With ‘fall’ (or autumn) just around the corner, 2018 surveys are fast becoming a redundant analysis vehicle (if we afford them any validity in the first place, obviously). So in forward thinking mode then, ‘technology marketplace’ company Spiceworks has announced its 2019 State of Future Workplace Tech report examining the emerging technology trends organizations are adopting across North America and Europe.
The report shows (or, perhaps more accurately, ‘suggests’) that adoption rates of emerging technologies including blockchain, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) in large enterprises are up to 10 times higher than in small businesses.
The big take-away here is a suggestion that, in the real world, large enterprises need to be putting these technologies through their paces almost with a ‘thoughtful & benevolent eye’ on the fact that Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs) will be able to take them up later as well.
It is thought that by 2020, 86 percent of companies with more than 5,000 employees plan to adopt IoT solutions, 65 percent plan to deploy edge computing technology, 64 percent expect to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 56 percent expect to utilize blockchain-enabled technology.
A technology marketplace
Why does Spiceworks care? Because the firm operates a technology marketplace platform designed to bring together IT procurement buyers and sellers; so knowing who buys what first is important to the Austin, Texas headquartered firm.
“We’re building the first community-powered marketplace for the IT industry, one that couples first-party data and pervasive intelligence to directly connect technology buyers and sellers with the resources they need in any given moment,” said Jay Hallberg, CEO and co-founder of Spiceworks. “The Spiceworks platform is now utilizing AI to analyze billions of data signals every day, including interactions across Spiceworks such as community discussions, technology how-tos, learning modules, product reviews and a suite of IT management tools.”
Picking out these hottest of hot technologies being run in large enterprises, we can point to IoT , Edge Computing, AI & Blockchain (IoTECAIB) pronounced ‘Eyo-Tee-Cabe’… okay, perhaps not, it was worth a try.
The Spiceworks survey suggests that anti-ransomware solutions, employee security training tools (e.g. end user security testing) and hardware-based authentication (e.g. security tokens) have the highest current adoption rates just now. Fewer organizations are using IoT security solutions (17 percent), security solutions powered by AI (16 percent), or deception technology (15 percent).
“Larger companies have more resources and [larger staff bases] to dedicate towards testing, deploying and managing emerging technologies,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks. “On the other hand, small businesses aren’t increasing IT budgets at the same rate as large enterprises, so they’re focusing their limited resources on more immediate concerns, such as refreshing aging and potentially out-of-support infrastructure, software and services. As a result, many small companies are putting off adopting emerging tech until its proven to have a significant impact in the workplace.”
It’s a point (arguably) very well made isn’t it? With so much new emerging technology in the IoTECAIB zone (perhaps that acronym does kind of work after all), it’s only the larger businesses that have the scope to put this stuff through its paces. We could even say that larger enterprises almost have a responsibility to do it. It is also (arguably) interesting to see that Europe is in many cases ahead of North America in terms of implementing some of the more emerging technologies. That might be because of the recent focus on data security driven by GDPR legislation or it might be because smaller nation states can move more quickly, it’s hard to say.
A more level playing field
Spiceworks says that highlights of emerging tech adoption rates across ALL company sizes both large and small include: IT automation and gigabit Wi-Fi networking. Emerging areas to watch out for are converged/hyperconverged infrastructure, software container technology, cloud workload protection, browser isolation (for security, see below) and 3D printing.
As defined here by cybersecurity specialist Guise Bule, “Browser isolation is a process by which an Internet user’s browser and browsing activity is physically isolated away from their local networks and infrastructure, isolating malware and browser based cyber attacks in the process.”
Financial services in the lead
When examining the data by industry, Spiceworks says that its results show financial services organizations are the earliest adopters of most emerging technologies, while government institutions lag other industries in most cases. For example, the financial services industry has the highest current adoption of IT automation (43 percent), serverless computing (23 percent), AI (21 percent) and blockchain technology (21 percent). Conversely, government organizations have the lowest adoption rates for most emerging technologies.
As we have discussed several times before here on Forbes, almost half (41 percent) of IT decision makers predict IT automation technologies will have the biggest impact on their business.
Sales could disappear & become ‘supply’
The survey was conducted by Spiceworks in July 2018 and included 780 respondents from North America and Europe. The company says that respondents were drawn from technology buyers in the Spiceworks network and represent a variety of company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. Respondents come from a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, non-profits, education, government and finance.
The company itself has been likened to Zillow in real estate, but for technology buyers. As such, Spiceworks provides community discussions, technology how-tos, learning modules, product reviews and a suite of IT management tools.
Longer term, if we look at what Spiceworks is doing in the IT procurement space, the company is applying layers of AI to the way it serves users’ needs when they are looking for products on its platform. This is what the technology industry loves to call ‘decision determination’, that is – levels of AI that help us know what we should buy based upon an algorithmic analysis of what other users have found productive when faced with the same business challenges.
Longer long term, would Spiceworks agree that we could get to a point where IT sales doesn’t even exist (and we just have ‘supply’) because we can simply define what hardware and software people need in any given situation? No, not yet, but when you read that marketing tagline in 10 years time you’ll know where the idea came from.