5 Tech Trends Shaping Canada’s Business Landscape in 2024

While the generative AI market is poised to explode, and will become an increasingly essential part of IT spending, there are other tech trends organizations should also be aware of that will reshape industries and business decisions here in Canada and around the world.

Below I explore five key trends, as well as the actions organizations can take to capitalize on them.

Trend #1: Data governance will emerge as the critical factor in AI adoption

Within enterprise and generative AI landscapes, the cornerstone of success is robust data governance. Leveraging the power of AI begins with one simple truth: AI systems are only as good as the data on which they’re trained (bad data in = bad data out). Well-organized data serves as the platform for AI applications to thrive. Out of necessity, enterprises must dedicate investment toward getting their data organized for leveraging new AI tools and solutions.

To effectively navigate data governance, organizations should:

  • Define desired business outcomes by asking the right questions.
  • Develop a comprehensive data strategy and governance framework to build your data platform.
  • Those without in-house data management expertise should engage with trusted experts proficient in data governance, business processes, and industry-specific applications.

Trend #2: Resurgence of mainframes in the hybrid era

Contrary to previous predictions of a wholesale shift of workloads and data to the cloud, many Canadian businesses are strategically adopting a hybrid approach to their mainframe modernization. Mainframe is far from obsolete and stands as a modern and indispensable platform uniquely equipped to meet the demands of industries where failure is not an option. To leverage the platform effectively, it is vital to identify what workloads should remain on the mainframe, and what can be transitioned to the cloud.

To navigate this hybrid era effectively and efficiently, organizations should:

  • Adopt a hybrid approach to mainframe modernization.
  • Find the right platform for the right workload.
  • Entrust the mainframe to adapt and grow, and able to deliver value, but simultaneously secure the expert skills needed to future-proof the platform.

Trend #3: Cyberattacks will continue to rise in number and sophistication

Increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks are permeating every imaginable industry and service. According to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, 2023 was the worst year on record for cyberattacks, with the emergence and proliferation of GenAI as one of the main drivers. At the same time, many enterprises are staring down end-of-life and end-of-service assets on which their business operations depend, posing a significant resilience issue. A holistic and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity and resilience is necessary to ensure organizations are prepared.

To continue protecting your business against cyberattacks, it’s critical to:

  • Understand that IT systems with advanced security and resiliency require strong and modern foundations. Bad actors can and will exploit any weaknesses.
  • Prioritize cybersecurity training, as your people are your frontline defense against cyberattacks.
  • Understand your minimal viable organization – what is necessary to keep the lights on – and prepare your recovery strategy and tactics accordingly.

Trend #4: New ways of working will drive culture, technology, and workplace transformation

Hybrid working environments and practices are here to stay, compelling organizations to prioritize digital agility by investing in systems and tools that empower their teams. Recognizing the symbiotic relationship between employee technology experiences and customer satisfaction will continue to drive investment in digital workplace technology. A smoother, more efficient internal tech ecosystem boosts productivity, directly impacting the quality of customer interactions. However, in addition to tech investments, organizations must also focus on the employee experience and corporate culture to retain increasingly scarce talent.

To foster a positive and productive hybrid working environment, employers should:

  • Survey employees for feedback on processes, challenges and job satisfaction.
  • Align corporate culture with inclusive and productive values.
  • Collaborate with a partner for scalable AI solutions, ensuring an optimal employee experience as well as protection of investments.

Trend #5: Sustainable technology will be a priority

Despite a challenging Environmental, Social and Governance environment, the research is clear: Consumers care about the brands they support, professionals want to work for companies that align with their values, and investors evaluate companies on how they manage these risks. For organizations to reach their environmental goals, they need to understand where they are in their sustainability journeys. In 2024, enterprises will continue to invest in becoming more data driven to transparently measure their progress and make more informed sustainability decisions.

To reach your sustainability goals, organizations should:

  • Commit to reducing your carbon footprint, and partner with others that have made similar commitments.
  • Link environmental sustainability goals to business and employee objectives.
  • Start small if needed, and then do some more.

As Canadian organizations navigate these trends, they’re also navigating a challenging economic environment that requires skillfully managing IT spend while still achieving strategic business goals. Staying informed and agile in response to technological advancements will help organizations decide how and where to allocate investments to ultimately drive efficiency, innovation, and value.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Farhaz Thobani
Farhaz Thobani
Farhaz Thobani is the president of Kyndryl Canada, the largest IT infrastructure services provider in the country. For more than two decades, he has worked alongside teams that leverage deep knowledge and experience to support the mission-critical systems and transformation goals of customers across North America. Previously, he served as general manager for the Manufacturing, Communications and Energy Market for Kyndryl in the United States and as Managing Director for Kyndryl in Canada. Prior to his time at Kyndryl, he also held a variety of senior management positions at IBM, including vice president and chief financial officer .

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