The past couple of weeks have been exciting and sometimes unsettling. Now is the perfect time to take a deep breath and look ahead. Based on our research here at HMG Strategy, here are my predictions for the top tech trends to watch in 2019:
- Technology will continue driving the economy and radically transforming markets worldwide. The digital revolution is still in its early stages and there's a long runway ahead of us.
- The sheer strength and economic force of technology will translate into another great year for tech companies and tech stocks. From my perspective, now is a good time to buy tech stocks. The market is soft, price-to-earnings ratios are low and many tech stocks are underpriced.
- State-sponsored cyber warfare will escalate. As a result, cybersecurity will become a major priority for corporate boards and directors. To put it bluntly, however, most boards do not truly understand the risks of operating in a digital world. It's no longer enough to have a strong perimeter; the bad guys are already inside your organization. The cyber defense strategies of tomorrow will include "proactive defense," which involved collecting intelligence about your adversaries, and genuinely understanding their strengths and weaknesses.
- Artificial intelligence will penetrate more deeply across the modern enterprise and users at all levels will expect to see AI capabilities baked into more products and services. That said, tech executives will continue struggling with AI's value proposition. Some companies will integrate AI successfully into their business models and achieve new competitive advantages. On the other hand, many companies will feel obligated to invest in AI even if they're not sure how to use it.
- The transition from traditional data centers to the cloud will continue and accelerate. The caveat here is that many corporate technology executives do not yet fully grasp the basics of "cloud economics," and this lack of understanding may lead to some embarrassing mistakes. The cloud is unquestionably the right place for most data, but tech execs need to ask tough questions and get ahead of the knowledge curve so they aren't surprised when the bills come due.
- More and more transactions will shift to mobile. We're already seeing "mobile-first" e-commerce organizations and soon we'll see "mobile-only" companies in the market. The shift toward mobile will accelerate, completely transforming the face of e-commerce by the end of next year.
- Organizations in every sector of the economy and at every level will move the bulk of their communications to social channels. Within the next couple of years, social media will become the primary source of information for most people. The implications of this trend will be widespread and inescapable.
- Customer-focus will become the primary strategy of companies and organizations in every industry and in every market. The idea of product-centricity will continue to fade as the customer-centric service economy grows in scope and scale.
Each of those eight predictions involves massive amounts of technology and technology-based services. We live in a world of connected digital technologies. The tech industry will continue to thrive and the average value of tech stocks will reach new heights in the coming year.