Artificial intelligence in all its forms (and there are several specific technologies that sit under this umbrella) is the most heavily discussed technology area at the moment, certainly judging by the conversation at leading industry events and in the trade press, and will continue to be a prominent theme in the year ahead.
While AI technologies have the potential to transform many areas of the enterprise, they are far from the only show in town. Talking directly to IT practitioners about their plans for 2019 provides a far more nuanced view.
Each year, Ovum runs its ICT Enterprise Insights program, in which we interview senior IT executives in over 6,500 enterprises to explore their ICT investment plans and priorities for the coming year. One of the most interesting aspects of this year’s research is the shift in both thinking and activity around a number of emerging technologies. This includes AI of course, but also cloud-native architecture, APIs, IoT, blockchain, big data, and agile/DevOps.
As can be seen in Figure 1, there has been a clear increase in the proportion of enterprises with either live deployments or serious plans to implement these emerging technologies in the past year.
Figure 1: There has been a marked shift in enterprise activity across a range of emerging technologies
Source: Ovum ICT Enterprise Insights 2017/18 and 2018/19
Artificial intelligence is the area in which we will see the biggest developments in 2019, with 62% of all enterprises currently trialing or planning implementations that will use these technologies in the coming 12 months. At the same time and in many cases as a necessary first step, big data strategies are rapidly becoming mainstream. Just under a quarter of all enterprises are already making use of data lakes and big data platforms, and a further 59% are either trialing or planning implementations in 2019.
The cooling of some of the hype around private blockchain and IoT technology can be seen here too. While each will have a considerable impact on the enterprise landscape in the coming year, there is a slightly greater emphasis now on the deployment and trialing of AI, greater use of APIs (internal and external facing), and taking advantage of cloud-native architecture.
The view at industry level is far more varied of course, reflecting the specific market and competitive dynamics of each. In the case of retail banking for example, there is a large emphasis on both AI technologies and APIs at the moment, the latter particularly influenced by open banking initiatives such as PSD2 in Europe. In the case of AI technologies, the core use cases span the organization, from personalization in the digital channels to exception handling in payment processing.
Investments in artificial intelligence technologies are also high profile in the telecoms sector and much as with banking, there are a number of use cases around the customer experience and efficiency of core processes. There are even greater potential gains from applying technologies such as machine learning to network optimization and management, particularly with 5G on the horizon.
You can learn more about the ICT Enterprise Insights program here.
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