7 IT trends to embrace for business progress in 2024

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Schuberg Philis
Dec 14, 2023 · 9 min read
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With a snap national election just concluded, the Netherlands is already looking ahead to June's European Parliamentary elections and, in less than a year, the US holds a potentially earth-shaking presidential election. No doubt 2024 is set to be a year of change.

Geopolitical shifts will spur on new regulations or further the evolution of existing ones, having technical and economic implications for people and industries everywhere. Those developments will play out against a backdrop of abiding global efforts to reach sustainability goals and implement best-practice environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks. Meanwhile, as technological landscapes continue to evolve ever rapidly, so will the ways that humans engage with, control, and benefit from them.

With businesses sure to feel the effects of these swift transformations, how can leaders enable their organizations to still thrive? How can they ensure that they stay not just agile amidst tremendous changes but also resilient in the face of tremendous challenges?

Answering these questions, we have outlined seven IT trends for 2024 that we believe organizations would do well to embrace. Unsurprisingly, some overlap with IT challenges that we committed to solving in 2023. The similarities make sense considering how boosting digital resilience, cloud computing optimization, and delivering business outcomes are proving to be enduring goals. Others such as AI, sustainability, the right data climate, and a perpetual learning culture have gained new urgency, meriting all the more attention. Either way, all the trends that we identified for 2024 are poised to positively impact value generation. Tackled thoughtfully, they can lead to an array of opportunities ranging, for example, from increased operational efficiency to more intimate consumer engagement and from better compliance practices to greater employee retention and satisfaction. In sum, leveraging these trends can keep enterprises bouncing back from interruptions or disruptions while still making leaps and bounds toward business progress.

1) Delivering business progress

Since digital is now a part of every business strategy, most companies have committed to digitally transforming each dimension of how they work. Almost all organizations surveyed for the KPMG global tech report 2023 said “they had successfully used digital transformation to improve profitability or performance over the previous two years,” while 66% “were either very or extremely effective at using technology to advance their business strategies.” And yet, many companies are also experiencing how true digital transformation requires assets and attributes beyond the technological. That's why in struggling organizations, only 25% of business leaders understand “what the business actually needs when it says, ‘You need to deliver value’” compared to the 72% in transforming organizations who do understand it, reports an article by CIO. On top of that, as the aforementioned KPMG report found, 90% of digital leaders said they “still need to get better at helping the board understand the potential of new technologies.”

No matter the enterprise, achieving steady, sustainable value generation requires organizations to deliver actual business outcomes. For us, this has always meant focusing on the value that IT can bring rather than the virtue of technology itself. It has meant forging partnerships based on our promised trinity of commitments: to have dedicated customer teams, to embody our distinct company DNA, and to use the best bespoke solutions. Such partnerships are born of a culture that constantly seeks to identify the business challenge behind the IT question, which we believe is the path to delivering business progress. Considering the rapid advances in frontier technologies, likely only to accelerate in 2024, organizations should home in on truly value-driven solutions and, when apt, call on the right partners to help unlock them.

2) Expanding digital resilience

Security and compliance have always been important, but now they are more all-encompassing and urgent than ever. As McKinsey observes, "the expanding digital landscape means that IT must broaden its trust capabilities," while at the same time adding to this new breadth of scope is “the frequent need to manage and secure trust across an entire ecosystem of technologies." In 2023, data breaches reached an all-time high, costing an average of 4.26 million euros – 1.24 million euros of which went to lost business costs, including reputational damage and diminished goodwill – and requiring organizations without attack surface management 337 days to identify and contain a data breach, a 2023 IBM report found. According to Sophos' State of Ransomware 2023 report, the average ransom payment nearly doubled from 724,116 euros in 2022 to 1,437,048 euros in 2023.

To expand digital resilience in 2024, organizations should fortify the defenses that stand to establish and strengthen digital trust. We identify the two main pillars of that trust as cybersecurity and regulatory compliance. Each pillar has its own priorities and preoccupations, but by anticipating the needs of both early on in each plan-build-run trajectory, organizations can deploy IT that is both secure and compliant by design. This entails having fit-for-purpose security solutions that prioritize the true needs of the business as well as possessing the capacity to read, digest, and implement the key legislative elements that apply to their particular service and/or sector. Acknowledging the need to be proactive, we believe that the best way to expand digital resilience is to practice good digital hygiene in parallel with the application of relevant security and regulatory measures. Both require diligence, but always prove worthwhile for preventing incidents in the first place.

3) Cloud computing evolution

The cloud has come to offer unparalleled flexibility and scalability, enabling organizations to respond instantly to a dynamic world and, thus, a dynamic market. Gartner predicts that by 2027, over 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms – "combining underlying SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services into a whole product offering with composable capabilities" – to accelerate business, an increase from 15% in 2023. And even sooner, by 2024, says McKinsey, most companies aim to have 80% of their IT hosting budget go toward the cloud, which could altogether unlock a total “$1 trillion in business value.” Meanwhile, 100% of organizations already have more than half their workloads and data in a public cloud, according to Flexera’s 2023 State of the Cloud Report, and 94% of users with “highly mature cloud operations” said that a multi-cloud solution helped achieve their business goals or would expectedly do so in the next year, according to a 2023 report by Forrester Consulting.

As we noted in our article on ways to solve 2023's tech challenges, the cloud has become indispensable to IT ecosystems today. To fully benefit from it as business-enabling asset, organizations must also thoughtfully incorporate it within their digital resilience strategy. We believe this begins not by defaulting to a lift-and-shift approach, but rather by treating migration as a customer-specific pathway to generate value. Exploiting the cloud computing evolution in 2024 means choosing cloud solutions that align with an enterprise's mission, vision, and strategy. It also calls for considering the use of multiple clouds from multiple suppliers. In our experience, we increasingly see how a well-executed multi-cloud approach enables enterprises to raise productivity and cost-effectivity while safeguarding their crown-jewel workloads on a private if not also sovereign cloud.

4) AI & automation

AI has already transformed industries by enabling business optimization through the rapid automation of processes and infrastructure deployment. In turn, workers have replaced repetitive tasks with creative ones, marketers can more precisely predict trends, and consumers are getting personalized user experiences like never before. While organizations estimate that 34% of their business-related tasks are currently performed by machines, the "scope of automation and augmentation will further expand in the next few years" as AI matures and further mainstreams, says the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2023. Nowadays, technology leaders identify AI and machine learning "as the most important technology for achieving short-term ambitions," notes KPMG's Privacy in the new world of AI report. According to the Annual CIO Survey Report for 2024, CIOs plan to devote most of their new spend on AI, with the most investment going toward AI's use for business analytics and repetitive tasks, followed by automating repetitive low-level tasks and identifying risks and improving security.

We believe that AI holds enormous potential for engineering the complex problems that our customers face. Harnessing AI – as the powerfully intelligent form of automation that it is – can enable us to perform our work better, smarter, and faster. Yet, any usage should be preceded by evenhanded consideration of the ethics, security, and privacy surrounding AI. Abiding by the tech for good principles reflects our commitment to making technology that can serve a better world. It consequently demands that we continuously assess how our choices, tech or otherwise, will affect people and the planet. By combining our current value propositions with an exploratory, enterprising mindset about AI, we are convinced that our engineering can empower customers to turn their pain points into valuable gains.

5) The right data climate for value

Business-savvy decision-making has become data-driven decision-making. Analytics empowers organizations to identify trends, track how their users and systems behave, assess and forecast risk, as well as optimize operations. With 50 billion devices connected to the internet of things (IoT) by 2025, as McKinsey estimates, the IoT revolution is producing even more data. That said, while 68% of organizations responding to the 2023 KPMG global tech report described their data and analytics work as now “beyond the experimental phrase,” only 17% said it was “embedded,” meaning it was an integrated part of daily operations generating returns. Most respondents were executing data strategies but still needed to improve “especially around the integration issue of data sets not working together across an organization,” the report notes. Indeed, Gartner analysts have predicted that “through 2025, 80% of organizations seeking to scale digital business will fail because they do not take a modern approach to data governance.”

To get the most out of the data that technology both needs and breeds, 2024 must be set to provide the right data climate for value. For us, this begins by ensuring that an organization imbues its digital landscape with data governance. Data governance leads to trust in data, assuring users that data is clean, checked, and verified. This assurance promotes fact-based decision-making rather than leaving users to rely on gut feelings and tribal knowledge. When well-governed and democratized, data solutions can scale smoothly across the enterprise. If a data climate is primed for business progress, we believe that the entire ecosystem in which it operates can progress too. Success often accelerates when consumption services are created to enable everyone within an organization to use data at their own level of technological comfort.

6) Sustainability and ESGs

Implementing an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) framework has become a hallmark of modern business. By implication, IT is being shaped and shifted by ESG principles – and the momentum is only intensifying. While the 2023 KPMG global tech report found that survey respondents in 2022 ranked ESG commitments as their lowest digital transformation priority, half of respondents for 2023's report said that, over the next two years, advancing their ESG priorities will be a primary innovation goal for their technology functions. What's more, alongside technology and digitization, sustainability is ranked among drivers of the fastest-growing professional roles, finds the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2023. Plus, because more workers are choosing employers who align with their own values – and if not, "climate quitting" – organizations that perform well at managing ESG risks and opportunities "will have the upper hand in attracting and retaining talent," states PwC's ESG trends in 2023.

Running energy-efficient datacenters, recycling electronic waste, minimizing food waste, and facilitating research into a greener cloud for enterprises are some of the environmental initiatives that we have so far committed to within our company. However, we know that to make a lasting difference, ESG efforts must prove their positive, concrete impacts on society at large. Our ambition is to be an industry leader in best practices for sustainability. Besides continuing on our own journey to make IT sustainable – which can entail how we manage data, make hardware decisions, design architecture, establish workplace policies, and so much more – we want to enable similarly sustainable operations and measurable outcomes among our customers. Providing mission-critical IT to organizations responsible for some of the world's most vital industries, we believe that our work can have profound ripple effects.

7) A perpetual learning culture

In an era of rapid-fire technological evolution and geopolitical volatility, businesses environments have themselves become highly dynamic. Related technological disruptions to and around work are impacting the nature and the future of jobs. As much as 23% of jobs and 44% of skills are expected to be disrupted in the next five years, according to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs Report 2023. And as many as 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not even been invented yet, according Gallup. However, Gallup also notes how organizations that have made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain employees. What's more, "high-performing learning organizations," says Deloitte, are 92% likelier to innovate, as they seize learning solutions that are future-focused and respond to and transmit back to business needs.

To maintain business continuity throughout these changes, likely only to intensify in 2024, organizations must foster a perpetual learning culture. We have seen how such an environment enables enterprises to leverage the full potential of emerging technologies while remaining agile amidst global turbulence. Learning also nourishes creative thinking and experimentation, which leads to innovation. Skilled learners more readily innovate, says a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, pointedly asking: "what is innovation if not the learning how to solve a problem in a new way?" Upskilling and reskilling workforces must therefore include not just training for jobs, but also the evergreen lesson of learning how to learn. For us, this takes the form of a culture in which engineers can fully embrace the engineering work they were hired for as well as where individuality, unique perspective, and personal time – including away from work – are valued.