Greg Lehane of BearingPoint Ireland said AI is at the centre of a new wave of advancement and also expects IT teams to shift from being product providers into platform providers.
Management and tech consultancy BearingPoint has shared some predictions for how various sectors will unfold in 2024.
Unsurprisingly, AI is at the top of the list when it comes to which technology will be the most influential. Generative AI surged in popularity last year and continues to be a hot topic in 2024, with Big Tech companies such as Microsoft and Meta showing their focus towards this technology.
Greg Lehane, the technology advisory director of BearingPoint Ireland, made a prediction in 2023 that generative AI would shake things up. He returns this year to share his predictions on how the technology will evolve and some key insights for IT leaders to take note of.
Generative AI will be the main disruptive tech trend
The focus on generative AI has not slowed down this year and various other experts have predicted that the technology will remain the key topic in the tech sector for 2024.
“The explosion of generative AI into the mainstream has surprised everyone with the speed and disruptive potential it brings, causing many to pause and consider what kind of a future we will live in,” Lehane said.
“AI is at the centre in driving this new wave of advancement across a broad spectrum of technological trends that are reshaping the way we live, and the way we do business.”
Lehane notes that generative AI is enabling new products, problem-solving, prediction, research and personal efficiency “across a broad spectrum of domains”, making it the most influential and disruptive tech trend.
“It is also posing significant risks and challenges that require responsible AI frameworks and alignment with human values and intentions.”
BearingPoint claims the majority of business leaders they have surveyed acknowledge that generative AI will play a fundamental role “in a variety of ways” for their organisations.
“The vast majority will increase investment in AI tools, with a highly optimistic outlook on how this capability will impact positively on their organisation,” Lehane said.
“However, considering the broad range of capabilities that generative AI can bring, its ability to spark creative thinking will have the most significant transformative impact, allowing proficient adopters to gain an early edge in bringing new ideas to the table in 2024.”
Safe adoption will cause delays
But while companies are all racing to integrate generative AI into their services, Lehane notes that IT leaders face a “difficult challenge” of bringing in new technology while protecting themselves from “the emergent and diverse nature of threat that new tech can bring”.
“Many organisations are evaluating AI using sandbox controls,” Lehane said. “This will understandably delay the roll-out of new capabilities until leadership teams are comfortable that adoption can be conducted safely and in anticipation of maturity, cost and future compliance obligations which may not yet be clear, especially in the case of AI.”
Lehane said Europe is taking the lead in policy development around AI, such as by controlling the use of biometric identification tools in public and by requiring generative AI tools such as ChatGPT to publish “detailed summaries of copyrighted data used to train their models”.
“The advice is to adopt responsible AI frameworks now in anticipation of future enforceable regulation coming onstream,” he said.
Cybersecurity budgets will grow
Cybersecurity has also been a key topic over the past year, with various high-profile attacks showing just how disruptive they can be to both organisations or entire sections of critical infrastructure.
With this focus in mind, BearingPoint predicts that there will be a “significant increase” in cybersecurity budgets this year to fortify “digital defence mechanisms”.
“The ‘zero-trust’ approach to security design will continue to gain momentum as organisations take a more cautious and vigilant approach to protecting digital assets – adopting a mindset that any human or system interacting with your infrastructure is not only capable of, but likely to do damage,” Lehane said.
Digital platforms will drive new products
BearingPoint believes tech platforms are now the “de-facto king” when it comes to driving change through technology and that the innovation landscape will continue to be “dominated by cloud hyperscaler platforms”, which will be springboards for innovation in product development and open doors for more organisations.
“A much broader demographic is now enabled to participate in product development, leveraging features and capabilities that were previously only accessible by large enterprises and tech giants,” Lehane said. “The democratising impact of platforms is clear and is serving to accelerate delivery of new tech to an increasingly ‘always on’ and mobile consumer base enabled by 5G and high bandwidth network connectivity.”
IT will shift to a platform provider role
Lehane noted some key changes occurring in the IT sector, with low-code and no-code platforms helping non-technical users to automate workflows that previously required input from IT teams. He also said cloud providers are evolving their technology platforms with industry specific features that offer “composable product platforms directly to the business”.
Thanks to changes such as these, Lehane believes the role of IT in organisations is shifting from “being a product provider to being a platform provider”.
“Software development teams are increasingly orienting towards platform engineering in allowing product-focused teams (or individuals) in the business to tailor platforms to specific requirements,” Lehane said. “Powered up with code level AI assistants, software developers are demonstrating completion of coding tasks much more quickly.
“By expediting manual and repetitive tasks, helping to draft initial versions of code and interpreting documentation – this is also serving to improve the developer experience. Expect high demand for AI tools to enhance development team productivity in 2024 – but do try before you buy.”
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