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Gartner’s 2024 predictions: Lots of AI, changing cybersecurity roles, electricity rationing, and more

News Analysis
Oct 18, 20236 mins
CareersGenerative AINetwork Security

Gartner’s top predictions for enterprise IT organizations are dominated by AI, which is influencing trends including employee unionization, application modernization, and smart robots.

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AI will play a significant role in enterprise IT in the coming year, and the influence of generative AI will permeate other tech trends on the horizon. Smart robots, a rise in employee unionization, and growing power-availability concerns are among the top predictions for 2024 and beyond from research firm Gartner, which is hosting its annual IT Symposium/Xpo this week.

“This is the first full year with generative AI (GenAI) at the heart of every strategic decision, and every other technology-driven innovation has been pushed out of the spotlight,” said Leigh McMullen, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner. “GenAI has broken the mold and has kept building more excitement.”

Indeed, nearly all of Gartner’s top strategic predictions revolve around AI and its impact. Here are the firm’s top predictions for IT organizations and users in 2024 and beyond:

By 2027, GenAI tools will be used to explain legacy business applications and create appropriate replacements, reducing modernization costs by 70%.

“The maturity of large language models (LLMs) offers an opportunity for CIOs to find credible and long-awaited mechanism for modernizing legacy business applications in a cost-effective manner,” according to Daryl Plummer, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner.

By 2028, enterprise spend on battling malinformation will surpass $30 billion, cannibalizing 10% of marketing and cybersecurity budgets to combat a multifront threat.

The most effective malinformation influences humans’ and machines’ decision-making mechanisms and can be extremely hard to detect and shut down, Gartner stated. Malinformation presents threats across three disparate functional areas: cybersecurity, marketing and AI. 

“The rapid rise of GenAI has put fire under the feet of regulators about including malinformation as one of the risks associated with the increasing power and availability of GenAI to bad actors,” said Plummer. “Enterprises who maintain a close watch on bad actors, regulators and providers of tools and technology that help combat malinformation are likely to gain significant advantage over competitors.” 

By 2028, the rate of unionization among knowledge workers will increase by 1,000%, motivated by the adoption of GenAI.

Executives are quick to call out AI as a cause of positions being eliminated. Therefore, it is important for executive leaders to communicate clearly with their employees their intent for internal AI deployments. Organizations that adopt GenAI and fail to clearly address AI anxiety among their knowledge workers will experience 20% higher rates of turnover, Gartner stated.

“Organizations should focus their AI efforts on worker augmentation to improve productivity and quality of work, rather than role automation,” Plummer said.

By 2027, the productivity value of AI will be recognized as a primary economic indicator of national power.

National governments have a strong commitment to AI and are prioritizing strategies and plans that recognize AI as a key technology in both private and public sectors. Incorporating AI into long-term national planning is being reinforced through the implementation of corresponding acts and regulations to bolster AI initiatives. “Successful implementation of large-scale AI initiatives necessitates the support and collaboration of diverse stakeholders, showcasing the mobilization and convening ability of national resources,” Plummer stated.

By 2027, 45% of chief information security officers (CISOs) will expand their remit beyond cybersecurity, due to increasing regulatory pressure and attack surface expansion.

Responsibilities for security management and digital assets are fragmented across multiple divisions and teams, with the CISO overseeing the overall digital asset portfolio. This creates inconsistencies in support for regulatory disclosures, assurance of digital security and effective management of security incidents, reducing the overall performance of the organization, according to Gartner. Expanding the portfolio of the CISO will enable a unification of security management, providing oversight of the consolidated security incident management process throughout the organization.

By 2028, there will be more smart robots than frontline workers in manufacturing, retail and logistics due to labor shortages.

Most manufacturing, retail and logistics companies cannot find or retain enough people to support their day-to-day operations. This will cause supply chain organizations to struggle to find enough front-line workers over the next decade. Robots will help fill this gap. A December 2022 Gartner survey found that 96% of supply chain technology workers have either deployed or plan to deploy cyber-physical automation and 35% have already deployed robots, with 61% piloting or in the middle of their first implementation.

By 2026, 50% of G20 members will experience monthly electricity rationing, turning energy-aware operations into either a competitive advantage or a major failure risk.

Aging grid infrastructures are limiting the ability to add electricity generating capacity, yet demand for electricity continues to increase. Enterprises are assessing energy price and accessibility as a competitiveness, which means stable access to electricity for customers will become a competitive advantage. Because of this, executive leaders are creating energy-aware operations through optimization and direct investment in energy generation.

By 2026, 30% of workers will leverage digital charisma filters to achieve previously unattainable advances in their career.

A digital charisma filter prompts and sifts communications to make them more socially effective in various situations. Digital charisma filters will improve organizations’ abilities to expand hiring to include more diverse workers. “Organizations can expand their talent pool by incorporating the use of digital charisma filter assistants to improve the congruency of interactions at all phases of recruiting and employment,” Plummer stated.

By 2027, 25% of Fortune 500 companies will actively recruit neurodivergent talent across conditions like autism, ADHD and dyslexia to improve business performance.

“Organizations that hire and retain neurodivergent talent will experience increased employee engagement, productivity and innovation across the workforce,” Plummer stated. Fortune 500 companies are already investing in neurodiversity hiring programs and are seeing impacts on engagement and business outcomes. “Having openly neurodivergent leadership fosters a culture of inclusion and can be the most valuable action to take from the perspective of neurodivergent employees,” Plumber stated.

Through 2026, 30% of large companies will have a dedicated business unit or sales channels to access fast-growing machine customer markets.

Machine customers – those that comprise intelligent software and hardware only — will start to act as customers and will force a reshaping of key functions such as supply chain, sales, marketing, customer service, digital commerce and customer experience. In fact, by 2025, more than 25% of sales and service centers in large organizations will be fielding calls from machine customers. “Machine customers will need their own sales and service channels because they make transactions at high speeds and the volume of decision variables they use far exceed human capabilities,” Plummer stated.