2019 in enterprise technology – a look back

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Every year Verizon makes its predictions for technology trends that are most likely to impact our global enterprise and government customers. As the end of 2019 approaches, we wanted to take a moment to look back at what we said at the end of last year. Did we get it right?

Our first key prediction was that the Real-Time Enterprise would begin to transform how business works in 2019. Foundational technologies like Software Defined Networks, 4G LTE, the Internet of Things, were already changing the operations of business, so we thought that 2019 would be a year for CIOs to focus on how to reinvent their operations to leverage the enormous potential promised by the new disruptive technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence/machine learning, automation and robotics. Overall, we think this is right – we think there’s been a definite first move advantage for organizations moving into the digital space early, and focusing on the potential of disruption. And what’s more, from our position today, it’s very clear that 5G enterprise use cases are emerging very rapidly. First movers are therefore now extremely well placed to maintain their leadership position.

We also thought that in 2019, businesses would invest for performance. We think this is definitely correct – around the globe, our customers all recognize that a secure, strong network foundation is critical if they are to be able to deliver innovative platforms and solutions to move their business forward. You can’t run a modern business without secure, flexible network capacity to drive applications.

We then said we thought that the customer experience (CX) would also be a major focus this year. This is one trend we think still has more opportunity. Yes, AI has begun infiltrating CX systems, but we’ve still not achieved the status of ‘personalization for you’. Many brands are still taking the easy option of one size fits all, and defaulting to the electronic menu, rather than using technology AND human engagement to create trusted relationships.

Our fourth prediction was that 2019 would be a year when CIOs would focus on the transaction guarantee, ie defining policies to support the specific application, time, security or location needs that will make the difference to their business. This is specifically relevant in a world driven by software-defined networking (SDN) and again, is something that we think too few organizations have been able to achieve. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the coming months.

Our next thought was that organizations would focus down on contextual privacy, linked to location-based awareness. This is something that we’re definitely seeing across our customer base, as organizations look to change their security approach to keep personally identifying data secure. Data privacy remains a key concern for both businesses and individuals – you don’t trust the brand that gives your personal information away.

We then had said that we thought that 2019 would be the year that automation would transform the workforce. This is definitely beginning, but has not taken root as quickly as we anticipated. But we are definitely seeing a concerted focus from businesses around the globe on the new skillsets their workforce will need in an automated world - future “skills needs” are distinctly different to yesterday’s business requirements. The challenge of where to find data scientists and machine learning specialists is one that every organization faces. 

Finally, we thought that organizations would continue to double down on security and IT hygiene. And this is definitely true. Network-level security is essential in a software-defined world. Security cannot be ignored, in a world where data breaches hit the front page almost every week.

Overall, our view was that in 2019, customers wanted to gain customer and operational insights immediately, and we did see video and location-based services emerging to solve for that issue. Digital transformation is now a given and accelerating, so organizations would need to show how they could build and manage digital to change their business opportunity. But our key takeaway? There’s still a way to go.

We’ll be releasing our predictions for 2020 in early January. Watch this space.

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