The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in mainstream business, cybersecurity threats, the prioritisation of cloud optimisation, and desktop-as-a-service gains massive momentum may just dominate South Africa’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector in 2024.
These are tech trend predicitons by Rob Godlonton, the CEO at ICT business, +OneX.
AI goes mainstream for businesses
Many companies are already using AI for numerous application: from targeted marketing to fraud detection.
Godlonton said that “as much traction as artificial intelligence (AI) gained during 2023, that was just the beginning for the technology — 2024 is when AI will really burst into the mainstream.”
Some experts are projecting a massive expansion in the field of AI in the years to come. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the global AI software market is expected to soar from $64 billion in 2022 to almost $251 billion in 2027.
This estimation, however, does not include generative AI platforms and solutions, which were valued at nearly $16 billion worldwide in 2023. IDC expects the generative AI market to reach $143 billion by 2027.
“I’ve been in tech long enough to have seen the early days of personal computing, the rise of the internet, and the advent of smartphones and Web 2.0” said Godlonton. “I believe that AI and especially gen AI will transform how we live and work even more profoundly than any those technologies.”
Cybersecurity top of the agenda
Ensuring the security of computer systems and networks will continue to be a primary concern for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other top executives throughout 2024.
This is due to the recent cases of ransomware attacks and data breaches which have exposed the vulnerability of companies in South Africa. “Tools such as AI (expect to see hackers using gen AI and deepfake technology for more sophisticated social engineering attacks) and ransomware-as-a-service enable cybercriminals to launch more attacks with less effort,” said Godlonton.
With remote work, mobilized business processes, and IoT devices, companies are struggling to protect their networks from cyberattacks. Critical infrastructure such as utilities and manufacturing plants are increasingly being targeted.
This has led to a convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), which will increase the responsibilities of CIOs in South Africa.
Godlonton says that to safeguard against such attacks to protect their assets, companies will need to align their policies, processes, and staff between IT and OT.
Optimisation of the cloud becomes a priority
“Most South African organisations started migrating to the cloud several years ago and have progressed far into the journey,” said Godlonton.
However, cloud environments have become increasingly complex, with many big enterprises making use of intricate hybrid and multi-cloud systems, utilising both private clouds and public cloud services from international hyperscale providers, as well as local service providers.
According to a recent global research conducted by Foundry, about 66% of IT decision-makers anticipate an increase in their cloud budget within the next year. Additionally, over 33% of these decision-makers identified managing cloud costs as their primary challenge while implementing their cloud strategies.
“As such, one of the major trends we’ll see in the next year is a more concerted focus on cloud cost control,” said Godlonton.
“Especially with the global competition they face for people with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure skills, local companies will turn to strategies such as automation of operations and centralisation of resources as ways to control costs,” as well as to get better visibility into variable cloud spending, curb wastage and ensuring accountability, he added.
DEX and DaaS become new frontiers of end-user computing
Companies are increasingly supporting work-from-anywhere for at least part of their workforce. This leads to increasing challenges in optimising costs, ensuring bullet-proof security and resilience, and facilitating productivity for teams.
“Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) is becoming an attractive model to many companies, with Gartner forecasting that DaaS revenue will grow from around $2.4 billion in 2022 to $3.2 billion in 2024,” said Godlonton.
This could enable organisations to provide employees secure access to business services and applications from any device with an internet connection.
DaaS platforms with DEX tools use data-driven insights to improve the end-user experience, such as employee sentiment analysis, with Godlonton saying that this reduces administration work and enhances the end-user experience.