AI Becomes Less Sci-Fi, Bots Take Over – and Seven Other CTO Trends for 2019

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Christian Reilly
Christian Reilly,
CTO, Citrix

In literally what feels like the blink of an eye, 2018 is coming to a close. The end of the year is always a great time to look back, take stock of achievements and celebrate success. But it’s an even better time to look forward and prepare for what lies ahead.

As I dust off my crystal ball, I see nine trends and technologies in 2019 that promise to transform our lives – both personal and professional:

1. The CIO will become the Chief Innovation Officer –

As the hype around digital transformation subsides and gives way to practical and measurable initiatives across different industries, a new breed of CIO will continue to emerge. Technology and business savvy, combined with a relentless capability to challenge status quo, will define this new genre of role. A change agent by definition, they will tear down the remaining barriers between IT and the business and focus on the “why” of technology, rather than the “how.”

2. Technology will fuel new business models and transformation –

We’ve all heard over the last couple of years how digital transformation promises so much to so many different industries. Although it’s very common for us to hear that technology is part of the strategy, it’s far less common to hear how new business models benefit from and are supported by that technology. Whether they are a financial organization concerned about disruption from challenger banks, or an automotive maker being disrupted by ride-sharing companies – companies will apply new technologies – not just for the sake of technology, but to deliver real business outcomes.

3. The Gig Economy –

Different kinds of expectations for how to do work will continue to evolve, led by one of the most disruptive business models – the gig economy. Organizations will work to provide a comprehensive user experience for employees and re-imagine, re-package, distribute and execute work within this new paradigm. The office of the future is everywhere, and workers may never enter a brick-and-mortar office or meet co-workers in person.

4. People-centric Computing –

The long sought-after balance between user demand and the needs of IT will finally reach equilibrium by delivering an adaptive digital workspace that focuses on the intent of the user and learns how they prefer to work using transactional information gathered. This constantly adapting will drive better individual productivity and more proactive security. The people-centric computing approach will provide the best user experience possible and allow IT to define and enforce dynamic policies to ensure compliance via visibility into user actions.

5. AI becomes less Sci-Fi –

Although AI is not new, it is certainly one of the most misunderstood trends. The arguments raging around the dangers of AI are interesting, but it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to be wiped out by mal-intentioned robots anytime soon. Conversely, the rapid commoditization of artificial narrow intelligence – in the context of machine learning, will largely be applied in ways that augment the human worker, increase productivity and create more jobs.

6. Bots take over the menial tasks –

We are, and will continue to be, richer than ever in terms of the capability of technology. And yet, in many cases, even executing the simplest of tasks still requires significant understanding of how any given application works. Enabling technologies – NLP, NLU, ML – will be leveraged to help drive simplicity and productivity by removing traditional barriers and allowing a consumer-like experience to prevail. The bots are everywhere – delivering better customer service than ever, delivering intelligent search and even working on our behalf to eliminate the tedious everyday tasks such as making appointments or paying bills.

7. New Human Compute Interface –

Most of us have grown up with a keyboard and mouse being the most familiar input devices – a paradigm that has spanned at least two generations. Rapidly, we are moving into a world where the real and virtual worlds are becoming one, and the way we interact with machines will become our own personal choice – whether we touch the screen, talk to the device, or fully immerse ourselves in a different experience where gestures and physical movement become the way we explore, learn, create and engage.

8. Applications evolve, DevOps doesn’t –

The rapid adoption of SaaS applications will continue, driven by emerging requirements to replace or augment existing on-premise applications. Organizations will see huge growth in home-grown development of new applications that will use new architectures and deployment models – both on-premise and in public clouds. In addition, DevOps will continue to be out of reach of most organizations as the gaps in existing silos between traditional departments and sub-departments fail to close.

9. Hybrid Cloud is crowned King (for now) –

For at least a decade, the purists have argued the case on both sides of the public and private cloud divide as to which will prevail. The reality is that both have valid reasons for being considered by organizations across every industry. The hybrid cloud model will reign in 2019, taking into account the placement of workloads, applications and services across a variety of different on-premise and public clouds. In addition, multi-cloud strategies – for reasons of cost, performance, compliance, reliability, and risk reduction of vendor lock-in – will also become part of the standard enterprise architecture and deployment.

Just how precisely will these trends latch on in 2019? Only time will tell…

About Author: Christian Reilly is Vice President and CTO at Citrix, responsible for technology strategy and platform engineering for Workspace Services. Prior to joining Citrix, Christian held leadership positions at US-based engineering and construction firm Bechtel, where he was most recently responsible for the strategic planning, enterprise architecture and innovation program within the corporate Information Systems & Technology group. Christian is a native of Manchester, England and studied business & computing at the University of Central Lancashire, England.