Some experts believe businesses will need to be smarter in their IT investments, while others predict a rise in managed cloud services and third-party platforms.
As companies continue to focus on digital transformation, IT is continuing to grow at a steady pace both in Ireland and internationally.
Last October, IT research company Gartner said that global IT spending is projected to reach $4.6trn this year, a 5.1pc increase compared to 2022.
Dell Technology Ireland recently said that many businesses are looking to accelerate their digital transformation plans with IT investments.
With the new year in full swing, various experts have shared their own predictions on how the IT sector will evolve in 2023.
Businesses will need to be smarter in IT investment
While companies are looking to digitally transform their businesses, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a clear path to achieve this goal.
AI company Laiye believes companies will need to be smart in how they invest in their IT for the best chances of growth in the year ahead.
The company’s chair and CEO Guanchun (Arvid) Wang said companies will need to “put their money where their mouth is” when it comes to digital transformation.
Wang said that 57pc of businesses claim they want to upgrade their systems, but only 7pc have a clear framework on implementing these changes.
“With IT budgets set to increase by 2pc in the UK, businesses must start planning and, more importantly, investing now,” Wang said. “Only then will businesses rid themselves of the shackles of legacy tech.”
Employers will be more flexible to retain IT staff
The Covid-19 pandemic saw a sudden shift to remote and hybrid working which was retained in many sectors even as lockdowns eased up.
Meanwhile, there have been concerns around a skills shortage in IT. Rusty King, CTO of the European division of managed services company Thrive, said this has made companies eager to retain their existing IT staff.
King said this desire to retain staff is also linked to the ongoing cost-of-living and energy pricing crisis.
“Match this up with home or hybrid working practices in place from the pandemic and the introduction of a younger workforce with different desires and collaboration practices, we will see far more ingenious flexible working patterns and locations,” King said.
King added that this could lead to more professional services-as-a-service opportunities for managed service providers (MSPs), in order to provide “some stability in case of IT team losses”.
A rise in managed cloud services
It’s no secret that cloud adoption is on the rise across many organisations. There are estimates that the cloud computing market will surpass a global value of $1trn by 2028.
A recent PwC survey found that Irish businesses have grown more reliant on cloud-based services and third-party providers in recent years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jake Madders, director of the UK cloud hosting provider Hyve, believes more organisations will utilise a cloud hybrid approach for 2023.
“For SMEs looking ahead, the use of outsourced managed cloud services is envisioned to become an increasingly routine practice in the near future,” Madders said.
Managed service providers will be vital for SMEs
The reliance on cloud-based services has also led to a rise in cyberattacks for Irish businesses, according to the recent PwC survey, with many businesses expecting cybercrime to increase this year. According to a new survey from IT service provider Typetec, nearly 80pc of Irish SMEs have experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months.
Marcin Kleczynski, founder and CEO of cybersecurity company Malwarebytes, said SMEs “disproportionately feel the weight” of cyberattacks as a single ransom demand can cause severe damage to these companies.
“Alongside choppy economic waters, 2023 is shaping up to be a potential perfect storm for SMEs who haven’t shored up cybersecurity defences,” Kleczynski said.
Kleczynski said managed service providers have become “a lifeline” for SMEs as they can support or take over the role of a security team to protect against cyberattacks.
“Amid the dual trends of targeted threats and economic turbulence, we’ll look back on 2023 as the year that MSPs rose to the occasion and received their deserved recognition as heroes of the cybersecurity industry,” Kleczynski said.
Convergence of OT and IT
The increased focus on digital transformation combined with global economic factors will accelerate the convergence of operational technology (OT) and IT systems, according to Yaniv Vardi, CEO of cybersecurity company Claroty.
OT involves systems or devices that interact with and monitor the physical environment, such as fire control, building management and industrial control systems.
Vardi said recent events have also given rise to more internet of things assets coming into the mix, “while companies are focusing on being more productive and competitive in this environment”.
“This in turn goes along with closer integrations between industries that were previously isolated from one another,” Vardi said.
Along with new collaborations between industries, Vardi also predicts that there will be closer ties between governments and the private sector in terms of cybersecurity, as IT has become “inextricably linked to geopolitical and economic stability”.
Companies will shift to platforms
As businesses get more interconnected and complex, new IT infrastructure is developed to address new requirements.
However, Kelly Ahuja, CEO of Versa Networks, believes we are past the days when specific IT products were built for a specific place in the enterprise, which has led to “bespoke islands of identity, policy, authentication and connectivity”.
“CIOs and CISOs will move to platforms that are extensible across multiple use cases to converge the number of solutions and reduce the overall lifecycle management cost and complexity,” Ahuja said.
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