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Six key trends set to impact infrastructure & operations
Wed, 6th Dec 2023

Leading research and advisory company Gartner, Inc. has identified six major trends that will significantly impact infrastructure and operations (I&O) over the course of the next 12 to 18 months. These predictions include machine customers; AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRiSM); augmented-connected workforce trends; continuous threat exposure management; the democratisation of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI); and changes driven by nationalism versus globalism.

According to Jeffrey Hewitt, Vice President Analyst at Gartner, I&O leaders have limited resources to track emerging trends and their potential impact on I&O. He suggests that "I&O leaders should use the top trends impacting I&O for 2024 to identify which are most likely to impact their organisation and implement effective tactics to respond."

Among the top trends cited by Gartner is a rise in machine customers. These non-human economic actors, including virtual personal assistants, smart appliances and connected cars, procure goods or services in exchange for payment. Gartner forecasts that by 2027, half the population of advanced economies will use AI personal assistants daily. However, Hewitt notes, such machine customers require "a reworking of operating and business models", urging I&O leaders to identify suitable use cases and develop digital commerce and generative AI skills to benefit.

In terms of AI TRiSM, Gartner believes that this approach could enhance the acceptance and success of AI models by 50% by 2026, improving not only their efficacy but also their fairness, reliability and robustness. The approach moreover supports AI model governance and data protection, thereby avoiding potential regulatory, financial, societal and ethical issues.

New workforce trends also feature in Gartner's predictions, highlighting an augmented-connected approach. Through intentional management and customisation of technology services and applications, such a workforce can enhance experience and well-being, while supporting skills development, accelerating onboarding and driving business results.

Another significant trend identified is the adoption of a continuous threat exposure management (CTEM) programme. This innovative approach addresses the expanded threat landscape that accompanies technology growth and shifts the focus from a purely preventative approach to a strategy that incorporates detection and response capabilities. Hewitt encourages I&O to establish a CTEM team to manage potential on-premises infrastructure, cloud and edge vulnerabilities.

The democratisation of GenAI is expected to grow, according to a Gartner poll conducted in September 2023 in which 55% of 1,400 executive leaders confirmed their organisations were piloting or producing with GenAI. However, Hewitt warns, misuse or overuse of GenAI could lead to additional costs and negative environmental impacts.

The final trend acknowledges the impact of nationalism versus globalism on infrastructure and operations, suggesting that international conflicts and nationalistic views could result in a more insular approach to technologies, with implications for reliability and efficiency.