Gartner Top Strategic Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

Amid AI, privacy laws, diversity and cloud, CIOs must harness the chaos of continuous change.

For patients with chronic illnesses in rural areas, clinician shortages can present a real health challenge. A flare-up or health issue might mean a trip to the emergency room, which is costly for the patient and the hospital. Now, patients can meet with doctors in different cities by utilizing virtual care, which provides convenient and cost-effective healthcare.

AI-enhanced virtual care is one of Gartner’s 10 top predictions for 2019 and beyond. The predictions examine three fundamental effects of continued digital innovation: AI and skills, cultural advancement and processes becoming products.

Organizations can turn continuous change into an asset if they sharpen their vision

The rate of change is outpacing the ability of an enterprise to keep up. Organizations should use the predictions for strategic planning and to improve their vision of the future.

“Organizations can turn continuous change into an asset if they sharpen their vision in order to see the future coming ahead of the change,” said Daryl Plummer, Gartner Distinguished Vice President, Analyst, at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 in Orlando, Florida.

AI skills don’t scale

Through 2020, 80% of AI projects will remain alchemy, run by wizards whose talents will not scale in the organization.

In the past five years, the increasing popularity and hype surrounding AI techniques have led to an increase in projects across organizations. However, the overwhelming hype has also led to unreasonable expectations from the business. Further, change is outpacing the production of competent professionals, which means that AI is more an art form than a science. The lack of a common language among all parties remains as a barrier to scalability, as does how specific and narrow most AI skill sets remain. Combining new skills with AI-based automation will unlock scale potential.

Read more: The CIO’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence

AI locates missing people

By 2023, there will be an 80% reduction in missing people in mature markets compared to 2018, due to AI face recognition.

Over the next few years, advances in AI will lead to increasingly sophisticated facial recognition technology, particularly useful in identifying lost children or elderly citizens. Although current facial recognition is limited in application, the speed of recognition using one-to-many matching, even in large sample sets, is less than 600 microseconds.

Virtual care improves health

By 2023, U.S. emergency department visits will be reduced by 20 million due to enrollment of chronically ill patients in AI-enhanced virtual care.

Virtual healthcare has demonstrated that it can offer more convenient and cost-effective care than conventional face-to-face care. Clinician shortages, in addition to an increased focus on outcomes, coordinated care and population health, are driving a push to more efficient and effective care models. Successful use of virtual care lowers costs and improves quality of delivery as well as overall access to care.

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Affidavits fail cyberbullying

By 2023, 25% of organizations will require employees to sign affidavits to avoid cyberbullying, but 70% of these initiatives will fail.

In an attempt to curb workplace cyberbullying, enterprises will strengthen workplace codes of conduct and require employees to sign affidavits of agreement. However, cyberbullying isn’t eradicated by agreements — that requires a shift in organizational culture. Companies should begin to train employees to recognize and report cyberbullying.

Diversity drives financial targets

Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets.

Companies understand the benefits of diversity, but must now move toward a focus on different types of diversity (e.g., thought processes and work styles) and a deliberate focus on inclusivity. These policies should be co-developed by business and HR leaders.

Personal data poisons blockchain

By 2022, 75% of public blockchains will suffer “privacy poisoning” — inserted personal data that renders the blockchain noncompliant with privacy laws.

With the steep learning curve associated with blockchain technology, developers are at risk for accidentally storing personal data in a noncompliant way. Because blockchains are immutable, personal data can’t be deleted without compromising chain integrity. However, continuing to store personal data violates privacy legislation. Establish privacy-by-design principles at the onset of the blockchain architecture, including a ban on free text, where personal data would be stored.

Read more: The CIO’s Guide to Blockchain

Privacy laws cripple ad sales

By 2023, e-privacy regulations will increase online costs by minimizing the use of “cookies,” thus crippling the current internet ad revenue machine.

As legislation to protect consumers’ data becomes more prevalent, it will impede the current internet advertising infrastructure and its major players. Traditionally, companies use consumer data via cookies to personalize and direct ads, but GDPR and e-privacy laws require informed consent of how that information will be used and possibly sold.

Cloud spawns new products

Through 2022, a fast path to digital will be converting internal capabilities to external revenue-generating products using cloud economics and flexibility.

Historically, internal IT teams looking to market unique capabilities haven’t been able to for economic, technical and marketing reasons. However, cloud infrastructure and cloud service providers solve many of these challenges. Supporting scale is the cloud provider’s responsibility, the app store markets the app, and cloud tools make support and enhancement easier. As companies begin to see digital revenue from marketing internal tools, others will follow suit.

Gatekeepers gain market share

By 2022, companies leveraging the “gatekeeper” position of the digital giants will capture 40% global market share on average in their industry.

In 2019, the digital giants will deliver double-digit revenue growth by attracting more users globally and supporting more usage. These companies control vast economic ecosystems. With increasing connections and users, they are poised to gain even more market share.

Consumers ignore security breaches

Through 2021, social media scandals and security breaches will have effectively zero lasting consumer impact.

The benefits of using technology will outweigh security and privacy concerns. People generally feel technology companies should be regulated, but despite recent security breaches, most continue using digital services and companies make very limited changes in the wake of an event.

Gartner clients can read more in Top Strategic Predictions for 2019 and Beyond: Practicality Exists Within Instability by Daryl Plummer et al. 

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