As we all learn to adapt and move toward a new normal, a variety of trends have emerged. In the information technology sector, this means a combination of brand new ideas and the acceleration of trends that already existed to a small extent becoming rapidly adopted in the industry more broadly.
Keeping up with what is happening in the information technology sector is crucial to make sure your company remains competitive and meets customer needs.
1. Automation Driven by Artificial Intelligence
With the advances in artificial intelligence (and particularly machine learning), more opportunities for automation are arising. For instance, robotic process automation (RPA) allows businesses to automate the task of inputting and consolidating information from multiple systems.
It is now inexpensive, easy to implement, and has a high ROI. Another common use of artificial intelligence is to use an algorithm to detect patterns and interpret meaning in data. This can predict user behavior, identify problems with products, and improve ad targeting. Finally, companies are using artificial intelligence for customer engagement.
Chatbots can support users 24/7, algorithms can provide users with personalized recommendations, and internal sites powered by AI can answer employee queries.
All these use cases can lead to improved efficiency, better analysis, a reduction in human error, problem-solving, enhanced customer service, and much more.
2. Customized Business Structures
During the pandemic, many IT companies came to the realization that there’s no need to adhere to an industry standard for things like business structure and operations.
In fact, it makes more sense for companies to experiment with what works for them. For instance, many have found that having all in-house employees has more downsides than benefits. Going forward, they may take a flexible approach or even allow employees to work fully remotely.
This way of challenging preconceptions goes beyond work styles. It also encompasses how companies serve their customers, hiring, outsourcing, and more.
The importance of this trend is that it allows companies to create a structure that will contribute to their survival and resilience in the future.
3. Advanced Coding Languages
Languages like Go simplify programming to improve productivity and make it easier to identify problems in the early stages. They are suitable for a wide range of applications, from websites to software and mobile apps.
4. Collaboration on Projects
In the past, IT was often separate from the rest of the operations at a company. With IT now a central feature in virtually every company, there’s more emphasis on collaboration.
Instead of professionals carrying out their responsibilities in isolation, there’s a trend toward collaborating to find solutions for problems and share insights.
By working as a team from the start, there’s less need to go back and make changes when you’ve already completed a product.
5. Products Designed with All Consumers in Mind
One way collaboration and sharing of ideas is manifesting itself is in improved usability of products. Beyond providing users with a product that works, IT professionals are creating products that are intuitive and involve a minimal learning curve.
There is an emphasis on building products that are suitable for everyone from the casual user to the expert and that also have features for accessibility.
6. Internet of Things
In the next few years, we will start to see more possibilities for the internet of things. This is thanks to 5G. Currently, only limited locations have 5G networks, but that’s changing.
Consumers are already purchasing 5G-ready phones in preparation and more information technology professionals are building 5G capabilities into more products.
7. Cloud Computing
Cloud is back as a major trend in information technology in 2021. Businesses that failed to adopt cloud before now understand just how important it can be. In addition, many companies that were already using cloud to some extent are now taking it a step further with cloud first.
This means using cloud whenever feasible and finding a single solution for their entire IT system, rather than migrating different aspects separately.
Part of the cloud computing trend this year is edge computing, which moves storage closer to the source of the data.
This resolves the issue of latency and is excellent when operating at a location where connectivity is limited (or even nonexistent), which is particularly important when data is time-sensitive.
The huge number of recent cyberattacks combined with the high profiles of some of the companies affected has revealed just how important cybersecurity now is.
In addition, the greater use of the internet of things puts companies at higher risk for cyberattacks. Businesses need to take steps to better protect their data if they want to continue benefiting from enhanced tech capabilities.
One way companies are dealing with cybersecurity threats is with the zero-trust paradigm. This framework means verification is always necessary — it doesn’t matter if the location appears secure.
For this to work, businesses need to determine when a high level of security should be a requirement, when individual security is necessary, and when to implement access controls.
Companies also need to have a cybersecurity expert on their team — either in-house or outsourced — constant monitoring is essential.
Whereas an algorithm can flag anomalies and causes for concerns, a human still needs to read results and make adaptations to the strategy.
Although blockchain is often associated with cryptocurrency, it has far wider implications. Blockchain allows users to store information with a greater degree of security.
It works by providing users with a cryptographic signature for the data they upload to a public transaction ledger. Users can only ever add to the data (never delete or change it), which creates a secure chain.
The digital ledger model also cuts out the need for a middleman. Blockchain could have a major impact on the financial and healthcare sectors for its capability to offer safe transactions and efficient data sharing.
10. New Regulations
The information technology sector is poised for a variety of regulations that are likely to come in the next few years. Whereas arguments in favor of breaking up the largest companies may only be a concern for the tech giants, there are other regulations everyone needs to be aware of.
For instance, businesses of all sizes need to be aware of the potential penalties if they misuse personal data and the need to report cyberattacks. It’s crucial that all IT companies stay updated about new regulations, as these may affect their strategies.
11. Quantum Computing
Through quantum computing, it’s possible to carry out computations at a much faster rate than would ever be possible with a regular computer.
Quantum computing works by using quantum stages, including superposition and entanglement. Big tech companies are already investing huge amounts in this technology and quantum computing will likely play an ever-greater role in areas like data security and pharmaceutical research.
A final trend is not about technology itself, but it is still critical in the information technology sector: achieving greater diversity.
Companies in many industries are striving to improve diversity, but this is of extra importance in tech because the sector remains dominated by men.
Only through diversity (not just in gender, but also in areas like ethnicity and physical ability) is it possible to create solutions that meet a variety of users’ needs and solve problems. Ultimately, this means that those firms that do meet diversity targets will have a greater chance of success.
Keeping up to date with trends in the information technology sector should be part of your core business strategy. However, it may be difficult to act upon these trends if you are already overwhelmed by routine work.
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