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Deloitte’s 15th annual ‘Tech Trends’ report identifies advancements across six macro technology forces critical to business transformation

  • The report aims to help business and technology leaders separate signal from noise and embrace technology’s evolution as a tool to revolutionise business

  • Generative AI is the tech story of the year, but overfocusing on any single technology risks failing to see the forest for the trees.

  • Leading organisations are balancing new investments in emerging technologies with redoubled efforts to strengthen foundational infrastructure, core systems and technology teams.

  • While efficiency gains are low-hanging fruit, businesses cannot “shrink their way to success.” Pioneers are instead seeking to differentiate by using emerging technologies to catalyse growth, sustainability and innovation.

Deloitte’s annual “Tech Trends” report seeks to make sense of what’s now, new and next in enterprise tech. This 15th edition chronicles the growing business imperative to balance today’s tactical needs with tomorrow’s strategic ambitions. It further highlights how AI, including Generative AI, can liberate workers from the mundane, enabling them to concentrate on higher-value, future-oriented work, and boldly posits that in an age of creative machines, creative humans matter more than ever.

The history of IT has been defined by pioneering advances in interaction, information, and computation, which together serve as an enduring source of innovation. The Tech Trends report explores three ‘elevating forces’:

Interfaces in new places: Spatial computing and the industrial metaverse.

Augmented and virtual reality for consumer applications have garnered a lot of attention, but these technologies are making their biggest impact in industrial settings, where companies are using the industrial metaverse to power digital twins, spatial simulation, augmented work instructions and collaborative digital spaces that make factories and businesses safer and more efficient. Accessible, high-fidelity 3D assets are paving the way to an operationalised spatial web, where a digital layer atop reality accelerates ways of working. Eventually, autonomous machines, advanced networking, and ever-simpler interaction modalities will converge into to a “post-screen” future.

Genie out of the bottle: Generative AI as growth catalyst.

Enterprises are working quickly to adopt Generative AI, experimenting en masse. That said, leaders are turning the corner from “art of the possible” to “art of the profitable” by laying a firm foundation, prioritising data modernisation, identity, and access management, spend governance, hybrid architectures, and monitoring and observability. Leaders are further recognising that Generative AI, at its most strategic, is less about reducing costs and more about elevating ambitions.

Smarter, not harder: Beyond brute force compute.

While cloud services still provide more than enough functionality for most business-as-usual operations, cutting-edge use cases such as deep learning, complex simulations and digital twins require increasingly sophisticated code and computing power. Pioneering businesses are leveraging a heterogeneous mix of hybrid architectures, private and public clouds, hyperscale, niche and edge platforms to maximise their existing investments. Next up: Classical computing further augmented by rapidly maturing “post-digital” paradigms like quantum and neuromorphic computing.

“We’ve all got our eye on emerging technologies, but to ensure we can capitalise on the rapid technology evolution that we’re experiencing, we need to spread our focus beyond one singular hero of the future – namely AI,” says Deloitte New Zealand Partner, Matt Dalton.

“While Generative AI stands to transform the way we do things, we still need to place emphasis on empowering the people who use it to stay ahead of next-gen cyber threats.”

The report also highlights three ‘grounding forces’:

From DevOps to DevEx: Empowering the engineering experience.

As technology is increasingly viewed as a core differentiator of most businesses, tech talent is in turn becoming more in focus than ever. Yet, ways of working are far from efficient — time spent on feature development is trending downward. For companies dedicated to attracting, retaining and engaging the best tech talent, a new focus is emerging: developer experience, or DevEx, a developer-first mindset aiming to improve software engineers’ day-to-day productivity and satisfaction by taking into consideration their every touchpoint with the organisation. DevEx points to a future of integrated platform choices, intuitive toolchains, development pods and cultural shifts that together better enable both traditional and “citizen developers” to drive tech value.

Defending reality: Truth in an age of synthetic media.

With the proliferation of AI tools, it’s now easier than ever for bad actors to impersonate and deceive their targets. Deepfakes are being used to subvert voice and facial recognition access controls and in next-gen phishing attempts. The good news: a raft of emerging AI, ML and even quantum powered tools are poised to help contribute to the defense. Leading organisations are further responding through a mix of policies and technologies designed to more proactively identify harmful content and make employees more aware of the emergent risks.

Core workout: From technical debt to technical wellness.

After years of investments in once-cutting-edge innovations, companies are grappling with an expanded set of core technologies —mainframes, networks, data centres, and other systems in dire need of modernisation. Those who want to lead in the future need to forgo reactive and piecemeal approaches to technical debt for a more holistic frame: Technical wellness. Preventative wellness assessments help teams identify the areas of their tech stack that can continue serving business needs and prioritise those that need treatment. Directionally, this posture paves a path towards more personalised and cost effective remediations across the tech stack, even self-healing technologies that reduce tomorrow’s modernisation spend.

“Existing systems and investments—represented by the business of technology, core modernisation, cyber and trust—will need to integrate well with more pioneering innovations so that businesses can seamlessly operate while they grow,” continues Dalton.

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