As 2023 draws to a close, we’re working with our clients on the technology strategies that will define 2024 and beyond. It’s undoubtedly been a challenging year for many organisations, and for our clients in Industry, Property, and Manufacturing, we’ve seen some significant strides.
While this time of year is rife with predictions of the biggest trends for the year ahead, we wanted to offer more than just our take on technology trends for 2024. Instead, we wanted to offer some actionable takeaways that we’re seeing first hand for key decision-makers.
Organisations will embrace AI like never before
AI has been the buzzword of the year, and rightfully so. The Global AI Market is expected to grow by 37% annually from 2023 to 2030. AI’s integration into business and IT will revolutionise processes, especially in automation and, intriguingly, sustainability efforts (more on this point below).
Generative AI has so far been the most widely and rapidly adopted form of the technology. No surprise, given that most of us have at least dabbled with ChatGPT for tech, marketing, sales, or admin tasks. Although some companies took the decision to ban the use of generative AI at work because of data concerns, research tells us that employees will access these tools either way.
By implementing an AI adoption plan, organisations can control the narrative, ensuring that employees are trained on safely using these tools. Much like digital adoption, this will be the key to successfully integrating AI into a business to increase efficiencies across all teams.
Middleware on the rise
As the use of SaaS applications skyrockets – with average organisations now using in excess of 100 SaaS products (Better Cloud), and 78% of small businesses have invested in SaaS (Tech UK) – middleware becomes more crucial in keeping operations running smoothly. It’ll be the key to managing data from SaaS products (and, of course, with an AI component for good measure).
The misconception about data is that bigger is better, but as businesses collect more data than ever before, it’s now becoming a mammoth task to manage and leverage it. Between customer and operational data, organisations can easily experience information overload, especially without an effective solution to manage the flow of data and display it to users in a meaningful way.
Middleware does away with this risk by creating one source of truth. Combining data from your website, microservices, and third-party applications, middleware boosts operational performance and creates a uniform reporting structure across your organisation.
Organisations need to be greener
With ESG requirements becoming more stringent, companies should continue their efforts to become greener and more sustainable organisations. Some are even turning to AI (ironically) for compliance. Big names like Walmart, Google, and Microsoft are leading the way, using AI to significantly reduce their environmental impacts. The future is green, and AI is actually a big part of that on both sides of the fence.
But sustainability won’t just be fuelled by ESG requirements. According to Gartner, by 2027, 25% of CIOs will have compensation linked to their sustainable technology impact. This shift in the importance of sustainable technology and its direct impact on finances will likely have a ripple effect. Agencies and suppliers, for example, will now also have to look at their sustainability as companies will be evaluating their entire supply chain to identify where changes can be made to improve their own carbon footprint. In the coming years, this means that your own sustainability strategy will affect your chances of winning new clients, as a competitor could win out not on cost or expertise but based on their environmental credentials.
Cyber threats on the rise
Cyber threats are evolving, and so must our defences. The focus will be on protecting your digital estates, particularly cloud-based technology, from increasingly sophisticated attacks. As the complexity of these attacks continues to grow, so will their financial impact, with the cost of cybercrime expected to reach over $10 trillion by 2025. As the running theme throughout all of technology at the moment, it will come as no surprise that AI will play a big part in both cybercrime and cybersecurity as hackers and organisations look to bolster their efforts with the latest technologies.
Organisations must turn to more effective measures to deal with these cyber threats. This is where Continuous Thread Exposure Management (CTEM) programs come into play. They are a shift in strategy from reactive measures to proactive threat management through continuous monitoring, evaluation, and mitigation. CTEM allows organisations to be more agile with cybersecurity, consistently evaluating the most likely threats and prioritising exposure mitigation.
Navigating office returns
As the economic landscape shifts, there’s a growing conversation around the office. It isn’t just about cost-saving anymore; it’s about balancing productivity, team wellbeing, and culture. Companies must navigate this carefully, considering the impact on team dynamics and the potential benefits of in-person collaboration against economic challenges.
While two-thirds of CEOs anticipate a full-time return to the office, less than half of employees are happy about the idea. A return to the office cannot simply be about presenteeism in the workplace; it will need to focus on how office days will benefit individuals and the company. Simply being present in the physical space, with no clear purpose, is not enough. Businesses should assess what tasks and processes will benefit from in-person collaboration and focus on making these the focal point of office days, along with wellbeing and team-building initiatives. Employees should then be allowed to work wherever suits them best for the rest of their week.
Digital strategy is no longer an afterthought
Digital strategy isn’t just a part of business planning – it’s becoming the core for modern organisations. Success will hinge on how effectively companies can integrate digital technologies into ALL aspects of their operation. From customer engagement to internal processes, architecting a robust strategy will be key to staying competitive, driving innovation, and adapting to the rapidly changing business landscape.
A successful digital strategy will require several components in order to be effective in 2024. First and foremost, companies must prioritise agility and flexibility to navigate the constantly changing digital world. To gain any long-term value, organisations will also have to ensure that they consider the measurable impact of the technologies they integrate into their operations. There’s little sense in pouring all your budget into AI or machine learning if you haven’t clearly mapped out how these will benefit your business.
This is why our digital strategy services are often the first step in a larger journey for our clients, who understand that before you can integrate new technology into your business or build a digital product, you MUST have a clear strategy to retain your competitive edge and create measurable growth.
My summary reflects the trends we’re seeing as we approach 2024. The opportunities for growth, particularly in AI and sustainable practices, are immense. The time to invest in technology (and AI) is now!