Gartner: Top 10 future strategic IT predictions

From the impact of 3D printing to securing tons of data, Gartner lists the biggest IT challenges through 2020.

Gartner opened its Symposium/ITxpo extravaganza with a bit of good news: Worldwide IT spending is forecast to reach $3.8 trillion in 2014, a 3.6% increase from 2013.

But with that growth there are big changes afoot and as Gartner will, it took a look at what some of the biggest changes - including the impact of 3D printing, automation and security threats -- will mean for anyone involved in IT.

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Disruptions in IT have increased in frequency and impact over the past 20 years and are expected to continue growing. The key however is to build on past experiences and to try and get through the chaos said Gartner Managing Vice President & Fellow Daryl Plummer as he outlined what he called the "Top 10 Strategic Predictions: Gartner Predicts a Disruptive and Constructive Future for IT"

The Top 10 goes like this:

1.   By 2016, 3D printing of tissues and organs (what Gartner calls bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and nonhuman use.

Enterprises must develop policies for acceptable research parameters in bioprinting, as well as investigate the legal aspects of protecting the resulting intellectual property, Gartner says.

2.   By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least $100 billion per year in intellectual property globally

Counterfeit Goods Are Inevitable.  The U.S. alone has more than $300 billion in intellectual property stolen annually.  By 2016, Gartner says the global automotive aftermarket will hit $15 billion worth of 3D theft. IT will need to develop ways to validate that products are genuine.

3.   By 2017, over half of consumer goods manufacturers will achieve 75% of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions

CIOs must focus on building the right culture to support what Gartner calls "bottom-up contribution." Without it - and without employees who care - these initiatives are likely to fail.  This means companies will need to be better in touch with customers and crowdsourcing technology.

4.   By 2017, 80% of consumers will collect, track and barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience and customization. 

Marketers and marketing analysts need to evaluate predictive and prescription models based on behavior to determine long-term data collection and reward strategies.  The number of Kickstarter-based auctions of personal data will increase by triple digit percentages by end of 2014.

5.   By 2020, enterprises and governments will fail to protect 75% of sensitive data, and declassify and grant broad/public access to it

Enterprises and governments should accept that sharing many, seemingly sensitive, data is neither dangerous nor unprofitable, politically and economically. Why? Because of a number factors including the fact that the growth of data will exceed protective mechanisms.  More "Snowden" or "Wiki-leaks" moments through 2014 indicating corporations and governments acceptance that they cannot protect all sensitive information.

6.   By 2020, the labor reduction effect of digitization will cause social unrest and a quest for new economic models in mature economies

CEOs and boards must avoid using old economic models in the new digital reality in that digitization can reduce jobs. 

7.   By 2024, at least 10% of activities potentially injurious to human life will require mandatory use of a non-overidable "smart system."

Machines already decide our safety in a number of situations.  CIOs and IT leaders should help identify where and how the deployment of automated systems might improve product safety and/or enhance competitive attractiveness

8.    By 2020, most knowledge workers' career paths will be disrupted by smart machines in positive and negative ways

 IT professionals need to recognize that smart machines can create substantial competitive advantages, as well as entirely new businesses. Gartner said such smart machines will soon decide what happens to many jobs. There is a large and growing market for IBM Watson-derived smart advisors, Gartner stated and Google and Apple are  actively developing personal assistants. 

9.    By 2017, 10% of computers will be learning, rather than processing

Gartner cited the fact that deep neural networks are evolving - and IBM has a library of 150 neuromorphic macros.   Gartner predicted in 2014 the number of speech recognition apps will double and that by 2015 the number of developers using IBM's library of smarter macros will quadruple

Enterprises must prepare for a new method of programming, nay, training, computers and work on developing in-house workshop for "Programming by Example".

10.               By 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales from the Global 1000

What to do? Design wearables for new use cases, not as replacements for existing technology, Gartner says.

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