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“IT industry must balance innovation with risk to succeed in 2020” states CompTIA

by Brian Sims

The global information technology (IT) industry heads into 2020 balancing its drive to produce new products and services with the need to address issues that are often by-products of innovation. That’s according to the ‘IT Industry Outlook 2020’ report produced by IT industry Trade Association CompTIA.

Moving past the hype surrounding emerging technologies and honing in on value-driven real business use cases, making cyber security a ‘front of mind’ business consideration rather than a technology task and melding Artificial Intelligence and automation into the workplace without eliminating the human element are just some of the challenges ahead for the industry identified in the CompTIA report.

As IT executives and business owners take on these challenges, they’ll be vigilant about the 2020 elections and what the outcome will mean for future industry regulation.

CompTIA forecasts that the global IT industry will grow at a rate of 3.7% in 2020, with upside potential in the 5.4% range and a downside floor of 1.9%.

“This is a narrower forecast range than we’ve seen in past years, suggesting industry executives are exercising a relatively high degree of caution in an unpredictable environment,” explained Seth Robinson, senior director for industry analysis at CompTIA.

CompTIA uses a consensus forecasting approach. This “wisdom of the crowds” model attempts to balance the opinions of large IT firms with smaller ones, as well as optimistic opinions with pessimistic opinions, in order to come up with a ‘best-fit forecast’ that reflects the sentiment of industry executives.

‘Ten Trends to Watch’ in 2020

CompTIA’s comprehensive report also provides insight into ten trends that will shape the IT industry, its workforce and its business models in the coming year. These are as follows:

*Tech-washing fades in favour of real strategy

*Workforce diversity grows in many ways

*Tech topics are front and centre in elections

*Hype meets reality with emerging technology

*The Internet of Things continues to redefine IT architecture

*Artificial Intelligence ‘eats the world’

*Demand for integration leads to demand for automation

*Cyber security becomes more operational

*Deepfakes and 5G exacerbate the data management challenge

*Tech industry regulation stirs fears

“Trends tend to unfold in a step-like manner,” continued Robinson. “Some of the trends we’ve highlighted are in their early stages, while others are approaching market-ready maturity. Similarly, any single trend will impact organisations at different times and in different ways.”

View from the IT channel

Companies involved in the selling of technology products and services can anticipate another year of change and complexity in 2020. Factors that have altered the selling and buying process over the last several years – competition from new market entrants and more options for customers to choose from, etc – will remain in play.

“The channel firms that manage to thrive will be the ones who invest in skills training, expand their market reach to new customers and verticals, partner with potential competitors and embrace emerging tech,” stated Carolyn April, senior director for industry analysis, at CompTIA. “For many, this will mean going outside of their comfort zone.”

IT professionals optimistic

IT professionals head into the New Year with optimistic feelings about their roles in the industry. Among IT pros in the UK, 75% rate their outlook as good or very good. Technology workers in other countries and regions expressed similar positive sentiments: 86% in the United States, 81% in Canada, 82% in Australia and New Zealand and 85% in the Benelux region (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg).

The high demand for technology skills, which in turn leads to robust career options, is the top reason for optimism. There’s also a sense that the importance of technology to business objectives makes technology a more integral part of business operations, affording IT pros an opportunity to play a larger role in the direction of the organisation.

*The complete ‘IT Industry Outlook 2020’ report is available at https://www.comptia.org/content/research/it-industry-trends-analysis

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