CIOs face several specific, pivotal decisions this year — including the three non-negotiable trends, discussed below, shaping IT strategy right now. From the ascent of platform engineering to operationalizing AI, these trends should demand the immediate attention of every CIO, if they haven't already.
1) Platform engineering and internal developer platforms will allow CIOs to access transformative application development efficiency.
CIOs will increasingly look toward platform engineering strategies in 2024 — introducing internal developer platforms (IDPs) that streamline development and operational efficiency while equipping teams to deliver highly scalable, reliable, secure, and compliant applications. Crucially, CIOs should examine the many merits of utilizing an open source strategy to implement their organization's IDP. The core goals of an IDP implementation include empowering developers with the self-service tooling they require to shift application delivery into high gear and significantly boost time-to-value. Open source technologies directly facilitate the pursuit of those goals (while keeping costs much lower).
CIOs' DevOps teams, backed by open source portability, can ensure the same developer experience regardless of which cloud or other underlying infrastructure developers are working with. A well-planned open source strategy can similarly guarantee enterprise-grade security and the versatile pluggability to utilize whatever code best serves application requirements (with no proprietary vendor roadblocks). CIOs who opt for open source software-based IDPs will also earn themselves a leg up in the competition for development talent — since expertise in open source software is more plentiful and recruits are most eager to work with open source projects.
2) CIOs will make great strides in *operationalizing* AI.
CIOs should expect the rapid acceleration in the pace of AI/ML advancements to put AIOps within reach as soon as this year. Maturing AI deployments will demonstrate the full reliability, scalability, and security features required for primetime enterprise execution. For CIOs, the potential benefits are myriad. Improved training sets (many that will increasingly be open-sourced) will support more accurate ML-driven decision-making when it comes to automating database management and operations, enabling predictive remediation, and more. These changes will transform the capabilities and efficiency of data and analytics professionals by unleashing AI automation in full force.
At the same time, the dawn of this "Data 4.0" era will press CIOs to harness the unprecedented wealth of customer and operational insights unlocked by new AI/ML and data science capabilities. CIOs leading legacy enterprise environments will need to navigate (and accelerate) digital transformations to maintain their competitiveness via these technologies. In contrast, CIOs at newer and more agile organizations should be making the most of AI/ML and generative AI-powered analytics and insights tooling from the start.
These moves will enable the data-driven decisions to outmaneuver market competitors that have yet to bring their AI utilization up to speed. A clear line of differentiation will be drawn in 2024 between those enterprises with CIOs who have made bold bets on AI/ML insights and cultivated that technology to bear its valuable fruits and those that face withering prospects because they lacked that leadership.
3) Cloud portability will free CIOs to utilize optimal infrastructure and eliminate lock-in.
CIOs who take steps to achieve cloud portability in 2024 will reap substantial dividends, enabling their organizations to operate applications and workloads seamlessly across any of the major cloud hyperscalers, private clouds, or in their own on-prem environments. Getting this right means flexibly harnessing the most powerful and beneficial infrastructure (including enterprise-grade open source technologies) for just about every use case. It also means — importantly — that CIOs can fully avoid vendor lock-in, keeping many more options available with which enterprises can determine their own futures free of the whim of any single cloud provider.
Relatedly, CIOs at enterprises in need of additional expertise to build hybrid multi-cloud data platforms will tap proven cloud operations service providers to stand up solutions with the speed, efficiency, and security they require. CIOs who grant their enterprises versatility in managing unified data seamlessly across clouds will leave their organizations spoiled for choice in 2024 — and be capable of utilizing the optimal infrastructures for their needs and delivering maximized availability, scalability, and flexibility as a result.
For many, open source will tie these trends together
While CIOs are already well-versed in the pace of innovation and development enabled by mature and community-supported open source technologies, they may be surprised to see the longstanding trend of enterprise open source adoption ramp up even more in 2024. As a through line to the technologies named above that CIOs should have an eye on (if not strategies already prepared) — from IDPs to AIOps, AI/ML, and cloud portability — open source technologies will offer advantageous entry points for CIOs to explore going forward.
About the author:
Pete Lilley is the Vice President and General Manager at Instaclustr, part of NetApp. Previously, he was a co-founder at Stratsec, the security consulting and testing firm acquired by BAE Systems. Pete also actively invests in technology startups.