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    3 IT Predictions for Leaders to Know in 2018

    2018-03-16

     

    The start of a new year is the perfect time to pause and reset priorities. Looking ahead to what 2018 will bring for IT leaders, there’s no shortage of changes. To boil it down to three big shifts, I think IT leaders in 2018 will become experience-obsessed, will see a flood of artificial intelligence, and will expand into new territory with low-code app development.

     

    Prediction #1: In 2018, IT leaders will become experience-obsessed.

     

    Customer experience. Employee experience. These two terms will be very hot topics in 2018 — and here’s why.

     

    Fifty-eight percent of consumers say that tech has significantly changed their expectations of how companies should interact with them, and 70% agree tech makes it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. With customer expectations higher than ever, IT leaders are feeling the pressure from every side of the business. Their counterparts in marketing, sales, and service are fixated on customer experience, as it’s an increasingly important success metric and competitive differentiator. The good news is that 77% of IT leaders now see IT as an extension/partner of business units rather than a separate function. To borrow a phrase from Salesforce Chief Digital Evangelist Vala Afshar, “IT is emerging in a role we’ve never seen it in before — as the ‘central nervous system’ of modern business.’”

     

    As I wrote about earlier this year, transforming the digital employee experience is a rising priority for IT leaders. Employees expect the same mobile-first, connected, and personalized experiences from their workplace that they’re accustomed to in their personal lives as consumers. It’s a matter of recruitment and of talent retention. Seventy-eight percent of IT leaders say that projects related to digital employee experience are a higher priority than they were just two years ago. A majority of teams (70%) deem employee satisfaction scores to be a very important KPI.

     

    #2: In 2018, businesses’ use of artificial intelligence will grow by 30%.

     

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the top three technologies that IT leaders expect will transform business by 2020. When we surveyed over 2,200 IT leaders for the second annual “State of IT” report, we learned that IT leaders anticipate 30% growth in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the next 12–18 months. However, I think 30% may be a conservative wager for 18 months, and predict we’ll see that level of adoption by 2019. This is in part because other parts of the business are gearing up for much larger boosts in AI. For instance, sales teams anticipate 139% growth in AI that automatically recommends products to customers based on their preference within 36 months.

     

    Already, high-performing IT teams are 2.2x more likely than underperformers to see AI as a critical or high priority.

     

    #3: In 2018, low-code development will be on every IT leaders’ list of things to try.

     

    As customer and employees alike increasingly expect constant innovation, speed is the name of the game for IT leaders. The speed of application/project delivery ranks as a top KPI, but the pace at which IT can complete projects is also a top challenge. As such, relatively few IT organizations plan to increase time- and resource-intensive full-stack development. Instead, more teams are exploring low-code solutions. Nearly nine out of 10 IT leaders (88%) are already using or plan to use low-code solutions over the next 12–18 months. IT leaders agree that low-code development will help not only with speed but also productivity, allowing tech staff to concentrate on more strategic initiatives and innovations.

     

    The power of low-code app development is that it empowers end-users to develop their own applications using easily-understood visual tools without programming lines of code. With low code, traditional developers within IT departments can also take an accelerated approach to building apps — collaborating with the business users.

     

    2018 Ushers in a New Era of IT

     

    It’s clear that IT has entered a new era — one that 75% of tech leaders say represents the biggest historical shift of its role. IT leaders have a chance to blaze trails for their business like never before.