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2022 saw business and technology come together under the banner of value stream management, more uptake in microservices and other cloud-native technologies, and a greater emphasis on software quality and security.
What will 2023 bring? These industry experts share their thoughts.
In 2023, we will see a major shift in how businesses measure the effectiveness of developers’ work. I believe that companies will start analyzing developer activities and outputs, similar to how sales teams are evaluated, and that an element of gamification may come into play as well. With businesses now able to access critical tools that measure employee performance across departments, developer teams will be able to showcase the invaluable work they are doing, and how they are achieving those outcomes. I think this will be a positive shift in the way businesses run their tasks and teams because it will advocate for the most critical facets of the company, like engineering and development.
My biggest piece of advice for other leaders is to create a culture that embraces failures. The richest information about how an organization can be improved comes when things go wrong. For software engineering teams especially, having a blameless culture builds the trust teams need to solve problems quickly and avoids time wasted worrying about the perceptions of others.
2023 will be put up or shut up time for data teams. Companies have maintained investment in IT despite wide variance in the quality of returns. With widespread confusion in the economy, it is time for data teams to shine by providing actionable insight because executive intuition is less reliable when markets are in flux. The best data teams will grow and become more central in importance. Data teams that do not generate actionable insight will see increased budget pressure.
Developers must choose wisely when it comes to image formats–the wrong format could allow immersive experiences to sink a site’s load time and reliability. JPG is no longer king– major improvements have been made to compress assets more effectively while offering more features that will optimize the web experience. WebP adoption has grown since 2019 and is on track to overtake PNG as the second most frequently used format. JPEG XL is roughly 60% more efficient than JPEG. In March 2022, the JPEG XL specification was published as an ISO standard.
As the nature of low-code apps continues to evolve, the lines between the consumer (what we think of as the user) and the producer (typically the builder) will become increasingly blurred, and the actual “building” of an app will increasingly merge with the “using” of an app. With that, as we enter 2023, we’re seeing a more focused phase of low-code apps – one that’s template, solution, and outcome driven. In the year ahead, we’ll see the next phase of low code become hyper-focused on identifying actual business use cases and giving users the tools to act on them by simply using these apps and without having to build at all. Low-code platforms will have to know, or be able to predict, what the most common use cases are and provide customers with a ready-made solution.
In the cloud-native era, Kubernetes has become the de facto standard, with a variety of commercial platforms available on the market. Organizations are increasingly deploying large-scale analytics and AI workloads in containerized environments. While containers provide many benefits, the transition to containers is very complex. As a result, in 2023 the main bottleneck to container adoption will be the shortage of talent with the necessary skill set for tools like Kubernetes.
In 2023, social robots will be back. Late in 2022, we saw companies like Sony unveiling robots like Poiq. This set the stage for a new wave of social robots. Powered by natural language generation models like GPT-3, robots can create new dialogue systems. This will improve the robot’s interactivity with humans, allowing robots to answer any question. Social robots will also build narratives and rich personalities, making interaction with users more meaningful. GPT-3 also powers Dall-E, an image generator. But, this is not only about the novelty effect. Dall-E will keep pushing research to help robots define their behaviour based on their surroundings. As image detection and context generation merge, robotics scene awareness and social intelligence will take a new leap. By generating a detailed textual description of an image, robots will soon be able to understand the room they are in or what people are doing. This is another step towards real autonomy.
With large organizations now managing many hundreds of servers and cloud VMs, all requiring increased availability, means that incorporating HA into Site Reliability Engineering principles will become a standard part of DevOps projects. Using SRE, DevOps teams will standardize on HA tools that are capable of decreasing complexity, increase availability and reliability, and automate application aware failovers. The vendors who have products that support multiple OS versions, clouds, applications, and databases will be baked into vendor best practices.
Data-intensive businesses are moving beyond big data into the realm of hyperscale data, which is exponentially greater. And that requires a reevaluation of data infrastructure. In 2023, data warehouse vendors will develop new ways to build and expand systems and services.
It’s not just the overall volume of data that technologists must plan for, but also the burgeoning data sets and workloads to be processed. Some leading-edge IT organizations are now working with data sets that comprise billions and trillions of records. In 2023, we could even see data sets of a quadrillion rows in data-intensive industries such as adtech, telecommunications, and geospatial.
As consumer behaviors shift to rely more on visually-rich media, brands need to be confident they are making all of their media, images and video, no matter the platform, accessible. As evidenced in Cloudinary’s 2022 State of Visual Media report, in 2023 we’ll see more progression and focus by brands to make content accessible to all. This will include built-in accessibility for video enabling people of various auditory, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities to understand, enjoy and absorb content as well as a rise in subtitles, sign language, and lighting/brightness alternatives throughout websites and apps to help visual impairment challenges. The increase in web accessibility will ensure brands reach and value a wide variety of consumers.
As we head into 2023, which is increasingly likely to be defined by the effects of an economic downturn, DevOps teams will need to get creative and do more with less. There will be a focus on maximizing the ROI of professional developers, who are some of the most expensive assets for businesses. It will be imperative to ensure the developer experience is as seamless as possible, minimizing the amount of time spent switching between multiple, disparate – and sometimes inefficient – tools. With focus shifting to developer productivity, I expect tightening purse strings to act as a catalyst for teams to adopt more efficient practices when it comes to developing and shipping code. We’ll see more reliance on tools like software development kits and pre-baked code that can be reused and repurposed to slash cycle times and deliver secure, impactful code as quickly as possible.
After years of gaining traction among early adopters, in the coming years, headless will truly become the norm. According to a Salesforce Commerce Cloud survey, 80% of all online merchants are either already – or plan to be – headless over the next two years. Headless commerce offers a competitive advantage to those who embrace it. Specifically, merchants who are headless see increases in conversion rates, average order values, engineering productivity, and website change velocity. When one competitor in a vertical goes headless, a technology adoption race occurs as others scramble to upgrade and keep pace.
Headless implementation in isolation will be deemed foolish so in 2023, top merchants will look at headless within the context of their broader company vision and technology strategy.
Test automation has struggled to capture a user interface element – a button, an input field, or a cell in a complicated table – and find it again later even when things change. It’s why UI test automation is often referred to as ‘fragile.’ 2023 will get closer to training ML to predict what to use as reference points and how to build recipes to find any type of UI elements, based on content and structure.
The past few years have highlighted the need for enterprises to pivot to meet the ever-shifting landscape of customer needs efficiently. Next year, we’ll see an increase in user-friendly, low-code processes and systems to create a seamless customer experience across a myriad of touchpoints and systems. Vendors will embrace Industry-standard APIs to allow enterprises to integrate their CX ecosystem connecting internal and external systems painlessly.
Historically, some teachers viewed technology as disruptive in the classroom. During the pandemic, technology was needed to keep classes in session. As it turns out, the need to deploy technology that supports distance learning has had an impact that will change the classroom forever. Many technology-resisting teachers now realize that technology doesn’t disrupt the classroom. If deployed effectively, it enhances both teaching and learning. Giving students tablets that are enrolled in a learning solution enables active and personalized learning without needing to wait for 1:1 time with a teacher. Governments in many countries across the world are now supporting the rollout of technology in schools to create education equity and help teachers scale.
We expect to see businesses take a more proactive role in creating their own data governance policies amid the current wave of regulatory action. The current global patchwork of data sovereignty and privacy laws has made it more complicated than ever for businesses to create consistent policies on data sharing, integration and compliance. This will continue to have a significant impact on organizations’ ability to maximize the use of data across their IT infrastructure, unless they put together clear plans for data integration and governance. In 2023, the passing of more data sovereignty and sharing laws will spur businesses to invest in getting visibility into their data and creating clear plans for sharing and integration across their IT landscape.
They will double down on their efforts to engage their customer base more deeply. Whether they’re seeking to increase retention, grow their share of wallet, or win back customers, leaders know that these customers are their greatest asset, especially during challenging economic times. And, importantly, they already have all the customer data they need to help understand and predict what they’re likely to do, fueling their ability to personalize offers and outreach. That knowledge of future customer behavior will drive successful retention strategies next year.
After years of DevOps fever, criticism towards DevOps is going to grow, for two different reasons. First, many businesses fail to reap the benefits because they have just implemented tools without changing their working practices. Second, many corporations have, and will continue to, reduce IT operations personnel assuming that Ops would somehow happen by itself in DevOps. Nevertheless, DevOps will continue to deliver success and gain popularity among those that implement it right and, despite temporary hiccups, the crowd of successful DevOps adopters keeps growing.
The conversation around remote work will remain relevant heading into 2023, and as a result, we’ll see more organizations prioritize efforts to drive an optimal end-user experience. Maintaining in-office collaboration and productivity within a distributed workforce requires a frictionless digital employee experience (DEX). As such, we’ll see continued investment in DEX strategies as leaders reevaluate how to approach hybrid work as it becomes an everyday reality for their organizations.