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Gartner: Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2022 and Beyond

Will bosses be eliminated? Will Africa become the new India? Will enterprises stop trying to collect so much consumer information? These are among the many topics addressed by Gartner's most recent Top Predictions list.

Predicting the future is a risky business, particularly in the current environment of huge uncertainty. But once again, Gartner this week announced its Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users in 2022 and Beyond during its virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021 Americas event.

“The lesson of this pandemic has been to expect the unexpected and be prepared to move in multiple strategic directions at once,” says Daryl Plummer, Gartner distinguished research VP and fellow. “Leaders that embrace options for workers, enhanced enterprise efficiency, and accelerated transformation plans have greater resilience in dealing with change.”

Plummer says Gartner’s predictions align with three trends that the firm is seeing now -- the desire for sovereignty over personal data and actions, the expansion of resilience to everything, and the need to reach beyond our expectations.

There’s plenty of change ahead, according to Gartner’s 2021 list. To follow are Gartner’s top predictions for IT organizations and users in 2022 and beyond.

1. By 2025, synthetic data will reduce personal customer data collection, a change that will enable organizations to avoid 70% of privacy violation sanctions. Gartner defines synthetic data as data that is “generated by applying a sampling technique to real-world data or by creating simulation scenarios where models and processes interact to create completely new data not directly taken from the real world.” This approach lets organizations create models without the need for collecting so much customer data. For CIOs it will enable a lower cost of data and a faster time to AI. Organizations can develop a synthetic data competency as part of the initiative.

2. By 2024 40% of consumers will trick behavior-tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them, making it more difficult for data-collecting organizations to monetize that data. Consumers want personal sovereignty, Plummer says, so they are withholding data and providing false data such as burner email addresses and temporary facial tattoos to fool facial recognition software. Gartner recommends that companies consider eliminating third-party tracking and that they advocate against monetization without consent.

3. By 2027 a quarter of Fortune 20 companies will be supplanted by companies that “neuro-mine” and influence subconscious behavior at scale. Plummer says similar tactics have been around for a long time -- subliminal advertising to influence consumer behavior, and elevator Muzak to improve moods. “Tapping into human motivation is a value proposition for some companies,” he says. Gartner recommends that CIOs prepare by developing in-house behavioral expertise that targets customer benefits and employee engagement while also assessing ethical privacy and legal issues.

4. By 2024 30% of corporate teams will be without a boss due to the self-directed and hybrid nature of work. Plummer notes that teams have increasingly taken over the boss roll themselves with self-directed autonomous work. In some cases, the boss becomes an impediment to getting that work done. To take advantage of this trend, CIOs should consider redeploying managers as coaches or career counselors and then also create clear goals and individual engagement for individual contributors. They can also roll out agile, scrum, and other methodologies at scale.

5. Through 2026 a 30% increase in developer talent across Africa will help transform it into a world-leading startup ecosystem, rivaling Asia in venture fund growth. Plummer said venture capital is already flowing into Africa and that private consumption in Africa is significantly higher than in India. To capitalize on this, CIOs should reframe existing perceptions of Africa, evaluate digitalization capabilities of startups on the “Silicon Savannah,” and prioritize Africa higher for talent sourcing options.

6. By 2024, 80% of CIOs surveyed will list modular business redesign, through composability, as a top 5 reason for accelerated business performance. Composability is a big theme of this year’s Gartner Symposium. Gartner’s recommendations go beyond IT infrastructure and applications and also encourage business composability, too. That can mean creating flexible and adaptive organizations with departments that can be arranged to create new value streams, according to Monika Sinha, Gartner research VP, who spoke with InformationWeek in an interview. “Composable thinking is the ability to be dynamic in your thinking as an organization,” she says. Composable business architecture is the ability for organizations to create dynamic new ways of working, such as retailers offering curbside pickup or healthcare organizations offering televisits, Sinha says. Gartner recommends that CIOs design business capabilities for modularity to minimize interdependencies. They should also evangelize composability to business leaders.

7. By 2024 a cyberattack will so damage critical infrastructure that a member of the G20 will reciprocate with a declared physical attack. Plummer says that it’s possible that a cyberattack has already led to a kinetic strike, just not on a large scale. Cyberattacks are increasing, and the impact is growing per each attack, he notes. Critical infrastructure is often targeted, and attacks are considered terrorism (rather than crime). CIOs must invest in OT system redundancies. Organizations must also increase information sharing -- from country to country and from company to company. In addition, organizations need to maintain enterprise-level cybersecurity.

8. By 2025 75% of companies will “break up” with poor-fit customers as the cost of retaining them eclipses good-fit customer acquisition costs. Customer quantity will be valued less than customer quality because poor-fit customer economics are not good, Plummer says. Costs include opportunity cost, brand risk, and employee burdens. The CIO imperative will be to identify those poor fit customers by applying data and analytics to create a customer-fit score.

9. By 2026 non-fungible token gamification will propel an enterprise to the top 10 highest valued companies. Gartner says that the new expectations are that crypto is the new gold and NFTs are the new gold rush. Gartner recommends that CIOs generate NFTs and accept crypto. They should also learn from gaming scenarios. In addition, asset management must now include NFT management.

10. By 2027, low-orbit satellites will extend internet coverage to an additional billion of the world’s poorest people, raising 50% of them out of poverty. Gartner says that LEO satellites will be an integrated part of every communication network and satellite communication will be cost-competitive with premium wired services. This will also change the economy as communications will raise productivity and income, creating new customers for new services. To get ready for this Gartner says CIOs should prepare for “hyper-remote” employees, add digital support for new languages and cultural preferences, and increase technology efficiency to profitably serve time-rich and capital-poor customers.

“The future is ours,” Plummer said. “These predictions are just the first step to get you there.”