Customer Experience

Top 10 key business technology trends for 2023

Each year, Gartner forecasts the strategic tech trends set to play a defining role in the next 12 months. Here we explore the 2023 report and give you our take on the 10 business technology trends shaping the future of innovation. 

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2023 is set to be a year of volatility. At the same time, rapid tech advances will provide more effective, efficient, and scalable ways to translate this complexity into opportunity.  

Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Their expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s most critical priorities. Gartner has identified 10 strategic business technology trends with the greatest potential to help organisations optimise, scale, and reimagine their value proposition in the next 12 months. 

Here we explore the report’s key takeaways and give our take on how to transform how your organisation discovers and delivers value in 2023 and beyond. 

Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2023 The report maps tech trends by three strategic goals – optimise, scale, and pioneer – and identifies sustainable tech as a macro trend relevant across all three areas

Sustainability: one trend to rule them all

Data-driven innovation and scalable technology are creating new opportunities to discover and deliver value – for people, planet, and profit. As we shift towards a more connected and circular economy, commercial success will increasingly depend on positive societal and environmental outcomes.  

It’s great to see that Gartner’s report identifies sustainable technology as the single most important tech trend – and one that will have a significant impact on all other business technology trends. Trends and technologies do not exist in isolation – they build on each other and reinforce each other. Organisations are already taking note. For example, Gartner expects that 50% of CIOs will have ‘defined performance metrics tied to the sustainability of the IT organisation’ by 2025. 
What’s accelerating this adoption of sustainability metrics? Competitive pressure, customer requirements, and legal regulations in environment, social, and governance (ESG) are leading more and more companies to define their own sustainability goals and take the first steps towards sustainability transformation. Check out our latest ‘Late Afternoon Talk’ to learn more about the practical steps you can take to start baking sustainability into your processes and platforms.  
The pressures to achieve sustainability goals and to deliver better, verifiable, and competitive sustainability outcomes require more sustainable technology. But legacy infrastructures and tools have not been designed and implemented for this use, so they often lack the capabilities needed to collect the required data and assess its environmental impact.  

Business leaders must take responsibility for the sustainability goals that have been set, supporting additional investment in innovative solutions that align with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) requirements.  

Companies must create the framework for sustainable technologies. Sustainable (cloud) data centres, for example, will play a major role in enabling sustainable business, as both Gartner’s report and our latest cloud sustainability video panel explores. Late Afternoon Talk "Towards a Sustainable Application Landscape with Cloud Sustainability" show.  
Zühlke has made the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of climate action and health improvement our sustainability focus. Both can benefit from innovation and technology and therefore we created a framework with three key goals for us, our partners, clients, and other business leaders: 

  • Positive project impact: Realise innovation ideas that have a strong positive impact and develop methods for addressing sustainability concerns across different types of projects. 
  • Sustainable way of working: Make operations and business more sustainable. Measure and reduce our emissions in the essential areas. 
  • Community engagement: Participate in sustainable ecosystems, like our Sustainability Circle,, and bring together key stakeholders from across-industries to accelerate the green transformation.  

If companies do not implement these goals, they risk losing customers, employees, and investors, who put increasing pressure on companies to deliver. Check out our Corporate Responsibility report to explore Zühlke’s sustainability mission and how we are helping diverse organisations to accelerate and de-risk their sustainability journeys.

Climate Action - Health Improvement

Digital immune systems: optimise resilience

Companies must develop robust and resilient applications that can handle cyber security incidents, unexpected failures or other events and generate value faster without creating unmanaged technical debt. Otherwise, they expose themselves to operational and business risks when applications, and products or services that depend on them, are severely impacted or fail altogether. Speaking to our clients, we have also seen this as a crucial topic in the last years. 

A digital immune system affects all disciplines and is designed to help with exactly this challenge. We recommend a holistic approach towards applications that also includes your operations from the very beginning. With our “Ideate – Build – Operate” approach, we are focussing on digital immunity as a non-functional requirement in all areas – from discovery and software design to development and automation, to operations and analytics. Gartner predicts that by 2025, companies that invest in building digital immunity will ‘increase their customer satisfaction, and therefore directly increase their revenue, by reducing downtime by 80%’. 
Supporting the UK´s National Health Service, Zühlke designed and developed the COVID-19 app and supporting infrastructure in just 12 weeks, helping prevent up to 600,000 infections and accelerate medical app innovation. To ensure digital immunity of this life-saving solution, we delivered weekly updates throughout the pandemic and provided 24x7 technical support.

Applied observability: optimise operations

Observable data reflects digitised artefacts such as logs, traces, API calls, dwell times, downloads, or file transfers. Applied observability then uses this data to enable data-driven decision-making in a whole new way – and across multiple levels of the organisation.  

Strategically planned and successfully applied, applied observability is the most powerful source of data-driven decision-making. It enables your data artefacts to become competitive advantage, leading to better, faster, and more effective business and IT decisions.  

In fact, Gartner predicts that, by 2026, 70% of companies that ‘successfully implement applied observability’ will achieve ‘shorter latency for decision making and a competitive advantage’ for the targeted business or IT processes.  

One of the key learnings from client collaborations, such as our work with chemicals manufacturer Evonik, which needed to become a data-empowered organisation, is the biggest challenge for a lot of companies in this area is not the implementation of the needed technology, but the transformation of the corporate culture that is needed to become a data-empowered organization. Zühlke accompanies you on your way to data-driven decision making. Together we create the environment to make your company a data-driven organisation. 

AI trust, risk, and security management: optimise trust

According to Gartner, only few companies are well prepared to deal with AI risks. As they note in a study, ‘41% of organisations surveyed have experienced a data breach or security incident involving AI’.  

Adhering to basic security principles is essential, but it is not enough when it comes to dealing with the unique challenges posed by AI. Organizations must take additional steps to ensure to ensure model reliability, trustworthiness, security and data protection. This requires collaboration between various departments, including AI, security, compliance, and operations, to implement new measures for AI trust, risk, and security management (TRiSM). The Zühlke study ‘Data-driven Companies: On the path to strategic use of data’" identifies five major challenges on the path to strategic data use and shows that it is key to govern models properly and continuously. 

In fact, Gartner predicts that, by 2026, companies that operationalise AI transparency, trust, and security will see a 50% improvement in results from their AI models ‘in terms of adoption, business objectives, and user acceptance’.

Industry cloud platforms: scale vertically

Industry cloud platforms provide the modular, scalable, and flexible tools and building blocks that businesses need in ever-changing markets.  

The platforms offer a combination of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, with customised, industry-specific features for specific requirements. A cloud platform can therefore become a business platform, transforming a technology innovation tool into a business innovation tool. Companies benefit from greater adaptability and more industry-specific functionalities that enable faster innovation, shorten time-to-value and make innovations in one industry usable across industries. It is why we can expect more than 50% of companies to use industry cloud platforms to ‘accelerate their business initiatives’ by 2027, according to Gartner. 

There are some additional challenges in the health sector, however, as most health data is siloed, highly sensitive and might be subject to regulation. That is why a new type of platform is emerging in this sector: the regulated digital health platform. In his whitepaper „Digital Health Platforms: For a future of more connected end-to-end patient experiences“, Blaise Jacholkowski gives an overview about the market for these platforms in health and shows, why it is crucial for companies to choose wisely between build or buy.

Platform engineering: scaled software delivery

According to Gartner, platform engineering is the process of building and operating internal self-service platforms for developers for software delivery and lifecycle management. It supports product teams by providing a set of scalable self-service tools, features, and processes. Together, this provides a frictionless experience for developers and accelerates time to value. Platform engineering also provides significant productivity gains because less effort goes into designing, building, and maintaining operational development environments.  

The Trend Report and our daily work show: Most people presume the backend when they talk about "platform engineering". However, advantages such as increasing productivity, consistency and efficiency apply equally to mobile platforms, such as the one we developed for HSBC. 

We, as well as the report, see the trend towards platform engineering as key to make building and maintaining platforms easier. Gartner predicts that 80% of software development organisations will establish platform teams by 2026, and that 75% of these will include self-service portals for developers. 

Wireless value realisation: scale everywhere

Wireless technologies will offer far more capabilities in the future than pure connectivity. As Gartner’s report explains, ‘The roadmaps for the five most important wireless technologies promise new capabilities in areas such as location tracking, energy harvesting. and sensing’.  

This scaling potential will create new applications, for example location tracking in an industrial environment or using wireless frequencies to charge embedded devices. Organisational changes, such as increased collaboration between IT and operational technology (OT), will also accelerate innovation. By 2025, according to Gartner, 50% of enterprise wireless devices will use network services that provide additional functionality beyond communications. 

Wireless value realisation opens up new possibilities that have to potential to create an IoT 2.0. Use cases exist, for example, in fleet management and edge devices applications - this is were location tracking could come into play. Operating equipment, such as forklifts, can be used not only to communicate with warehouse management systems, but as a physical tracker in asset management applications. And they can also be integrated in applications that measure speed and automatically slow or stop forklifts for employee safety. But to realise these opportunities, companies must first become true data-driven organisations.  

Superapps: pioneer engagement

A superapp is an application that provides a set of basic functions and access to independently created miniapps. A superapp, on the other hand, is much more than a composite mobile app or web portal. It’s a platform for delivering a modular miniapp ecosystem.  

Companies can become technology leaders and generate competitive advantages by offering their users a personalised app experience and an end-to-end customer experience. They also benefit from scale and network effects by consolidating multiple mobile apps or related services. It is of little surprise then that Gartner predicts that more than 50% of the world's population will be daily active users of multiple superapps as soon as 2027. 

WeChat is a well-known example of a superapp and shows that superapps are more widespread in Asia than the rest of the world. However, we expect to see greater global adoption and growth in users.  

In the past (Web 2.0), companies have tried to monopolise a certain platform, e.g. Facebook, Amazon. However, based on the huge resources needed, this burns a lot of money before you can retrieve it. The ‘new way’ could be to collaborate with other companies, to think in ecosystems and to know your own place within this ecosystem: Will you be the provider of a superapp? Or will you be one of many contributors? And what will your business model look like? In our project with the Hoffmann Group, our digital consulting team answered precisely these questions.

Adaptive AI: pioneer acceleration

The continuous improvement of your technical capabilities is essential for ensuring your organisation is resilient and agile in the face of change. Adaptive AI can be a critical success factor in achieving this agility.  

Adaptive AI systems continuously retrain models and learn in runtime and development environments. This allows AI models and the applications based on them to adapt more quickly to new, real-world circumstances that could not have been foreseen during development.  

Because of this potential, Gartner predicts that businesses that have ‘adopted AI engineering practices to build and manage adaptive AI systems’ will outperform competitors by at least 25% as soon as 2026. That performance relates to the number and time required to operationalise AI models. 

We absolutely agree with this prediction, and we are convinced this is the next evolutionary step for AI. What’s more, we predict that this development will widen the gap between organisations like Swiss VP Bank who use data and AI effectively, and those that do not.

Metaverse: pioneer virtual opportunities

Gartner defines the Metaverse as a ‘collective, virtual, shared 3D space created by the convergence of virtually augmented physical and digital reality’. The Metaverse is ‘persistent’ and provides ‘enhanced immersive experiences.’  

According to the report, by 2027, more than 40% of large enterprises worldwide will use a combination of Web3, spatial computing, and digital twins in Metaverse projects aimed at increasing revenue.  

There’s no doubt that the Metaverse holds huge potential, but  investment into Metaverse-specific technologies should be handled with caution. That’s because the next one to three years will be a time of learning, exploration, and preparation for a Metaverse with limited implementation.  

Check out this article from Zuhlke UX Engineer, Nicolas Gerig, to learn how the Metaverse can help organisations solve unmet user needs: Explore the blog post here.

So these are Gartner’s 10 business technology trends to watch in 2023. Do you have questions about these tech trends, or about specific challenges on your transformation journey? We’d love to here from you! 

Source reference: Gartner, Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2023,  Gilbert van der Heiden, David Groombridge, Bart Willemsen, Arun Chandrasekaran, October 17, 2022 

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