This week at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando, FL, the company revealed its strategic top predictions for 2023 and beyond, in areas ranging from the future of work to general business trends. Here’s a look.
Through 2027, fully virtual workspaces will account for 30 per cent of the investment growth by enterprises in metaverse technologies and will “reimagine” the office experience.
Gartner predicts that virtual workspaces in metaverses will emerge to support new immersive experiences as employees look for more flexible work scenarios.
“Existing meeting solution vendors will need to offer metaverse and virtual workspace technologies or risk being replaced,” said Daryl Plummer, distinguished VP analyst and Gartner Fellow. “Virtual workspaces deliver the same cost and time savings as videoconferencing, with the added benefits of better engagement, collaboration and connection.”
By 2025, without sustainable artificial intelligence (AI) practices, AI will consume more energy than the human workforce, significantly offsetting carbon-zero gains.
AI and machine learning consume more and more data, compute resources, and power as their complexity increases. If practices don’t change, Gartner predicts that by 2030, the energy needed will devour up to 3.5 per cent of global electricity. But more sustainable practices are emerging and, said Plummer, “Provided it is applied more pervasively and effectively than today, AI could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by five to ten percent.”
By 2026, citizen-led denial of service (cDOS) attacks, using virtual assistants to shut down operations, will become the fastest growing form of protest.
Most of us are acquainted with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, in which hackers, often using botnets, bombard websites with enough traffic to make them unusable. Gartner predicts that citizen-led denial of service (cDOS) attacks using virtual assistants will become a form of protest against businesses and governments. By 2024, it expects that citizens will shut down a Fortune 500 company’s call centre by launching a cDOS, and by 2025, it says, 37 per cent of customers will try using a virtual assistant to interact with customer service for them, perhaps by having it wait on hold on their behalf.
Through 2025, powerhouse cloud ecosystems will consolidate the vendor landscape by 30 per cent, leaving customers with fewer choices and less control of their software destiny.
Today, major cloud service providers (CSPs) are creating ecosystems of independent software vendors (ISVs) who provide integrated and composable services that offer the potential for significant productivity gains. But, Gartner says, as CSP ecosystems mature, there will be a diminishing need for third-party ISV tools because the CSPs will be able to quickly release new features and services on their own thanks to the agility and speed of cloud development.
Through 2024, jointly owned sovereignty partnerships sanctioned by regulators will increase stakeholder trust in global cloud brands and facilitate continued IT globalization.
Globalization and increasing regulations emerging in an interconnected digital world to control and protect citizens and ensure the availability of critical services are tightening policies around the use of non-regional cloud providers for critical or sensitive workloads.
“Due to recent geopolitical events and seeing the direct impact that de-platforming sanctions can have, demand for sovereign cloud solutions is evolving,” said Plummer. “Governments and regulators that sanction specific jointly owned approaches of cloud providers with local partners can meet tightened sovereignty requirements while facilitating continued technical globalization.”
By 2025, “labour volatility” will cause 40 per cent of organizations to report a material business loss, forcing a shift in talent strategy from acquisition to resilience.
Gartner says that challenges in talent acquisition and retention will mean that companies will be unable to support existing products and services or launch new ones because of workforce issues.
“Labor volatility has a direct correlation to enterprise execution and delivery models that impacts financial performance,” said Plummer. “The resiliency dialogue must become a CEO and boardroom conversation, rather than one siloed to HR.”
By 2025, shareholder acceptance of moonshot speculative investments will double, making them a viable alternative to traditional R&D spending to accelerate growth.
High-risk investments with the potential of failure are increasingly becoming accepted by shareholders as a way to grab an advantage.
“Winning enterprises have learned the real risk they face is doing too little too late. Adopting antifragile approaches, such as moonshots, allows enterprises to maximize their advantage from disruption by adjusting their risk appetite and raising their tolerance for failure,” said Plummer.
By 2027, social media platform models will shift from “customer as product” to “platform as customer” of decentralized identity, sold through data markets.
Gartner predicts that web3’s enablement of new decentralized identity standards, which introduce several disruptive benefits including giving users more control over which data they share, removing the need for repeated identity proofing across services, and supporting common authentication services, will prevail over the current model of users having to repeatedly authenticate themselves across online services, which, it said, is not efficient, scalable, or secure.
By 2025, organizations that remediate documented gender pay gaps will decrease women’s attrition by 30 per cent, reducing pressure on talent shortages.
Gartner says that a market is forming for software tools that offer pay equity assessments, since its data has shown that compensation is a key driver for talent attraction and retention. Yet, it says, only 34 per cent of employees believe their pay is equitable. Specialist vendors are now emerging that provide more ways to analyze and model data related to equitable pay.
Through 2025, employee value metrics like well-being, burnout, and brand satisfaction will override return on investment (ROI) evaluations in 30 per cent of successful growth investment decisions.
“Use of traditional ROI models to make investment decisions can discount or completely exclude non-financial benefits. Organizations that use more expansive valuation approaches will shift their investment focus to long-term growth, disruption and innovation,” said Plummer.
Gartner noted that investments in employee well-being and customer experience can translate into financial returns, though their most significant long-term impacts are often on brand value, reputation, and employee and customer acquisition and retention.
“Uncertainty carries as much opportunity as it does risk,” said Plummer. “The key to unlocking those opportunities is to reimagine assumptions – especially those rooted in a pre-digital past – around how work is done, how relationships between customers and providers will evolve and how current trends will unfold.
“The comforts of consistency are a detriment to the growth of any company seeking to lead in a modern digital world filled with unknowns. This year’s predictions provide a foundation for executive leaders to seize uncertainty, challenge thinking and change expectations while maintaining forward movement.”