Gartner on Oct. 16 announced its list of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2024 at its Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando, Florida.
What makes these trends strategic for 2024 is that they are essential in addressing technological disruptions and socioeconomic uncertainties, according to Bart Willemsen, VP analyst at Gartner, adding that IT leaders play a critical role in strategically leveraging technology investments to ensure business success during these uncertain times.
Evaluating the impacts and benefits of these trends is challenging due to the rapid pace of technological innovation, said Chris Howard, distinguished VP Analyst and chief of research at Gartner. "For example, generative and other types of AI offer new opportunities and drive several trends. But deriving business value from the durable use of AI requires a disciplined approach to widespread adoption along with attention to the risks," Howard said in a statement.
All 10 trends were selected for their relevance, impact, actionability, and organizational benefits, Willemsen told ITPro Today. "Democratized generative AI is nonetheless one that causes major changes and opportunities today and drives several other trends in part as well. The widespread accessibility facilitates disruption at scale," he said. "Yet, all AI usage inherently comes with specific risks, and to sustain the perceived benefits, AI Trust, Risk and Security Management [TRiSM] is invaluable to make the value increase and positive impact stick."
Here are Gartner's top 10 strategic technology trends for 2024:
1. Democratized Generative AI
It's no surprise that generative AI — let alone democratized GenAI — made the list of tech trends to watch for 2024. Consider this Gartner prediction: By 2026, more than 80% of organizations will be using generative AI APIs and models and/or GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, a jump from less than 5% early 2023.
The reason for this jump is threefold, according to Gartner:
- Thanks to GenAI applications, users will gain access to vast amounts of information.
- GenAI adoption will significantly democratize knowledge and skills.
- Large language models (LLMs) will enable enterprises to connect their workers with knowledge in a conversational style.
2. AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management
Hower, there are downsides to the democratization of AI access that could outweigh the benefits, so will also be an urgent need for AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (TRiSM) in 2024.
Gartner forecasts that by 2026, enterprises implementing AI TRiSM controls will significantly enhance decision-making accuracy by eliminating up to 80% of illegitimate information.
3. AI-Augmented Development
AI-augmented development is the use of AI technologies to help software engineers design, code, and test applications. AI-assisted software development tools improve developer productivity, freeing them up to spend more time creating impactful business applications.
4. Intelligent Applications
An intelligent application, as the name implies, has as a capability intelligence — which Gartner defines as "learned adaptation to respond appropriately and autonomously." Intelligent applications use various AI-based services to better augment or automate work and deliver experiences that dynamically adapt to the individual user.
5. Augmented-Connected Workforce
The 2023 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey found that 26% of CEOs believe the most damaging risk for their organization is the talent shortage, and so attracting and retaining talent is their top workforce priority. Another tactic is to get more out of their current staff without overtaxing them. To maximize the value of their employees, more organizations will implement the augmented-connected workforce (ACWF) strategy.
ACWF leverages intelligent applications (see trend No. 4) and workforce analytics to offer context and guidance, enhancing the workforce's well-being, skill development, and overall experience. According to Gartner, through 2027, one-quarter of CIOs will use ACWF initiatives to reduce time to competency by 50% for key roles.
6. Continuous Threat Exposure Management
Continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) is a systemic approach for organizations to continually and consistently evaluate the accessibility, exposure, and exploitability of their digital and physical assets. Instead of focusing on infrastructure, CTEM aligns assessments and remediation efforts with threat vectors or business projects, uncovering vulnerabilities and even unpatchable threats. Gartner predicts that by 2026, organizations that prioritize their security investments based on a CTEM program will
7. Machine Customers
Gartner defines a machine customer (also called a "custobot") as "as a nonhuman economic actor that obtains goods or services in exchange for payment." By 2028, there will be around 15 billion connected products with the potential to act as customers, eventually becoming more significant than the arrival of digital commerce.
"Machine customers will most certainly generate trillions in revenue within this decade, with considerable impact on brick-and-mortar storefronts, supply chains, and value creation stories worldwide," Willemsen said.
Organizations should consider strategic opportunities to either support these algorithms and devices or create new custobots, according to Gartner.
8. Sustainable Technology
Sustainable technology encompasses digital solutions aimed at promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives, with a focus on long-term ecological balance and human rights. There's a growing emphasis on making IT usage more efficient and sustainable. Because of this concern, Gartner predicts that by 2027, 25% of CIOs will have their personal compensation tied to their impact on sustainable technology.
"Eighty percent of CIOs play a role in supporting their enterprise's sustainability strategy, and Gartner inquiries show that responsibilities increasingly are being cascaded down to infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders to improve IT's environmental performance, particularly around data centers (including colocation, edge, and cloud)," Willemsen said. "CIOs and I&O leaders have the most opportunity to improve aspects like resource efficiency, innovation/new products, cost reduction, and improved risk mitigation outcomes."
Willemsen added that the compensation link is primarily driven by two forces: the opportunity to improve competitive position and the much more urgent driver of emerging regulation, with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) taking effect in the EU in 2025. "It's expected to get more aggressive and extend to all companies who have even a small amount of business in the EU (in or maybe before 2027), which will have global ramifications," he said.
9. Platform Engineering
The primary objective of platform engineering, which involves the creation and maintenance of self-service internal development platforms, is to enhance productivity and user experiences while expediting the delivery of business value.
"Platform engineering is not just a skillset for a single individual in a specific role. Instead, this is a team effort, where there at minimum is room for a clear focus on delivering a specific product — which can be a platform for developers," Willemsen said. "To help users and reduce friction, companies have begun building platforms that sit between the user and the underlying services or platforms on which they rely. A platform team creates and maintains the platforms. Platform engineers build common capabilities into a shared service so users don’t have to build out their own operating environments."
10. Industry Cloud Platforms
Gartner forecasts that by 2027, more than 70% of enterprises will adopt industry cloud platforms (ICPs) to expedite their business projects, a significant increase from the less than 15% this year. ICPs are customizable cloud solutions designed for specific industries and can be further tailored to meet the needs of individual organizations.
About the authorRick Dagley is senior editor at ITPro Today, covering IT operations and management, cloud computing, edge computing, software development and IT careers. Previously, he was a longtime editor at PCWeek/eWEEK, with stints at Computer Design and Telecommunications magazines before that.