2023 IT Industry Outlook

adminBy 12/26/2022No Comments

The signs of development that emerged throughout the previous year are still thriving going into 2023. The businesses who have survived the recent and current volatility are leveraging their newly discovered resilience as a launchpad for the future. Many organisations have experienced the return to strategy forecasted by Ocimtech IT Industry Outlook 2022, and they are now concentrating on writing their next chapter. 

There is so much possibility in those new chapters. Companies may opt to concentrate more effort on enhancing the environment around them as a result of recent global events. There are large challenges to be solved, but it may not be immediately obvious how many ideas are currently gaining traction. The percentage of the world’s population living below the international poverty line has decreased by almost 20% since 2015, and the death rate for children under the age of five has decreased by more than 50% since 1990, according to the Gates Foundation’s 2022 Goalkeepers report. Organizations that choose to address social challenges might encourage further advancement. Greater opportunity for local business expansion exists. Geographical reach, financial resources, and language restrictions are much less of a barrier in the modern business environment. More opportunities than ever exist for businesses to expand their client base, diversify their employee base, and create new products. Companies can build on lessons learned to achieve new heights, whether it be by enhancing current offerings or switching to a new business model. 

Whatever course an organisation takes, technology will take front stage in the narrative. Technology by itself cannot resolve all of the world’s issues, but for individuals with the right perspective, it can speed up solutions. There is little doubt that those wishing to make a difference can use technology to unleash the potential they envision, even though the technology industry may experience future challenges related to ethical questions or regulatory manoeuvring. 

1. Business as Usual Gets a Hard Reality Check

In addition to the fragility of life, the pandemic has taught modern corporations that anything can happen at any time. You name it: a lack of workers, company closings, societal curfews, distant employment, difficulty locating supplies. Real seismic shifts do occur. But do they continue after the crisis has passed? As 2023 approaches, that is a valid question, and it is becoming more and more obvious that the status quo is no longer valid. In fact, even for businesses that are content with flat or low growth, continuing in the same direction may not be the safest course of action. To succeed, many technological companies will need to step outside of their comfort zones. 

This entails a close examination of current sales and marketing, human resources, operations, and strategic innovation initiatives. 

Why? First of all, consumers are changing. They are as enthused as ever about the part that technology plays in their success, but they are also far more critical and demanding of themselves when it comes to their technological endeavours. Customers are carefully evaluating ROI on every potential tech purchase because many of their own businesses are in turmoil. So, if you sell technology, it’s now crucial, not just a nice sales distinction, to be able to articulate a precise business case for every product or service. Additionally, because consumers are increasingly tech-savvy, they have higher expectations of service providers. 

If, as an MSP, all you now provide is basic protection, for instance, customers who are worried about data breaches may find that you are no longer competitive. 

The same is true for developing additional tech, sales, and marketing skills as well as choosing a company model that better suits how customers choose to interact with brands in the modern digital economy. Therefore, if doing this necessitates destroying the expertly optimised managed services stack you’ve been developing since 2018, so be it. Customers will scrutinise operations, purchasing, and personnel in 2023, and technology providers ought to do the same. No longer is it business as usual.

2. Disparities in Worker-Employer Relations Bring to Light New Obstacles to Hiring and Retaining Tech Talent

Without addressing the workforce, it is impossible to discuss overturning the status quo. Tech organisations in 2023 will still have a difficult time retaining employees and attracting new talent because of the shifting nature of the employer-employee relationship. The news is nonstop: remote work options, the Great Resignation, quiet leaving. Employers will be put to the test in the upcoming year as they attempt to fill positions with personnel knowledgeable in a variety of new and emerging digital disciplines and support roles while juggling two additional factors: empowered and/or evasive job seekers and macroeconomic instability. Ironically, it’s possible that the two are incompatible. Which do you, as an employer, prefer: a staffing shortage and high demand for new hires, or a downturn that upends the employment landscape? For the time being, let’s ignore the recession as it is mostly uncontrollable and concentrate on the evolving nature of the labour market. Empowering post-pandemic workers is a trend that probably won’t go away very soon. Businesses will need to decide on their flexibility and culture as 2023 approaches, considering issues like whether remote work should be an employee’s exclusive option, a hybrid option, or something more constrained. That choice will be partially based on employee productivity and performance, which are receiving more attention now that businesses are trying to figure out how to gauge employee production and quality in a decentralised, virtual work environment. At this point, it appears that most IT organisations and channel enterprises will not view remote employment and flexible scheduling as all or nothing decisions, but rather as the norm. Recruitment and hiring procedures are another area that is changing as businesses look to hire highly qualified employees with both technical knowledge and enduring skills to fill sought roles in data, cybersecurity, cloud, metaverse, and other fields. This rule will result in an increase in the practise of hiring new employees by looking outside the conventional pool. This entails putting more emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and recruitment, removing the traditional necessity for many occupations of a four-year college degree, and concentrating on upskilling, on-the-job training, and certification for current employees.  

Last but not least, in 2023, the issue of mental health among those working in the tech sector won’t go away. Businesses must acknowledge the existence of the mental health problem, take steps to lessen the impact it has on employees, and, where necessary, offer flexibility and support to workers who seek help.

3. Holistic Customer Experiences Will Be the Focus of Metaverse Initiatives

The metaverse is most likely the technological development that has garnered the greatest media attention over the past year. Following a sharp increase in interest around the time Facebook changed its name to Meta, a brief analysis of current search phrases reveals that the metaverse has either maintained a modest lead over or kept up with other growing topics like artificial intelligence or blockchain. But despite all the attention, the crucial query has remained: What precisely does the metaverse represent? 

The majority of people initially associate virtual reality with legless avatars, but there is a deeper issue at hand. Ocimtech has previously argued that the metaverse merely represents online life in its broadest sense. This indicates that we have been residing in the metaverse for some time. In that sense, virtual reality (VR) represents an exciting new alternative for digital interactions rather than necessarily the next level of online life for everyone. It could be more appropriate to think of the metaverse as an extension of omnichannel customer experiences rather than as a brand-new VR-based phase of the internet. 

Tim O’Reilly has expressed a similar viewpoint, claiming that the metaverse is a vector of digital connection and community, and that current trends like growing Zoom adoption or increased use of recorded video have fueled growth on that vector. 

Even more immersion is added by virtual reality, although ultimately there are only a few situations where that level of immersion is beneficial. Less attention will be paid to headsets and virtual real estate as businesses figure out how to establish their own metaverse for their consumers, and more attention will be paid to developing deep customer relationships and connecting the various digital experiences a customer could select. 

4. Cloud Acceleration Increases Demand for FinOps and Orchestration

The metaverse movement has dominated headlines, but cloud computing has had the biggest influence on the state of modern IT operations. Accelerated cloud adoption has caused the majority of businesses to embrace a cloud-first strategy, where cloud platforms are the first choice for IT systems and applications, with exceptions made where needed for reasons of crucial security or special financial circumstances. 

The first phase of widespread cloud adoption has essentially come to an end as a result of this mentality shift toward the cloud. Early on, attention was given to the technical difficulties of moving specific systems, the lessons learned about bridging cybersecurity gaps with a cloud provider, and the fundamental ideas of combining various cloud and on-premises components. The subsequent adoption stage will concentrate on the action’s businesses must now take to manage complexity in a multi-cloud environment. Due to the low entry barriers that have allowed many departments to explore their own cloud solutions, there will first be a greater demand for orchestration. This distributed method of purchasing technology has increased flexibility while also causing management issues. 

Now, someone needs to manage the overall organization’s large picture, most likely someone on an IT infrastructure team. 

The second step is connected to the first. The main effect of cloud sprawl is rising costs, and the emerging area of FinOps focuses on the interface between financial operations and IT operations. FinOps requires technical expertise and business savvy to fine-tune cost structures while keeping a strong and adaptable cloud architecture, just as DevOps demands expertise in both development and infrastructure to make software cycles more effective. These new activities will assist firms in managing their cloud activity and provide new career opportunities for IT employees as the boundaries between business and IT become increasingly hazy. 

5. New Participants in the Digital Economy Increase the pressure of competition on current practises

The concept of choice – too many, how many, good, poor, or otherwise – provokes continuous discussion, whether it’s psychologist Barry Schwartz’s book “Paradox of Choice, Why More is Less” or Malcolm Gladwell’s Ted Talk narrative about 36 different spaghetti sauces in the grocery store. Take a look at the tech industry, where the last 15 years or so have seen a rise in the number of options and the difficulty in making decisions. It’s overwhelming to have so many vendors, technology, partners, business models, and relationships. And sometimes, it’s not what you think. 

For instance, take a look at the countless brand-new businesses that have sprung up around the software-as-a-service concept. Many channel companies are now free to explore new markets centred around developing technologies because there are so many new vendors to select from, releasing them from total dependence on the established industry behemoths. This is advantageous. However, those same channel companies have discovered that younger SaaS vendors are equally inexperienced with the indirect approach. The new wave, in contrast to the establishment, has no idea how to build up a partner programme, benefits, pay, enablement, or support for their ecosystem. That is undesirable. The growing vendor landscape in the coming year will force both new and seasoned players to raise their game in order to stand out from the competition. The availability of more options and technology will affect common business practises across the digital economy. Consider the agricultural sector and a business like John Deere as an illustration. By providing its autonomous farm vehicles with a wide range of cutting-edge features and capabilities that are revolutionising the industry, John Deere, which already controls the majority of the $68 billion U.S. market for farm equipment sales, has impressively increased the sophistication of its internal software capabilities. This seems like a good thing, a nice illustration of how technology is becoming more accessible outside the purview of the tech industry. Although farmers have relied on independent equipment repair dealers for decades to restore their equipment, John Deere’s technological prowess is wrecking havoc on the entire network of these businesses. In fact, customers’ options are being limited downstream as a result of technology’s spread into a non-tech industry, in this case John Deere (the farmers). However, it is also introducing a subscription-based model for farm equipment repair that may ultimately be more advantageous. This is the decision dilemma that technology may impose, and it will only get worse over the coming year and beyond.  

6. With optimism - and concern, vendors and partners look to further automation

Operational effectiveness, creativity, and top-notch customer service are just three of the many promises automation proponents have long made for businesses in the modern digital economy. There is more to this heartwarming pitch than meets the eye, as the majority of modern practitioners experimenting in automation would attest. Automation is complex, just like some Facebook relationship statuses.  

The technology is thick in and of itself, to start. We frequently hear about self-driving vehicles and surgical robots, but the majority of automation tools and the tasks they carry out aren’t particularly attractive. 

Expense reporting or data entry are two examples of routine, repetitive business tasks that can be automated with robotic process automation (RPA) tools. More advanced business process automation (BPA) systems, on the other hand, are holistic in nature and execute and optimise the lifecycle of a business process and its workflow components. In the managed services industry, where the repeatable process-heavy business model seems to be a natural fit for these tools, automation has been a hot topic for years. 

MSPs will continue to use automation and/or experiment with it in some capacity in 2023 as enthusiasm for its potential is high. Instant price quotations. faster delivery of services. personalised advertising. What is there to dislike? However, early results indicate that automation is not a magic fix. The number of moving parts is one of them. There is MSP to customer automation, internal MSP business automation (think PSA, RMM, and BDR platforms), and vendor to MSP automation (think PRM products) (think CRM tools). In order to coordinate these three, it is necessary to have the appropriate automation components in each environment as well as ones that can operate as a unit. 

This hasn’t transpired in a way that anyone would consider graceful so far. The lack of a multi-vendor solution for individual MSPs is a major sticking point. Instead, each provider offers a different set of PRM tools. So even if every vendor provides their own automation, it will still be disjointed and laborious. Fortunately, distributors have been stepping up to act as a hub or aggregation point for MSPs to help handle this mess, and it’s anticipated that their position will grow even more in 2023. 

Automation also prompts some additional human concerns. The obvious risk is the possibility of job loss, but there is also the risk of losing the personal touch that many small businesses rely on to strengthen their client connections. 

7. Metrics for Cybersecurity Are Connected to a Changing Risk Analysis Method

In the last ten years, there has been a significant evolution in the subject of cybersecurity. It is now widely acknowledged that the secure perimeter has lost much of its significance and has instead evolved into a single element of the cybersecurity mesh that many businesses are using to safeguard scattered assets. Companies are becoming less defensive and more proactive about cybersecurity assessment and reinforcement as a natural result of the move away from a secure perimeter. The zero trust architecture principles offer a framework for putting cybersecurity procedures and policies in place, but with all the increased activity, one significant question remains unanswered: How can an organisation gauge progress? While it is obvious that gauging success solely by whether a breach has taken place is insufficient, complete cybersecurity cannot be attained either. While a few specific indicators (such as the number of systems patched or the proportion of the workforce taught) have become good practises, businesses have found it difficult to properly tie these data to corporate goals. Companies will start using an organisational risk approach to metrics in addition to a zero trust framework for tactics. 

As businesses prioritise their data sets and engage in cloud security, risk analysis has become more and more popular. However, the majority of businesses do not currently do formal risk analysis in a thorough manner across all business activities. In the upcoming year, that will alter as businesses advance into a post-pandemic economy highly reliant on digital transformation. Building a mitigation plan, estimating the financial impact of digital activities, and assigning a risk level would not only establish a link between cybersecurity and business health but also a framework for monitoring. Then, this framework can be used to quantify cyber insurance activity, decide on skill requirements, or justify expenditure. For many businesses, modern cybersecurity is a moving target, but a corporate risk analysis approach can set the stage for more involvement. 

8. Supply chain problems and the uncertainty of inflation Continue to make sales forecasting tough

Inflation, ah. Sigh. Unfortunately, it would be negligent to omit this subject from the conversation on how business as usual would be challenged in 2023. The United States is currently experiencing the greatest inflation rates in 40 years due to a combination of economic variables, including the aftermath of the pandemic, problems with the supply chain, rising energy costs, and continuous geopolitical unrest. The Federal Reserve has pursued a strategy of repeatedly raising interest rates in an effort to reduce inflation, yet the truth remains that prices are currently rising. Furthermore, it’s unclear when that will stop. Higher inflation is clearly leaving its influence on the electronics industry. The entire supply chain, from tech manufacturers to channel businesses marketing their products to customers purchasing them, is impacted, including everyone else in the ecosystem. Manufacturers, particularly those in the hardware industry, are subject to fluctuating component pricing as well as supply chain backlogs that have not been sufficiently resolved since Ocimtech IT Industry Outlook 2022 identified them as a trend last year. 

Channel firms experience higher costs for goods, more unpredictability in trying to obtain timely and accurate pricing to relay to customers, and an inability to manage inventory as a result of the pricing and availability uncertainty on components and other enabling technologies that build products. 

Most channel enterprises, which also happen to be small businesses, are negatively impacted by the turbulence in a secondary and far more significant way. Cash flow is frequently at best precarious for tiny businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue and 10 employees or less. 

Even small price increases for supplies needed to operate one’s own firm can lead to management choices that no one desires, such firing staff or implementing pay reductions. Additionally, these smaller channel companies frequently work with small enterprises as clients. The problems with budgeting and cash flow are similar for these consumers. Some people may reduce their technology spending, while others would increase it. It’s difficult to anticipate, but the overall result is that channel enterprises will have a much reduced capacity to forecast revenues properly from quarter to quarter by 2023. 

Time will tell, as it does with most issues of a general economic nature. However, there is no denying that inflation at its current rate or higher could derail the best-laid plans of some tech companies. 

9. The core of Web3 efforts will be decentralised identity.

The distributed ledger technology that powers this new asset class continues to be the primary story in IT circles, despite the fact that cryptocurrencies suffered losses in 2022 along with the rest of the stock market. The Ethereum Merge, which changed the consensus method for transaction verification from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, was hailed as a major advance in making distributed ledgers more resilient. Even the word “crypto” started to be used to describe the underlying technology rather than the different coins. 

Web3 is another expression that has gained traction in this industry. Web3 is a wide phrase used to describe the next stage of internet dynamics and builds on the ideas that sparked the acceptance of cryptocurrencies. A large portion of the content on the first internet that the general public used was produced by corporations and used by individuals. A new internet generation where content was produced by individuals, primarily on social media platforms, was referred to as Web 2.0. Web3 aims to give people more ownership by decentralising conventional models for publication and transaction. This will shift the focus even further toward the individual. 

There is a lot of doubt about the final result at this early stage, especially as cryptocurrencies and NFTs fail to live up to their potential and new entrants promising disruptive business models turn out to be new iterations of centralised gatekeepers. The fundamental technology, however, may still have an impact on the future despite all the commotion. The field of identity may be where distributed ledgers will truly shine. Identity is not only a key element of a creator-based internet, but it also represents one of the most difficult gaps between the physical and digital worlds. Improved identity solutions could not only power distributed apps but also address the issue of online anonymity or move login beyond username/password. In 2023, Web3 will still be a hot topic, but the development of digital identity should be the main area of attention. 

10. AI developments Encourage discussion of the worth of content

Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t really a new technology anymore. Nowadays, intelligent algorithms are included in a wide range of software applications, and machine learning is practically taken for granted when performing data analysis. In a different way, artificial intelligence will always be a cutting-edge technology. Between narrow AI of today, which operates within a set of constraints, and general AI of the future, which executes high-level cognitive tasks across various domains, there is still a significant gap. 

But for now, even restricted AI is creating some truly extraordinary outcomes. The text and graphics created by GPT-3 and DALL-E 2 are frequently mistaken for works written by people. These amazing technical accomplishments, however, raise questions about how society will be integrated with technology in the future. Some texts created by AI include, to put it mildly, exclusionary undertones. This is a side effect of training AI on datasets that may contain out-of-date historical ideas. Additionally, the quality of the information produced by AI is rapidly approaching a point where many humans who are now producing it will become obsolete. Given that the Web3 movement wants to empower content creators, this is somewhat paradoxical. 

Technology is frequently seen as an impartial party that picks up the ideologies or political stances of those who utilise it. As technology advances and becomes more sophisticated, this perspective is being called into question. Although the neutrality of technology may ultimately still hold true, it is challenging to completely comprehend all the assumptions that went into the solution because of the levels of abstraction between technology creators and end users. This is particularly true with AI, but the lesson applies to many other recent advancements as well. 

It is no longer sufficient to just learn how to operate a piece of technology. Today, responsible use requires some understanding of how the technology works (particularly how AI is trained) and what potential societal effects it may have (especially as it relates to user rights and privacy). Since technology and society are now intertwined, new levels of expertise will be needed to maintain a healthy balance between the two. 

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