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Top Tech Trends for 2020

The rapidly evolving technology landscape shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. With the dawn of a new decade fast approaching, the UK Tech News team spoke to 9 industry experts to discover what they think will be the top trends next year and what businesses and consumers should look out for. Here’s what they had to say:

Andrew Filev, Founder and CEO of Wrike

Flexible and remote working practices will increase in popularity

“Driven by the saturation of the workforce by millennial and Generation-Z workers, more offices will adopt university-campus-like flexibility, where seating isn’t assigned, teams can self-organise, and you’re just as likely to find a worker sprawled across a sofa as you are at a desk. Employers should embrace this flexibility, which combined with an increase in mobile working – will save enterprises up to 25% on commercial real estate and energy costs.”

Christian Reilly, vice president and chief technology officer, Citrix

Employee experience will become front of mind

“In the recent past, many organisations have spent a considerable amount of financial and human resource focusing on the customer experience. Building digital platforms to engage customers and using those digital platforms to retain customers to improve your customer Net Promoter Score. And yet in 2020, we’re going to see a shift away from the customer experience, and much more focus on the employee experience.

“So many digitally mature organisations are already starting to place an importance on enabling technologies and processes to drive employee experience. Our research has shown us, improved employee experience certainly boosts customer experience but also improves internal Net Promoter Score, which is extremely important for the war on talent.

“If you can’t build an environment that supports the needs of your employees, they’re going to find that at another company. Fundamentally, ease of use and flexibility are key pillars to enabling employee experience. The trend will result in new methods of tracking behaviours that can inform new technologies and processes; ultimately improving the value to the organisation.”

Simon Marchand, Chief Fraud Prevention Officer, Security & Biometrics Business, Nuance Communications

Companies will own up to their responsibility for safety

“Companies have a responsibility to stop the broader implications of fraud that go beyond their bottom line and their brand perception. It’s not only about preventing customer information from being stolen, it’s preventing fraudsters from getting in organisations with information stolen elsewhere.”

“Many companies will increasingly allocate more resources to understanding the growing sophistication of fraudsters and the latest fraud attack vectors (SIM swapping, mules, scripting, etc.), the consequences of criminally acquired credentials (emails, zip codes, SSNs, and other highly personal information), and the technology and best practices to protect against fraud. Part of this will be done tactically—for example by tracking the life of a stolen credential (from it being sold on the Dark Web, to being used to acquire credit cards and goods that are then sold for a profit, to the use of these profits to fund organized crime rings and more)—but also as a broader organisational mindset that fraud isn’t just a “cost of doing business” any more.”

Joe Garber, Global Vice President of Strategy and Solutions, Micro Focus

Organisations will look to invest in modernisation strategies, rather than costly products

“Digital transformation (DX) has been a hot topic for a number of years, and will continue to be for several more to come. What will change, however, is how organisations are attacking this challenge. Early on, many pursued DX with a portfolio of brand-new products that were generally not backwards compatible. This rip-and-replace strategy has proven to create too much risk and cost for many organisations, particularly those that have developed IP and key processes around critical IT over time. As a result, many will instead turn to modernising core business systems with solutions that are open and integrated.”

Anthony Di Bello, Vice President, Strategic Development, OpenText

Businesses will adopt automation to plug the security skills gap

“Security teams are understaffed and will remain so in 2020. Sadly, sophisticated attackers are probably as well or better resourced and staffed than most security departments.

“In 2020, businesses will increase their investment in technology as a force-multiplier for security teams that are already stretched thin. Greater automation and contextualisation of security alerts will help teams comb through mountains of false-alarms more quickly to prioritize the real threats.

“Unfortunately, any technology used for better cyber defense can also be applied by cyber attackers. Cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. The most secure enterprises will focus on information governance to protect their most valuable information, will use smart automation to deal with cyber threats at scale, and will adopt a zero-trust mindset toward endpoints and identity.”

Alberto Pan, Chief Technical Officer, Denodo

Selling information to third-parties using the Data-as-a-Service approach will become a growing source of revenue for big companies

“The effective use of enterprise data for strategic decision making has become a key priority for all big companies in the last few years. As a consequence, companies have created high quality datasets and a sophisticated technology architecture to manage them and expose them to consumers. Companies have also invested heavily in automating their business processes for greater efficiency.

“In the new year, since many big companies will now own high-value, unique data and services, the next logical step is reusing this infrastructure in order to offer them to third-parties. For instance, we are already seeing telecommunications companies selling customers geolocation data for a variety of purposes. This trend will be significantly accentuated during 2020 in all major industries.

“From the investment standpoint, this will involve higher demand for the technologies involved in creating and exposing data as a service, like GraphQL, Data Virtualization and/or API management tools”

Joel Farrow, MD, EMEA, Hibob

Supporting agile workforces will be key for businesses

“While agile working methods stemmed from software development, it’s no longer just technology companies and development teams that are adopting agile as a way of working. The next year will see even more businesses across a variety of industries shift towards an agile working model to enable them to remain relevant in an increasingly talent driven landscape. Agile working not only trusts its employees and cares about their wellbeing, but is simultaneously tied to strategic organisational goals. Ultimately, it allows companies to deepen their talent pool, accelerate productivity levels, streamline processes and keep people connected to the company for longer.

“In the year ahead, then, it will be important that businesses put tools and processes in place to manage their agile workforce successfully. Communicating constantly will be crucial and making sure agile collaboration guidelines are established from the outset is essential. With this, implementing the appropriate technology tools to enable remote working will help strengthen a company’s collaboration culture and keep employees engaged. There are a variety of specialist platforms available, from chat apps to telepresence robots, which can be easily integrated with an organisation’s HR system that will help to reinforce the agile workforce culture.”

Rodney Joffe, SVP and Fellow, Neustar & Chair of the Neustar International Security Council:

Security will become everyone’s business

“Next year will be less about a change in cyberattack trends and tactics, and more about coming to terms with the consequences of changes we’ve already seen. We know that DDoS attacks are getting smaller and more carefully targeted, in order to fly under the radar of traditional detection and mitigation tools. We understand that IoT investment is significantly expanding the attack surface area, giving malicious actors multiple potential entry points, from air conditioning units to CCTV to industrial machinery. And we’re all too aware that software supply chains are getting longer and more complex, as companies work with an increased number of third parties in pursuit of innovative, agile practices.

“As these trends continue to gather steam throughout 2020, we should not be watching for their impact on individual organisations, but instead for how they increasingly erode faith in whole institutions and even entire countries.

“Ironically, a key part of this will be a ‘zero trust’ stance. We can no longer afford to assume that the companies we partner with or buy from have done what’s needed when it comes to security – instead, we will start to see organisations working from an assumption that vulnerabilities exist and assessing evidence for proper security from that baseline. In 2020, we will see doubt and due diligence become part of much broader cyber security strategies.”