UPDATED 16:12 EST / OCTOBER 21 2020


Gartner’s IT predictions: DNA storage, expanding CIO roles and more

Research firm Gartner Inc. thinks traditional computing technologies will “hit a digital wall” by 2025.

That’s just one forecast from Gartner that it released as part of a set of end-of-year predictions from its analysts exploring how enterprise technology could evolve in 2021 and beyond. The predictions were published against the backdrop of the firm’s virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo event this week. They provide insight into some of the emerging technologies that could enter the enterprise in the coming years, as well as the new organizational processes that may emerge from these technological changes.

On the theme of digital disruption of traditional information technologies, the research firm says the use of artificial intelligence in devices will become so persuasive that traditional general-purpose processors will struggle to keep up. Gartner makes the argument that this will accelerate the shift to other types of chip architectures, as well as potentially drive changes in how digital data is stored. 

“A variety of advanced computing architectures will emerge over the next decade,” said Daryl Plummer, Gartner’s distinguished research vice president and Gartner Fellow.  “In the short-term, such technologies could include extreme parallelism, DNN-on-a chip or neuromorphic computing. In the long-term, technologies such as printed electronics, DNA storage and chemical computing will create a wider range of innovation opportunities.”

Gartner believes that DNA storage may attract particular interest from enterprises. The nascent technology, which is being developed by the likes of Microsoft Corp., could potentially store information using a fraction of the space of current methods and with greater reliability. Gartner estimates that “30% of digital businesses will mandate DNA storage trials” by 2024.

The firm believes that, as technology becomes an even more important component of business operations, chief information officers will start taking on certain responsibilities typically associated with the chief operating officer role. Gartner estimates that as many as a quarter of CIOs at traditional large enterprises could effectively become “COO[s] by proxy” by 2025.

Among the other trends expected to materialize in the enterprise during this time frame is an even bigger focus on analytics. Three-quarters of conversations at work will be recorded and analyzed for tasks such as ensuring regulatory compliance, according to Gartner, while 30% of major organizations will use a new “voice of society” metric to help them react more effectively to societal issues.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, being tone deaf to societal issues can rapidly and irreparably hurt a brand,” commented Gartner’s Daryl Plummer. “By responding to the voice of society, more product brand names or messages are going to be changed or dropped through next year than in the previous five years combined.”

Technological shifts in the coming years will affect customer experiences as well, Gartner posits. Thanks to automation technologies such as warehouse robots, by 2025, the person who buys a physical product or produce may be the first human to touch it in more than 20% of cases. Another trend on Gartner’s radar: Its analysts believe customers will increasingly pay freelance customer service experts to sort out issues with companies on their behalf. 

Photo: Unsplash

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