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With the first month of 2023 under our belts, it is clear that the technology landscape will continue to evolve at a fast pace in the year ahead. For IT and technology leaders, staying one step ahead of the latest developments, and making strategic decisions for the years – rather than months- ahead will set them apart and deliver competitive advantage. So, what are the big themes that will come to dominate the coming year, and what impact will they have on businesses and technology leaders alike?
1) Invest smarter in cyber security
For many, especially in data intensive and high regulated industries such as financial services, cybersecurity remains the top threat, and the costliest focus in technology strategies and budgets for the year ahead. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, we must work smarter, rather than hard to keep ahead. With these changes, we must adapt how we approach the assessment of the cyber risk facing our businesses – breaking away from the traditional qualitative probability and impact assessment models where it’s difficult to prioritise as everything comes out high probability, high impact, to quantitative models looking at data to predict the risk exposure of potential cyber breaches to determine where best to allocate investment on protection measures.
This is an area where AI and machine learning can help to inform your spend using threat intelligence and historic data to model risk exposure. For example, while a state-backed or malicious hack may have a huge impact, the risk exposure financial value is lower due to likelihood of occurrence. Instead, the risk of data loss or vulnerability to ransomware via misconfigured devices such as phones and laptops is more likely to occur, with significant impact on your business and reputation. Similarly, phishing has become a daily recurrence, increasing the risk exposure to this high frequency, medium impact cyber risk.
2) Integrating systems of data governance
The governance, protection and understanding of data continues to be more important than ever in 2023. Good governance is underpinned by understanding what data your business holds, how it is managed and any potential gaps or quality issues in that data. The recoverability of data after a potential loss is another key area of focus for business
leaders, to ensure the resilience of the data as well as systems and processes which underpin mission critical activities supporting the business to function.
The integration of data systems will become even more essential this year, to form a hybrid ecosystem of across internal and external data centres and cloud solutions to capture, control and manage data. In a challenging macroeconomic climate, the businesses which will set themselves apart are those which can harness their data to deliver real time analytics and monetize that information for commercial benefit and competitive advantage.
3) ESG takes root in IT
In 2022 it became clear that ESG was no passing trend and is a consideration that is here to stay – across all corporate functions, including the IT team. In 2023, we are seeing ESG become fully integrated in IT supply chains and vendor selection and management frameworks. First and foremost, the “E”, means that buyers of hardware, software, cloud and data center solutions are more focussed than ever on the environmental impact of their buying behaviours. The power consumption in the creation and running of these products and services is perhaps the most easily quantified element of ESG which we can calculate. Secondly, is the ethics of supply chains, the “S”, including ensuring that ethical business practices such as fair pay and working conditions, particularly in lower cost centers are met, globally. What is more, 2022 exposed the potential impact of geopolitical risk, with the war in Ukraine demonstrating vulnerability in some vendors’ reliance on the country.
4) Survival of the most agile
If the last three years have taught us anything – between global pandemics, geopolitical upheaval and energy crises – it is that only the most agile and flexible businesses can survive and thrive. The constant pressures on established IT operating models and stress tests of even the most comprehensive technology-enabled business continuity plans means flexibility and adaptability will continue to be prized qualities.
This year, we anticipate that the ability to adapt and pivot to meet the needs of clients or consumers will be paramount. A key enabler of this capacity for swift change is the use of automation by technology leaders to streamline manual processes, take the burden of repetitive tasks off their team, and embed efficiency.
5) Recycling existing solutions
Not another call for ESG, but instead a focus on recycling, repurposing and optimizing the existing solutions available to your business. Instead of buying new solutions, we believe
that this year we will see businesses look to build their own end to end processes and systems, with custom workflow integrations.
The businesses who will get themselves apart are those who develop proprietary solutions, in-house on their own platforms, which can be monetized and generate revenue for the business, not just in 2023, but in years to come.