Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 (I)
Gartner announced the “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020” that have a potential to transform and disrupt the businesses. The business leaders definitely should understand and evaluate each and every trend while building their 5 year strategy to see the risks and threats that they create and also find out the opportunities by which they can empower their businesses. In this blog you can find a brief explanation for the top 10 trends.
According to Gartner, enterprises should consider the implications of these trends on Continuous operations and continuous innovation as their daily operations and their innovation strategy will be affected.
These trends do not exist in isolation, but all of them is highly related to each other and they have a combined effect on the way people live. So Gartner puts the concept of “combinatorial innovation” at the centre of their trends for 2020.
What does “People-Centric Smart Spaces” mean?
Gartner puts the human at the heart of the technology trends because eventually it will impact the people weather they are customers or employees. So to understand the key target groups and the journeys they undertake within their organization, enterprises should focus on the concepts of “personas” and “journeys” :
- Personas: Understanding every persona, their motivations, preferences, biases, needs they have and more importantly, how they will be affected by the specific technology or trend is crucial. This is a good way that used to be utilized in marketing for years.
- Journey Maps: Gartner defines a journey map as “a model that shows the stages that target personas go through to accomplish a task or complete a process”. When enterprises define the journey maps through which the customers interact with them, they can see the process from all the perspectives such as the customer, the salesperson, a support person, etc. It gives an opportunity to see the pain points, inefficiencies, gaps and the potential points for improvement or disruption.
In the report, a smart space is defined as a “physical environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems”. Gartner considers this concept of “people centric smart spaces as the eventual target of these 10 trends.
Trend 1: Hyper Automation
Gartner defines automation as the use of technology to perform tasks that once done by human by action or by judgement. The involvement of advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning makes an automation “hyper”. Also, NLP can understand and interpret human text and speech, document, data and this increases the range of hyper automation possibilities. These technologies make self service automation possible as customers interact directly with chatbots and virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and when any human involvement is necessary during the interaction, the chatbot can handover to a human colleague.
The tasks within the scope of hyper automation are not only operational ones, but they might be the tasks that require thinking, designing and evaluating. Gartner says that it is a very fast coming trend that enterprises should consider and automate all possible business processes. Now enterprises started to automate rule based tasks, but in the second phase, we will talk more about knowledge work in terms of automation. It is expected that those levels of automation enable enhanced and more dynamic experiences and better business outcomes. The enabling technology is machine learning and the related tools are robotic task and process automation and decision management. Gartner also notes that hyper automation requires hyper-agile working practices and tools. Engaging employees, dealing with the existing silos and resource allocation structures within the organization will be the most challenging aspects of hyper automation.
Components of Hyper Automation
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools can augment operational workers and knowledge workers undertaking day-to-day work, removing mundane and repetitive tasks. The system should have tightly defined integration scripts structure and manipulate data for an RPA design.
- Intelligent Business Process Management Suites (iBPMSs) can manage long-running processes beyond RPAs and supports a whole cycle of of business processes and decisions. It is an integrated set of technologies that coordinates people, machines and things. It is more sophisticated than RPA.
What does the concept “digital twin of an organization” refers to?
Gartner asserts that organizations need to develop a “digital twin of the organizations” that visualizes the interdependence between functions, processes and key performance indicators (KPIs). By creating it, organizations can understand how the different parts interact and how the business processes impact value creation.
Trend No. 2: Multiexperience
Gartner defines multiexperience as “it deals with the way that people perceive, interact and control the digital world across a wide range of devices and sensory touchpoints”. The way we interact with the digital world is changing rapidly and through 2028 we will see more dramatic changes. Conversational platforms, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality will all make our experiences “multisensory and multitouchpoint”. The interfaces will need to understand the user so it is a shift from technology-literate people to people-literate technology. A multitouchpoint experience involves all the interactions through edge devices, including traditional computing devices, wearables, automobiles, environmental sensors and consumer appliances. So the notion of “computer” changes because many objects and points will be computers. However, we need to be aware of that it is a slow change and we might come to this point through 2029 and beyond.
What does an “immersive experience” mean?
Gartner focuses on the term “immersive experience” that is “constructed using a variety of techniques and software tools, including AR, VR, MR, multichannel human-machine interaction and sensing technology”. The business leaders should evaluate the potentials and challenges of VR, AR and MR. Gartner suggests them to identify key target personas and explore targeted scenarios. By 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies for consumer and enterprise use, and 25% will have deployed them to production. The 3 use cases are expected to create clear value according to Gartner: (1) Product design and visualization (2) Field service and operations. (3) Training and simulation. Over time, conversational platforms will integrate more with all these systems. A key challenge that conversational platforms face is that the users have to communicate in a very structured way with most of them, which is frustrating most of the time. But if the conversation can be driven in a humanized way, the user engagement will be easier.
Trend 3: Democratization
According to Gartner, democratization means creating a simplified model for people to consume digital systems and tap into automated expertise beyond their training or experience. This is actually “democratization of knowledge and expertise” that can be technical expertise (e.g., ML, application development) or business domain expertise (e.g., sales process, economic analysis) through very simple tools and experiences that does not require deep training. Gartner also mentions the concepts of “citizen access” (e.g., citizen data scientists, citizen integrators), and “citizen development” and “no-code or low code models” which are also examples of democratization.
So, what is democratized? We can talk about democratization of (1) application development, (2) data and analytics (3) design (4) knowledge
Now, non-IT people can have access to powerful tools and expert systems that empower them to develop specialized skills beyond their own expertise and training. This brings us to the concept of “shadow IT”. We live in an environment where professional developers can operate alone using predefined models delivered as a service. Although these concepts are not new but recently the number of tools for application development platforms have risen dramatically. Gartner predicts that “by 2024, low-code application development will be responsible for more than 65% of application development activity, and by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.” In addition, various development and testing functions are automated. An interesting example is that through Google’s AutoML developers can automatically generate new models without a data scientist.
All these developments help the companies to fill the data scientist and ML expert talent gap. Gartner has interesting predictions.
- By 2020, automation will enable citizen data scientist produce a higher volume of analysis than expert data scientist.
- By 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.
- By 2022, at least 40% of new application development projects will have artificial intelligence co-developers on the team.
- By 2021, automation of data science tasks will enable citizen data scientists to produce a higher volume of advanced analysis than specialized data scientists.
- By 2025, a scarcity of data scientists will no longer hinder the adoption of data science and machine learning in organizations.
Trend No. 4: Human Augmentation
Human augmentation is defined by Gartner as “the enhancement of human capabilities and capacity through the use of technology and science.” It is an old phenomenon as technology and science have always been used to augment human being. Glasses, hearing aids, false teeth, printing press, copy machine are all examples of human augmentation. But the computer era became a second phase of human augmentation and the rise of new technologies like AI, IoT, VR can be considered as a third phase. A recent technology to mention is CRISPR 18, genome editing. Wearables are another example. Biological science and bioengineering is the field that most of the human augmentation results emerge. Human augmentation is a prime example of combinatorial innovation. It brings together hyper automation, empowered edge, autonomous things.
We can mention cognitive and physical augmentation, because physical and cognitive human capabilities are augmented by science and technology and they increase the workplace productivity. Cognitive human augmentation includes “augmented intelligence” where humans and artificial intelligence work together to learn better and make better decisions.
Digital transformation should not be considered apart from human transformation, but enterprises should consider security, privacy, compliance, health impact, ethics when taking decisions about human augmentation.
Read Part II of Gartner Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020 here.