Major tech trends to monitor in the new year

We're just a few weeks into the new year now, and while chances are good that more than a few resolutions have likely already been cast aside, major trends in multiple facets of the business world are just starting to take shape, as numerous organizations look to make significant marks on 2019. It practically goes without saying that technology is central to many aspects of operations, and if anything its necessity will only increase in this new year (and the foreseeable future).

Regardless of the specific industries to which their companies belong, business leaders worldwide need their organizations to be fully up to date with tech trends – and, wherever possible, be ahead of the curve in adopting effective new methods. Implementing new tech may require a shake-up or expansion of IT departments. The services of a seasoned staffing agency can be valuable when looking to secure the best IT talent, but before doing so, company executives should familiarize themselves with what's moving and shaking in tech, so they know exactly what skills to require in job listings.

New driving factors behind service-based IT use 

Paul Sallomi, vice chairman of U.S. and global technology, media and telecommunications for Deloitte, predicted in the research and consultancy firm's 2019 Technology Industry Outlook that businesses' motivations for the application of service-based IT platforms are likely to change in coming years. Specifically, instead of relying on pay-as-you-go software as a service systems to save money, companies are more likely to be driven by a desire for increased agility in their cloud offerings, and thus a greater capacity for client satisfaction. This is prompting a move toward the more frequent use of "everything as a service" (or XaaS) platforms by a considerable number of businesses. 

The desire to leverage artificial intelligence more effectively – a priority that has developed considerable influence over many technology-related decisions in recent years – is also fueling cloud adoption trends and practices. According to Sallomi's analysis, major software vendors aim to meet this demand in 2019 and beyond by developing AI-enhanced XaaS platforms on an unprecedented and colossal scale for the mass market.

Continued expansion of blockchain 

Excitement over blockchain has leveled off somewhat during the past year or so, resulting in part from a perception that it had been over-hyped. Additionally, as noted by Forbes contributing author Oliver Bussmann, unclear expectations regarding the future of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – for which blockchain serves as the algorithmic core – prompted some overall skittishness about the technology. However, experts believe that the potential and breadth of applications for blockchain remais considerable for 2019 and beyond

As one indicator of blockchain's expanding possibilities, Bussman pointed out that decentralized peer-to-peer transactions (either of monetary assets or data) are poised to become more prevalent on both a B2B and B2C level. Essentially, these decentralized models could allow a more direct path from vendor to customer – they would be B2B2C, in Bussmann's words. The development of specialized security tokens could also provide a more effective avenue for initial public offerings to be conducted via blockchain, but these tools are still in the early stages of development. Other than asset management, further blockchain applications might extend to functions such as land registry, voting, the safe transference of medical data and much more. 

Avoiding impediments to tech advances  

Cybersecurity will always be an issue affecting the businesses that look to keep themselves abreast with technological developments – it doesn't take long for malicious actors to start seeking vulnerabilities to exploit after the release of a new software platform or network. The Identity Theft Resource Center's records of data breaches in December 2018 alone exemplify this: A total of 89 individual breaches affected both private and public sector organizations, resulting in 945,735 records being compromised. And this is just a fraction of the hacking incidents and data breaches that occur on an annual basis. Businesses must be sure to adopt cybersecurity countermeasures that are appropriately versatile to prevent the infiltration of AI and cloud platforms.

On a less drastic but ultimately no less serious front, organizations need to take a long look at the overall state of their data across departments: Is it siloed, or can it flow freely through the company's space in the cloud? Any existing data silos must be discovered and properly addressed before adopting tech innovations. According to Deloitte, chief data officers are an increasingly essential part of the C-suite, so businesses looking to reinforce their IT staff should take a CDO hire into consideration as well, so that the entire workforce is appropriately skilled in the use of the latest technologies.