IT can sometimes feel a bit like inside baseball – if you’re on the outside, it’s hard to make heads or tails of the diverse trends and tech that shape our world.

We here at Fantastic IT want to make sure you’re staying up on the changes within the IT industry, so you can have the ability to make effective decisions in the IT world, even as a layperson. Staying relevant with IT involves keeping you abreast of the noise coming from the halls of IT’s movers and shakers – especially leading IT firms.

Now, if you don’t know IT firm Gartner, you aren’t keeping up with the evolution of IT. As one of, if not the, leading IT analyst firm in the world, Gartner is a trusted resource within the IT community, as they have the presence, clout, and expertise necessary to collect rigorous data, analyze it, and present findings that have a real-world impact.

Considering the type of sway Gartner has within the IT community, we thought we’d share one of their most important analyses: the annual Strategic Tech Trends list. This list is a collection of the most important innovations in the IT industry, often foretelling the prevalence of certain tech before it becomes widely adopted.

With all that in mind, we wanted to share with you some of the insights from Gartner’s list this year. Maybe there are some areas of your IT strategy here that you are neglecting, and neglecting a piece of technology these days simply means falling behind your competition.

With that in mind, let’s dive into their list – and add more context where we can so you can be fully equipped with all the knowledge you need to optimize your IT strategy from 2023 and beyond!

1. Digital Immune System

In an era where cyber threats are prevalent, Gartner notes that a robust “Digital Immune System” is quickly becoming a critical trend. A digital immune system is a combination of various software engineering strategies to safeguard against the risks of outside attacks.

Every business in 2023 needs quality DIS–resilient systems that mitigate operational and security risks. But not only does it protect your business from risk – it also improves the customer experience via streamlined, optimized, bulletproof UX that makes your customer’s experience better.

2. Applied Observability

Applied Observability, according to Gartner, is a methodology focused on observing as much data as possible – and using that data to make correct, optimized business decisions, quicker and more efficiently.

According to Gartner, Observability is the ability to understand what is happening inside a system based on the external data released by that system. Observability requires that actionable data from multiple sources is appropriately connected, optimized, and enhanced for context. Observable data refers to any variable that can be observed and directly measured. For an enterprise, it often comes from one or more existing IT systems.

Finally, applied observability is the applied use of observable data in a highly orchestrated and integrated approach across business functions, applications, and infrastructure and operations teams. It enables shortening the time between stakeholder actions and organizational reactions, allowing for proactive planning of business decisions.

Applied observability focuses on utilizing the data gathered by organizations and employing AI for analysis and recommendations. This trend is instrumental in optimizing business operations in real-time and reducing response latency, fostering faster and more accurate future decisions. Gartner argues that “by 2026, 70% of organizations successfully applying observability will achieve shorter latency for decision making, enabling competitive advantage for target business or IT processes.”

3. AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management (AI TRISM)

AI trust, risk, and security management, shortened to AI TRISM, is a methodology that seeks to proactively identify and mitigate AI risks. As businesses grow more reliant on AI to operate and grow their businesses, making sure that your AI ecosystem is secure, robust, reliable, and safe is a foundational element of AI operation.

AI TRISM is a comprehensive program that “helps you integrate much-needed governance upfront, and proactively ensure AI systems are compliant, fair, reliable and protect data privacy.” for explaining AI results, deploying new models rapidly, managing AI security actively, and implementing controls for privacy and ethical concerns.

In short, it’s a robust tool that keeps your company safe when engaging with AI in any way, while increasing efficiency in AI operations.

4. Industry Cloud Platforms Offering Comprehensive Functionality

Industry Cloud Platforms are industry-specific platforms that serve businesses that require specific, detailed, laser-focused cloud platforms for t a specific vertical. In industries that can’t survive on a generic, basic Salesforce platform, Industry Cloud Platforms are allowing businesses to be more agile, giving businesses the tools to protect against threats and take advantage of opportunities.

Industry cloud platforms are essentially super-charged cloud services that are adaptable and modular to your business, and your industry. In essence, industry cloud platforms amalgamate SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS with industry-specific functionalities to create highly tailored cloud solutions for businesses and their specific environments. These industry-specific cloud solutions increase efficiency and productivity with proven solutions that fit your vertical.

5. Platform Engineering

Platform Engineering is an approach that is designed to accelerate the delivery of applications across your business by reducing friction and chokepoints throughout the business. Paul Delory, VP Analyst at Garner, explained the genesis of platform engineering: the blinding complexity of our multi-layered cloud dependency.

He goes on to say: “Platform engineering emerged in response to the increasing complexity of modern software architectures. Today, non-expert end users are often asked to operate an assembly of complicated arcane services.” Which is true! A lot of untrained people are asked to do complex things with increasingly complicated IT.

Platform engineering seeks to address this. It’s a methodology designed to make complex sets of IT tools easy to use by the end-user – an untrained person lacking in specific IT knowledge.

In practice, platform engineering curates a set of tools, capabilities, and processes for easy use by developers and end-users. Most of this comes in the form of identifying easily reused components, so developers and engineers don’t have to spend more time than necessary developing tools.

This trend is pivotal in increasing end-user productivity and alleviating the burden on development teams. Gartner expects that by 2026, 80% of software engineering organizations will establish platform teams as internal providers of reusable services, components, and tools for application delivery.

6. Wireless-Value Realization

Wireless-Value Realization is an interesting, but obvious concept – it simply refers to taking advantage of next-gen wireless technology that can and will provide business opportunities previously unrealized or unobserved.

In practice, it means unifying all your disparate wireless tech into one cohesive infrastructure, which is easily accessed and easily understood by your team, so you can capture more value from your wireless ecosystem. It’s essentially an efficiency play – increasing throughput while improving resiliency across the system.

Some of the benefits Gartner suggests that businesses could see in the future:

  • A wide range of new contexts, such as location, energy harvesting/battery-free operations, and sensing
  • Improved developer experience and productivity through self-service capabilities with automated infrastructure operations
  • Unified network connectivity and security, providing a migration path for operational technology (OT), information technology (IT) and line of business (LoB) operations
  • A more cost-efficient, reliable, and scalable technical foundation that reduces capital expenditure

Wireless-value realization extends beyond traditional connectivity, offering location and real-time information from analytics. This trend allows systems to harvest network energy directly, providing insights and enhancing the value derived from wireless networks. It basically means that all of your wireless devices can lean on one another, leveraging their abilities to create efficiencies that are greater than the sum of their parts.

Gartner underlines this coming evolution of wireless tech, suggesting that “by 2025, 50% of enterprise wireless endpoints will use networking services that deliver additional capabilities beyond communication” – a number that’s currently less than 15%!

7. Superapps

Continuing on the theme of unifying and simplifying multiple, disparate parts of your IT together into one, easy-to-use piece of infrastructure, we’ve got Superapps. This trend is taking off quickly – Gartner expects that by 2027, more than 50% of the global population will be daily active users of multiple super apps.

Superapps are not just applications that aggregate services; they are a single consolidation that combines the features of an app, a platform, and an ecosystem, with the goal of improving efficiency by streamlining and combining multiple applications into one place.

In addition to combining existing infrastructure into a single app, superapps provide a platform for third parties to develop and publish their mini apps, which allows for even greater flexibility and usability for the end user. Gartner even suggests the unification of various levels of interactivity, potentially combining 2D spaces with 3D spaces like the metaverse and Internet of Things (IoT).

Examples of Superapps as per Gartner:

8. Adaptive AI

You might think all AI is “adaptive”, but the reality is that most AI is actually static. Tools like ChatGPT can produce decent results, but it relies on constant updates from human developers for its evolution, instead of taking on real-time data to consistently grow their abilities and resources as an adaptive AI would.

Sure, any AI can synthesize new information using its neural network, but that relies on information directly inputted by developers. The reality is that most AI doesn’t adapt in real-time, leading to natural inefficiencies in its programming, leading to unoptimized results. The solution? Adaptive AI.

Adaptive AI, unlike static AI, enables model behavior change post-deployment through real-time feedback, “creating a superior and faster UX by adapting to real-world circumstances, broadening decision-making capabilities and flexibility while implementing decision intelligence capabilities.”

Unlike static AIs like Midjourney or Google Bard, adaptive AI continuously retrains models based on new data and adjusted goals, allowing for quick adaptation to changing real-world circumstances.

The cost and difficulty of creating and incorporating adaptive AI is something that businesses will struggle with in the coming years – but those who can effectively invest in this growing tech means they will reap massive rewards, beating their competitors to the punch before most even consider the potential of adaptive AI.

9. Metaverse

Oh the Metaverse. This Meta-led 3D reality, at the time of writing, is little more than a meme amongst business leaders and the general public alike, with the overarching narrative of Zuck3D being that it’s an empty place with graphics that make 30-year-old games like Runescape look like next-gen graphical marvels.

But to dismiss the Metaverse’s potential as a business owner is to dismiss a literal world of possibilities. While the narrative around the metaverse is largely negative, you have to take into account the reality that the Metaverse is still in its nascent stages, especially when you look at the long-term potential of this tech.

Gartner points to the future of the Metaverse: entire businesses living and operating in the Metaverse, selling both Metaverse and real-world products and services to people within the Metaverse and outside of it. While it may be hard to envision that reality now, given the meme status surrounding the project, many said the same thing about the internet in its early days.

Dismiss the Metaverse at your peril – given Meta’s substantial investment of billions and billions of dollars (and Zuck’s obsession with leaving behind a legacy), and the relatively low cost of investment into this space, it’s a bet worth making, albeit a long-term one!

10. Sustainable Technology

Gartner is always aware of the wider societal trends that shape our relationship with IT. Amongst these trends – perhaps the most critical and important trend in human history – is a shift towards sustainability in all elements of society, and IT is certainly no exception.

Sustainable Technology is not just about delivering technology that can sustain life on earth beyond just the next five minutes (unlike in the past) – it’s “a framework of solutions that increases the energy efficiency of IT services and enables enterprise sustainability through technologies like traceability, analytics, emissions management software, and AI.”

What that means in reality is creating a holistic, comprehensive framework that can define, enable, and ensure what Gartner calls “environmental, social, and governance outcomes” (ESG outcomes for short) for both the company and its customers.

Gartner suggests thinking about sustainable IT as much more than just sustainability in and of itself. Sustainable technology allows for a greater, wider perspective: it seeks not only to improve inherent ecological sustainability, but also seeks to achieve sustainability in a way that also improves cost efficiency, profitability, and a better, more reliable experience for the end customer!

Keep Your IT Up To Date – Or Face The Consequences

Gartner’s strategic technology trends are not just technological forecasts; they are guideposts for aligning technology innovation with the future strategic objectives of enterprises. As tech continues to evolve, and as our lives become more intertwined with nascent tech, aligning your business goals with these growing juggernauts becomes an imperative.

Trends like the Metaverse and AI have the potential to reshape the world in the same way the internet did, providing an opportunity for astute, agile businesses to gain advantages in ways that were previously nonexistent. It’s up to you to be bold and take risks – that frankly, aren’t really risks – with your IT strategy. Because businesses who don’t keep up – get left behind.