Monday, 10th August 2020

Tricky balancing act ahead

Leading industry association project 3.7% industry growth in 2020; identifies 10 trends to watch in the year ahead.

The global information technology (IT) industry heads into 2020 balancing its drive to produce new products and services while addressing issues that are often by-products of innovation, according to the “IT Industry Outlook 2020” report from CompTIA, the industry’s leading trade association.

Moving past the hype surrounding emerging technologies and honing in on value-driven real business use cases; making cybersecurity a top 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 projects the global IT industry will grow at a rate of 3.7 percent in 2020, with upside potential in the 5.4 percent range and a downside floor of 1.9 percent.

“This is a narrower forecast range than what we’ve seen in past years, suggesting industry executives are exercising a relatively high degree of caution in an unpredictable environment,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, 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 small IT firms, as well as optimistic opinions with pessimistic opinions, to come up with a “best-fit forecast” that reflects the sentiment of industry executives.

CompTIA’s 10 Trends to Watch in 2020

CompTIA’s “IT Industry Outlook 2020” also provides insight into 10 trends that will shape the IT industry, its workforce, and its business models in the coming year.

1. Tech-Washing Fades in Favour of Real Strategy

2. Workforce Diversity Grows in Many Ways

3. Tech Topics Are Front and Centre in U.S. Elections

4. Hype Meets Reality with Emerging Technology

5. Internet of Things Continues to Redefine IT Architecture

6. Artificial Intelligence Eats the World

7. Demand for Integration Leads to Demand for Automation

8. Cybersecurity Becomes More Operational

9. Deep Fakes and 5G Exacerbate the Data Management Challenge

10. Tech Industry Regulation Stirs Fears

“Trends tend to unfold in a step-like manner,” Robinson said. “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.”

The 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, more options for customers to choose from – 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,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, at CompTIA. “For many, this will mean getting out of their comfort zone.”

IT Pros Optimistic

IT professionals head into the new year with optimistic feelings about their roles in the industry. Among IT pros in the United Kingdom, 75 percent rate their outlook as good or very good. Technology workers in other countries and regions expressed similar positive sentiments: 86 percent in the United States, 81 percent in Canada, 82 percent in Australia and New Zealand and 85 percent 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, giving IT pros an opportunity to play a larger role in the direction of the organisation.

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