The 2023 Tech Trends report reveals seven data-driven trends and findings based on insights from IT professionals, analysts, and industry experts.
"Last year's Tech Trends report focused on the capabilities organizations would need to compete in a digital economy," says Brian Jackson, research director and one of the principal research leads for the report. "The 2023 Tech Trends report considers how technology leaders can explore new technologies while protecting the organization from the risks posed. Our research insights expand on the previous year's trends, focusing on how IT can enhance existing capabilities and create new ones while simultaneously considering the volatility of a world dealing with several major crises."
The report's survey received 813 responses from industry professionals, with over 90% of respondents working in IT departments. The underlying metrics for the 2023 report are diverse, with insights from 16 countries and regions, including the U.S., Canada, and Australia, as well as 15 industries, such as government, professional services, manufacturing, education, healthcare, financial services, telecom, and retail.
"Like a chess grandmaster, CIOs will need to play both sides of the board in 2023," says Jackson. "Emerging technologies present opportunities to attack, while protecting from a volatile board state is a requirement."
The survey findings, coupled with exclusive analyst research and expert perspectives, are representative of the wider market and will help to shape CIOs' digital strategic projects for 2023.
Generative AI is a type of semi-supervised machine learning that uses neural networks to create new content or interpret complex signal information. By being trained with a large amount of content, models can be made to generate new works like what people would create.
According to Info-Tech's survey and research, AI will receive the most net-new investment by organizations by the end of 2023, with 35% of organizations indicating they have already invested in it and 44% planning to invest next year. With a 9% change between committed and planned investment, AI leads all technologies, followed by data lake at 5% and data mesh at 5%.
Marketing pitches and media headlines have left IT leaders wondering if they should be running a proof of concept on VR collaboration in 2023 or perhaps staking a claim to virtual real estate. Info-Tech views the metaverse as a convergence of mixed reality, artificial intelligence, immersive digital space, and real-time communications that stack together to create metaverse experiences.
The metaverse as a solution to hybrid work is still a far-off concept for most firms, with 63% of organizations having no plans to collaborate in virtual reality, such as using headsets that block out the real world. Only one-quarter of firms are conducting a proof of concept or planning to do so. Slightly more than one in ten say they are either scaling up or already seeing widespread organizational adoption.
The promises of big data have been a significant focus for the entire 21st century, giving rise to an industry of data collection and analytics services. After AI, the two technologies gaining the most momentum in new investment this year are data lake or lakehouse and data fabric or mesh, with both seeing a 5% increase in the number of organizations planning to invest in 2023. These platforms facilitate better access to enterprise data and enable real-time reporting.
According to the survey, most organizations will look to develop their own data analysis, with 41% building their own data analysis with in-house staff and another 28% both building and buying tools to support analysis. Although organizations want to put their own industry expertise to work in designing analytics, building the tools themselves will likely lead to a missed opportunity to gain the best-in-class approaches honed by technology vendors. IT leaders should keep this in mind when considering where to spend resources in 2023.
Organizations are still investing in digitalizing tasks and processes. They have also learned that digital transformation doesn't have a definite final state but is instead an evolutionary process without an end.
Based on survey data, more companies may now be through the initial rush of digitalization and into the next phase of sustaining their efforts. For example, last year, more organizations (eight in 10) indicated they'd digitalized over 20% of their processes. In this year's survey, the number is down, with seven in 10 respondents saying they digitalized between 0% and 20% of their processes in the past year.
Effort will be required to sustain momentum, as will new tools and ways of working.
In 2023, it is expected that public companies will be required to report on their carbon emissions by financial regulators in places like the EU, U.K., U.S., and Canada. However, many organizations are still behind on this issue even though various regulators around the world are either implementing those reporting requirements or moving closer to doing so.
Less than one-quarter of IT professionals say their organization can accurately report on the impact of its ESG initiatives, and 43% say their reporting on impacts is inaccurate. Reporting accuracy was even worse for reporting on carbon footprint, with 46% saying their organization could not accurately report its carbon footprint. IT leaders will need to improve on this front to be compliant.
Zero trust means full access at the bare minimum. This approach is especially important as we come off a series of software supply chain attacks over the past couple of years.
Slightly more than half of the respondents said it was likely or very likely that a cybersecurity incident would disrupt their business in 2023. Disruption from new government-enacted security regulations was the next most common concern, with 40% saying it was likely or very likely to disrupt business.
As attacks increase in frequency and impact, organizations are turning to the concept of a zero-trust network to defend against threat vectors.
In addition to the new technologies that could yield innovation and all the subsequent risks that IT must work to mitigate, a financial risk to the IT budget looms for 2023. This risk reduces the degree to which IT can pursue growth opportunities and offer protection from regulatory burdens and bad actors.
Despite the negative signals, most IT professionals expect their budgets will increase in 2023. Fifty-five percent of respondents anticipate a bigger budget next year; 28% expect an increase between 6% and 15%, and another 8% expect an increase between 16% and 30%. Interestingly, IT professionals in the U.S. are more optimistic than their international counterparts, as 70% expect a budget increase in 2023 compared to 55% for the global average.
The 2023 Tech Trends report also includes insights in the form of case studies from technology experts at organizations such as Cisco, Walmart Canada, Glitch Goods, the Children's Specialized Hospital, Albemarle Corp, and Edgeless Systems.
This trends report will inform the firm's next major industry release, the upcoming CIO Priorities 2023 report. This resource, set to be published in early 2023, will take a deeper dive into the recommended capabilities that will help organizations respond to each emerging trend.
Download and read the full 2023 Tech Trends Report for more insights for the year ahead.