20 Mar 2020 Industry Trends That Tech Leaders Need to Face
The tech industry thrives largely on its ability to adapt to change. In some ways, the very nature of the industry is change, in fact — and that won’t change in 2020. Already early this year we’re beginning to see some industry-wide trends either continuing or beginning to take shape, and it will be important moving forward for leaders in tech to take note of and adapt to them.
The following are a few that come to mind first.
Implementation of Artificial Intelligence
Long portrayed as somewhat ominous, artificial intelligence has now arrived, and is proving to be anything but. In fact, it offers virtually innumerable benefits for modern businesses of all kinds. In 2018, Thrive Global wrote about business leaders embracing AI, pointing out that “the biggest potential is likely to be augmentation.” The piece expanded on that idea by explaining that AI’s ability to automate certain things could “free up” managers for more creative endeavours. This indeed is something we’re beginning to see in tech spaces, and it’s something modern industry leaders can embrace. As AI simplifies some of our more tedious business practices, human workforces can focus on innovation.
In more innovative companies, data-driven marketing is nothing new. However, in recent years it’s become a more widespread trend, as more companies of all kinds — though perhaps especially startups — recognise the benefits of data analytics and SEO optimisation. Google rewards brands in its search results, and this is leading more smaller and newer companies to embrace data as a means of gaining visibility. While those larger brands generate exposure through sheer volume and existing recognition, other companies, both in tech and elsewhere, have to assess how their content performs online and strategically build up content and links in order to rank competitively. This essentially amounts to data-driven marketing, and at this point tech leaders need to be aware of its benefits.
Moving away from actual tech practices, another major trend the industry is dealing with today is that of remote work. For one thing, more tech companies are recognising the potential benefits of hiring contracted workers to address specific projects without necessarily coming aboard as full-time employees; sometimes these contractors work off-site, and on their own time. Additionally, coworking spaces have taken off around the world, giving independent workers and even small startups a new option for workspace. Entrepreneur predicted more industry-specific spaces in the coworking sector in 2020, and it’s very likely that many of those will reside within tech. Leaders in the industry should, therefore, be prepared for more alternatives to traditional offices — and potentially for more young, prospective employees who might prefer the flexibility of coworking options.
Side Hustles (Even Among Authority Figures)
As much as the tech industry has a reputation for hard workers and ‘round-the-clock contributions, it’s also a decidedly modern industry packed with youth influence. This means that tech is part of a world of younger people who are beginning to talk about, prioritise, and even demand better work-life balance. As a result, leaders in the industry should get used to the idea, moving forward, of employees and even rising leaders devoting significant time to their own hobbies and “side hustles,” rather than spending 24 hours a day in the office. We covered ‘Side Hustles’ in tech as a profile of an individual not so long ago. But that piece in retrospect actually speaks largely to a developing trend of leaders and contributors in tech who, while very capable, are more than their work positions.
Integration of 5G Networks
Finally, there’s 5G to consider. Tech Republic presented a mixed preview of 5G rollout in 2020, conveying that these new networks might not necessarily be the game-changing developments some seem to expect. However, they will change things in tech industries. From improving remote connectivity, to inviting new security concerns, 5G will bring positives and negatives alike over the course of this year. It’s difficult to say exactly what the full impact will be on the industry, but leaders would be wise to educate themselves and prepare for any and all related changes.
More trends will emerge beyond these, in some cases seemingly out of nowhere. Broadly speaking though, this should serve as a helpful snapshot of some of the adjustments tech leaders would be wise to prepare for in 2020 and beyond.
An article by Jasmine Kirk
Exclusively published on mitchellake.com