What will the world of enterprise technology look like a year from now? When we look back on the year 2019, will the new business trends that are shaping enterprise IT today still be prevalent, or will organizations everywhere be trying to solve some new challenge that had been simmering under the surface?
With enterprises shifting focus on their ecosystems – and how organizations will deliberately enable their ecosystems to drive new value from relationships with customers, partners, and partners’ customers – it’s a new dawn for connectedness and integration. So here are a few of the new business trends (and new trends in technology) on the horizon in 2019.
1. Blockchain's Growing Impact on the Ecosystem
Blockchains extend your ecosystem, and as cryptocurrency technologies gain more and more steam, blockchain will continue to be the fundamental technology that powers them. Blockchain enables the social portions within your enterprise by creating an environment where different business partners no longer have to formally interact in order to decide on engagement rules, service levels, and practices around non-repudiation and error resolution.
The promise of blockchain is that your ecosystem will become bigger, faster, and more dynamic. Over the course of 2019, enterprises that haven’t yet recognized the importance of ecosystem enablement must readjust their way of thinking or risk getting left behind by competitors. It must become one of the top priorities for every enterprise. In 2019, expect more grocery giants to mandate the use of blockchain in their supply chain, much in the same way that Walmart did with its fruits and vegetables supply chain this year.
Blockchain enables businesses to mitigate risk in a modern way, which allows them to build their ecosystems in a more reliable manner. Through blockchain, enterprises are changing the way they act on the various opportunities that drive revenue and enrich business processes. While many might view blockchain as the newest fad with a judgmental eye, the truth is, the technology built on the distributed-ledger concept does deliver some true value to enterprises and will only grow more impactful in 2019.
2. MFT as a Utility
Having a file transfer solution that can handle vast amounts of data, and do so quickly and reliably, is top of mind for enterprises as businesses look to navigate today’s digital data explosion. And in 2019, companies will begin to embrace managed file transfer (MFT) as a utility, in which they can tap on demand to execute a number of different tasks. And thus, enterprises will deploy some form of MFT as part of their enterprise-wide IT platforms.
Companies that hesitate or opt not to deploy MFT in this manner will instead take the existing and legacy technologies they do have and try to deploy those as that utility. Only, they’ll fail and be forced to take a different approach revolving around DevOps and solutions that are API-ready. As that’s happening, companies will simultaneously step on the gas and the brakes on API economies as they become excited about the potential benefits. But without proper understanding of the governance implications such technologies require, operations teams push back.
All of this will come to a head when we start to see our first API-related breaches. Expect these to happen around social networks such as Facebook, and soon after within the supply chains of retail, manufacturing, logistics, and automotive. Eventually, enterprises will have to ask whether we do, in fact, need legislation and standardization around APIs. And that’s when the world is going to quickly realize that API governance mechanisms are just not mature enough.
3. IoT and the Data Gateway
It’s no secret that the number of connected devices is going to grow in the next few years, and that means there are few technological developments that promise to be as far-reaching and disruptive as the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT will prove to be expansive and propulsive and will certainly reshape the gameboard for multiple industries when it comes to delivering new value streams to customers, partners, and interconnected ecosystems.
The latest technology trend around IoT revolves around “digital twins,” a term Gartner coined as IoT’s “killer app.” A digital twin is essentially a mirror-like representation of a physical device, based on dozens of embedded sensors generating dozens (if not hundreds) of electrical and mechanical parametric datasets. That data is then able to be consumed in real time near the edge or collected and aggregated into reports generated incrementally and integrated systematically.
Digital twins deliver real-world outcomes, which include the ability to monitor equipment from afar, as well as proactive maintenance and decreased downtime. Digital twins also will augment traditional business processes especially as it pertains to distributed IoT assets in the field. Therefore, any parts that need replacing could be swapped out prior to outright failure. This allows enterprises to plan field service engagements more intelligently and decreases the costs of ad hoc device support.
Going one step further, in 2019 digital twins will provide insight into conditions that allow recommendations that are based on performance. Most critically, company stakeholders can minimize disruptive downtime by maintaining parts inventory with proactive ordering that also ties into IoT-based insight to existing multi-enterprise business processes.
IoT adoption is at a tipping point, and 2019 will be a year in which applications of IoT will augment existing business, enrich partner relationships, and determine new types of value for organizations able to take advantage. Because of their obvious implications, and sensible real-world outcomes, digital twins are the IoT trend expected to take off in the coming year.
Cleo’s Frank Kenney and Dylan Lee contributed to this piece.