With the pace of internet usage continuing to soar, Gartner has unveiled its predictions for 2019 that will help organisations plan their business and digital transformations.

We have digested these predictions and extracted the ones that will most impact CIOs looking to optimise their networks to cope with digital transformation. These predictions will change how Australians work, socialise, and interact, and will continue to shape the way we do business in the coming year ahead.

1. Connected Clouds (Public, Private, Hybrid) continue to gain traction

Gartner believes that companies will start realising they need a mix of public cloud, private cloud and/or data centre. Connected clouds will start becoming the way forward for organisations, whether they want to cloud-source storage, networking, security, or app deployment.

Superloop can help customers deploy “multicloud” options to ensure that workloads are being run in the right cloud environment, providing a better experience for IT infrastructure/ applications that need seamless, secure and streamlined environments.

2. Increased marketing automation, including the takeover of chatbots

While chatbots have been a largely frustrating experience for users, Gartner now predicts large strides to happen in natural language processing and sentiment analytics, allowing this technology to revolutionise the service industry.

For organisations that rely on service-oriented products and services this will go mainstream and reduce the reliance on human operators – including; industries such as fast food, loan processors, job recruiters, to name a few.

With Natural Language Processing (NLP) predicted to go mainstream, Gartner believes this will be a major 2019 digital transformation trend. Superloop is positioned to offer enterprises a stable, reliable network to deploy AI and Chatbots that will deliver a positive customer experience and reduce operational costs.

3. Data at the heart of everything - Analytics to Machine Learning to AI

Organisations have long grappled with applying analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer experiences and drive down operational costs. At the heart of these technologies is how companies ingest, manage and transform their data.

Because data continues to be the key to sound decisions about products, services, employees, strategy and more, we can expect that data will be more topical than ever before from the CEO down. CIOs will need to truly understand and harness the power of the data within all areas of the business and become champions for its use.

CIOs should plan to increase processing power to increase machine learning and AI, while taking steps to ensure the entire network and infrastructure can handle the loads required to manage and manipulate this for business use.

Automation, particularly in marketing applications, will impact on CIOs need to deliver data platforms for the marketing team. In particular, the rise of programmatic and atomic content marketing and customer data platforms will be needed by marketers to use automation and machine learning to understand and improve marketing outcomes and customer experiences.

4. IoT’s impact on edge computing

In Australia, we are seeing increased numbers of deployments of IoT in the last year. Gartner now predicts that IoT, AI, Machine Learning and Edge Computing will become more deeply interconnected.

As the number of connected devices increases, companies will need more space to process the data being captured and processed. This means taking compute processing back from the cloud and towards edge computing to realise the ambitions of Smart Cities and Autonomous Vehicles.

That means CIOs can expect to look more towards edge computing to achieve their digital transformation goals. For example, in terms of harnessing data and analytics, these won’t just be a matter of processing in the cloud, but will need to happen in real-time, and likely through edge computing. Consider the network and compute processing power required for this ahead of time for 2019 plans.

5. Leadership will be critical to digital transformation

We have seen digital transformation projects driven by the CIO, CMO and in some cases the CFO. Mostly these are centred around driving down costs of IT, and pursuing cloud-based services to improve flexibility of service delivery and operational efficiency. However, Gartner predicts 2019 to be the year the CEO will take the reins on digital transformation.

While we have seen pockets of leadership understanding how digital transformation can disrupt long-running organisations and even industries, it hasn’t been the norm. While this is one of the more tentative predictions on Gartner’s list, we agree that it’s time the CEO finally steps up and make it a priority to hire for digital transformation.

In your journey, this also means partnering with the right people in recognising the strategic and critical nature of building for agility and learning to trust and exploit data to ensure continued success.