David is based in Maryland, close to the government epicenter. He has over 25 years of background experience in both technical and business development across critical infrastructures such as health care, energy, financial, and industrial. Much of his specialization is on the edge: things out in the hyperedge and embedded space, but also those hard problems in accelerating workloads and trying to get the most out of an architecture that translates up to enterprise and the cloud.
Darren, David, and some of their peers attended the IDC conference partly to see if their proposals and predictions were in line with the trends IDC has been seeing, and they came away feeling validated. They also went to see if there are gaps they need to understand and how they can leverage the ideas and services from IDC.
The biggest long-term trend, upon which the whole conference was set, is digital-first, and how it is impacting virtually every market. Meredith Whalen, IDC Chief Research Officer, expanded on what digital-first really means. Essentially any organization, business or government, needs to ask how to make digitization into an actual product. By 2024, there is going to be about $10 trillion to spend across all markets in digital products alone. This consumer shift is forcing the government to look at digitization as well, not just in their services, but in how they approach it around world trade, economies, and currencies.
This is a particular challenge for governments on every level because they grapple with computer networks on many different systems, and in many cases, they are siloed. Effective bridges don’t yet exist to link them together. Government systems need to look at how they can make things streamlined and simple.
The next big trend is a flip with cloud computing. Each cloud service provider (CSP) has its own infrastructure, and the infrastructure builds are not necessarily portable, so bridges are necessary. Currently, CSPs are non-fungible. It’s true that they only want customers to use their infrastructure, but as software development environments and software applications are built out through their marketplaces, it’s hard to move those across. CEOs and CIOs are not only asking if they are utilizing the software licenses and access they have purchased, but are more focused on whether the use produced a desired outcome.
The current CSP model tends to be inefficient with business outcomes in mind. Customers need ecosystems of software working together to deliver those outcomes. They are looking for multiple ecosystems that work together, with the ecosystems moving seamlessly across multiple clouds and hybrid clouds. So the trend is that CSPs become fungible, and bridge builders are going to be important here. That’s the flip.
Today’s data is fungible. You can move it around, of course with an associated cost, but you can copy it, mutate it, etc. The trend, however, is moving toward non-fungible data. When that data, or digital asset, has ownership, that creates huge impacts for the future on how data is handled in areas such as security, trust, and business models and ecosystems that revolve around it. There will be data entities that you will have to accept and attest the validity of who owns them and where they are coming from and all the policy that surrounds that.
In this evolution, there will be pros and cons. On one hand, consumers have more power over their own privacy if they have rights to their data. The same applies to businesses and organizations. On the other hand, with non-fungible data entities and assets, the ecosystems of software and the data scientists that use the data have to deal with it in a much more concise and structured way. In the long run, everyone will have to manage that. Governments are not in front of this problem, but it’s going to become an increasingly more important part of how they handle and mix trade, not just on physical goods, but digital goods.
How close is digital first in reality? One example is digital tokens as real currency, such as in the gaming community. Digital tokens are part of this world relative to how apps and ecosystems use non-fungible data. Another example is in healthcare. Today, you go to the doctor or see them virtually, and they can see what is going on and you can describe symptoms. That all shifts through real-time wearables that can monitor glucose levels, heart rate, weight changes, etc. That data belongs to the individual, so it has to be secure and authenticated, but they can also use it for services that aren’t about symptoms, but tailored algorithms and services about what is actually happening in their body to get the best diagnoses.
Data points to consider: Meredith Whalen brought up that in 2021 service spending exceeded regular licensed spending in IT for the first time. So, as a service is dominant currently; the trend is that it will move to an outcome-based model. In 2023, IDC expects the digital spend will be greater than the non-digital spend in companies across the board. Each industry will vary, but on a macro level, 2023 is the tipping point. In 2024, the talent pool follows. IDC predicts that most companies will spend more on technical talent versus non-digital talent.
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