For many IT teams, 2023 is looking to be a year of daunting challenges.
With fears of economic slowdown and recession, budgets are likely to be constrained as executives ask IT teams to do more with less. IT operations and management teams will not only have to "keep the lights on" and maintain operations but do so in a more optimized way than ever before. Few organizations, even with constrained budgets, will want to just maintain operations, as there is a need to continually develop new services as well.
In light of the challenges, there are a few emerging key trends that are likely to be a big help to IT operations and management in 2023.
Platform Engineering Adoption Set to Grow
What Is It? Platform engineering is an evolution of DevOps, where a platform team builds and manages the infrastructure, services, and applications in a repeatable approach.
Why Are People Paying Attention to It Now? With IT staff at a premium, the need to have common platforms that can be easily used by applications and operations teams is paramount. The high priority that organizations place on platform engineering first became apparent in 2021, when the job of platform engineer topped the list as the highest paid DevOps-related position. Hashicorp reported in June 2022 that the emergence of platform engineering teams is helping to drive cloud adoption. It's a need that has only grown and will continue to be a top position in 2023.
Who Benefits From It? Platform engineering will benefit both application development teams and business users who are just looking for easy-to-use services.
"Traditionally, IT has dictated from the top down which tools the organization will use for development," Bernard Sanders, co-founder of CloudBolt Software, said. "Now, through platform engineering, IT and developers will come closer together, both as a new collaborative framework and an evolved toolset."
Sanders expects platform engineering to lead to the rise of frictionless self-service developer portals where developers will spend less time on infrastructure tasks and more time on creating applications, adding accelerated value for their organizations.
Where Can You Get It? Platform engineering isn't one specific product or service; it's more of a disciplined approach to building an infrastructure services stack. That said, a number of technologies support platform engineering efforts, including infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools from Pulumi and Hashicorp, as well as coding tools from GitHub and Gitlab.
More Automation, Anywhere and Everywhere
What Is It? Automation is removing the need for repetitive human interaction to do mundane and repeatable IT tasks.
Why Are People Paying Attention to It Now? Employees of all types, including IT operations and development teams, are overburdened more than ever. Multiple reports that came out in 2022 highlighted the need for more automation.
"To make [skilled workers] happy, enterprises must get rid of redundant and time-consuming tasks, leveraging capabilities such as automation and AI-assisted decision-making, which will be critical in maintaining and even increasing productivity with a smaller workforce."
— Peter Kreslins, CTO, Digibee
Who Benefits From It? Automation helps businesses of all sizes be more efficient, and it can also help retain skilled staff.
Retaining skilled workers in 2023 will be difficult, perhaps as difficult as it was to hire them, according to Peter Kreslins, CTO of Digibee, which develops a low-code enterprise integration platform.
In his view, skilled workers derive value and satisfaction from the work they do. "To make these hires happy, enterprises must get rid of redundant and time-consuming tasks, leveraging capabilities such as automation and AI-assisted decision-making, which will be critical in maintaining and even increasing productivity with a smaller workforce," Kreslins said.
Where Can You Get It? All manner of IT tools enable automation in different ways, with larger ITOps platforms increasingly including integrated automation capabilities. AIOps capabilities, which use artificial intelligence to improve operations, is another way for organizations to benefit from automation.
IT Service and Operations Management Converge
What Is It? Historically, IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM) have been two distinct areas. ITOM is about the day-to-day operations of IT infrastructure, while ITSM is concerned about service delivery. A growing trend that will continue in 2023 is a convergence between ITSM and ITOM, creating a new type of unified platform.
"2023 will be the year of convergence — where the markets are colliding," said Sree Subramaniam, senior director of inbound product management, ITOM, at ServiceNow. "Currently, an ITSM and ITOM product line of business convergence is being witnessed. In the coming year, digital experience management blended with help desk functions like remote assistance will converge with service management."
Why Are People Paying Attention to It Now? With a need to do more with less in the current economic climate, organizations are looking to combine capabilities to maximize efficiency.
Who Benefits From It? Combining ITOM and ITSM benefits the bottom line of organizations that want to run fewer disparate technology platforms to manage operations and services.
Where Can You Get It? The trend of converged ITSM and ITOM is still fairly new, though capabilities can be found already in platforms from ServiceNow, PagerDuty, and BMC, with more likely to be announced during 2023.
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.