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8.6.20 – CI

Artificial intelligence, blockchain and other IT tools that businesses need or will soon are being embedded into systems to help them solve problems easier.

If one thing has become clear through the virtual AV and IT events that have cluttered the landscape and the calendars of just about everyone in those industries since March, it’s this: technology has advanced even faster than we expected it would in the time since the coronavirus began its viral assault.

That point was hammered home again today during the CompTIA Channel Con session “Emerging Technology and Its Role in Digital Transformation,” where 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler and Forrester Research principal analyst Jay McBain broke out their crystal balls.

“The emerging technologies of today are embedded,” said McBain. “The average solution today might have seven different pieces to it: AI, blockchain, etc. Emerging technologies are clearly part of the conversation today.”

CIOs today “have to understand and figure out how (emerging technologies) fit into their organizations,” said Ziegler. “Emerging technology is part of the strategic agenda. It helps you get to the next level of business opportunity. You have to understand the problem or problems you’re solving.”

The subscription model has taken hold of the IT industry, said McBain, and that means the CIO needs to figure out which products and services are most worthy of that company’s investment.

“Everyone is looking at where they need to go next,” he said. “The CIO needs to shepherd that conversation.”

McBain and Ziegler agreed the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. and around the world has been a boost to many types of emerging technologies that were coming anyway, but got an earlier launch than expected in many cases.

“The digitization we’ve accomplished in the last four months would’ve taken years without COVID-19,” said Ziegler. “What businesses are expected to deliver and how they’re expected to deliver it has changed dramatically.”

Navigating Emerging Technologies

McBain sees the top opportunities for emerging technologies centered on automation and cloud acceleration.

“It’s a permutations and computations story,” he said. “You can build a solution 35 million ways.” Ziegler said that number is even higher when factoring in the humans who will be using the system when it’s built.

“It’s a hyper-specialized world,” said McBain, who estimated there are about 800,000 emerging technology companies today and more on the way. “You have to eliminate the noise and the clutter and get to what’s driving you.”

Companies that want to stand out from the ever-more-crowded emerging technology space “have to be very specific,” he said, and should package what they do as a product rather than trying to sell it as a service since people are more interested in buying specific products to solve their problems.