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The nine for ‘19: Citrix’s top nine tech trends for 2019

21 Dec 2018

Article by Citrix chief technology officer Christian Reilly

That’s pretty much it. In what feels like the blink of an eye, we’re closing the books on 2018 and gearing up for an incredible 2019.

In the office of the CTO here at Citrix, we always do things a little differently. As we dust off our crystal ball, instead of delivering the standard “Top 10”; here’s my take on the “nine for 19” – nine key thoughts, trends and technologies that I believe will be crucial in 2019.

  1. A new CIO - the rise of the Chief Innovation Officer – as the hype around Digital Transformation subsides and gives way to measurable initiatives across different industries, a new breed of CIO will continue to emerge. Being both technology and business savvy, with a relentless ability to challenge the status quo will be hallmarks of this role. A change agent by definition, they will tear down the remaining barriers between “IT and the business” and focus on the “why” of technology, rather than the “how”.  
  2. Transformation will fail without new business models - today, global business is in a constant state of change and evolution. We’ve all heard how “Digital Transformation” promises so much to so many different industries. It’s very common to hear about how technology is part of the strategy, but far less common to hear a cohesive story of how the new business models benefit from and are supported by it. For many enterprises today, new technologies can’t be applied for the sake of technology, or as we’ve seen in the past – they simply won’t deliver the outcomes the business requires.  
  3. The Gig Economy - we are beginning to see the evolution of different kinds of expectations on how we “do work” also play out in one of the most disruptive business models - the gig economy. In many cases, organisations today are still struggling to provide a comprehensive and enabling “user experience” for their existing full-time employees and contract workers. Prepare for new kinds of emerging challenges with the tectonic shift in how the “work” for companies gets re-imagined, re-packaged and executed in this new paradigm.  
  4. People-centric Computing – the long-sought-after balance between user demand and IT needs will finally be struck by delivering an adaptive digital workspace that focuses on the intent of the user and learns how they prefer to work using the transactional information gathered from each individual. This constantly adapting “workspace” context is aimed at driving better individual productivity and more proactive security. The people-centric computing approach will provide the best user experience while getting technology “out of the way” and will allow IT to define and enforce dynamic policies to ensure compliance via visibility into user actions.  
  5. AI becomes less Sci-Fi - although AI is not new, it is certainly one of the most misunderstood trends. The arguments raging around “the dangers of AI” are interesting, but it’s highly unlikely that we’re going to be wiped out by mal-intentioned robots. Conversely, we’re seeing the rapid commoditisation of Artificial Narrow Intelligence – in the context of Machine Learning, applied in ways that augment the human worker. Perhaps the real question is how much more productive can we be in the short term by embracing AI and how many more jobs will it create in 2019?  
  6. Bots take over the menial tasks - we are, and will continue to be, richer than ever in terms of the capability of technology. And yet, even executing the simplest of tasks still requires significant understanding of an application works. Again, we see the convergence of enabling technologies being leveraged to drive simplicity and productivity by removing these traditional barriers and allowing the consumer-like experience to prevail. The bots are everywhere – delivering better customer service than ever, and working on our behalf to eliminate tedious everyday tasks such as making appointments or paying bills.  
  7. New Human Compute Interface - our physical relationship with “the machines” changes in 2019. Most of us have grown up with the keyboard and mouse being the most familiar input devices – a paradigm that has spanned at least two generations. Rapidly, we are moving into a world where the real and virtual worlds are becoming one, and the way we interact with machines is becoming our own personal choice. Whether we touch the screen, talk to the device or fully immerse ourselves in a different experience, where gesture control and physical movement becomes the way we explore, learn, create and engage.  
  8. Applications evolve, DevOps doesn’t – the rapid adoption of SaaS applications continues at pace, primarily to replace or augment existing “traditional” on-premises applications. In addition, organisations will see a huge growth in the “home grown” development of new applications and these will use new architectures and deployment models – both on-premises and in public clouds. But DevOps will continue to be out of reach as the gaps in existing siloes between traditional departments and sub-departments fail to close.  
  9. Hybrid Cloud is crowned King (for now) – for at least a decade, the purists have argued the case on both sides of the public and private cloud divide. The reality is that both have valid reasons for being considered across every industry. The hybrid cloud model reigns in 2019, taking into account the placement of “workloads, applications and services” across a variety of different on-premises and public clouds to best suit the needs of the customer. In addition, multi-cloud strategies, for reasons of cost, performance, compliance, reliability and risk reduction will also become part of the standard enterprise architecture and deployment.

Whether I’m right with my predictions for 2019, only time will tell. However, I see a future where creators, curators and consumers will be equally important – with some of the skills we take for granted today being augmented or replaced by the application of new technology. In some cases, core technology is rapidly becoming democratised to pave the way for an entirely new set of empowered workers – not all of whom will be human.

Let the good times roll.

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