6 Gartner Predictions For The Year and How They Held Up

The annual Gartner top strategic technology trends are an oft-impatiently awaited list of anticipated shifts that Gartner analysts expect to see in the market in the coming year.

We have taken a look back at this year’s trends and compared them to the top keywords from the last 100 articles (roughly one month’ worth of articles) published on CMSWire. While this isn’t an academically conclusive picture, here are some interesting findings:

1. AI less of a topic than anticipated

Gartner has consistently cited AI as a growing trend for a number of years, but “AI” and “Intelligence” are both words used less often on CMSWire than the Gartner trends suggest. In terms of the hype cycle, AI falls somewhere in the disillusionment phase right now. This objectively makes sense: AI is incredibly complex, yet all of its current applications narrow, and the projected benefits are mostly theoretical at best. If one considers CMSWire to have the finger on the industries’ pulse, then it can be concluded that readers are not looking for insights into artificial intelligence solutions or practices. This can of course change rapidly, but at least for the moment it seems, the only ones betting big on AI, are vendors.

2. Experience is making a mark

Whether CMSWire’s Digital Workplace Experience Summit had a large influence, or just due to “employee experience” being the words on everyone’s lips, it’s clear that Gartner understated the need for new technology to not only be better at something, but to do so whilst being a part of a bigger picture. This is an interesting insight into user adoption; people are tired of using another tool or website that performs one specific task, without the option for holistic integrations into their wider landscape of business applications. We reckon that organizations want less one-trick-pony tools, and more applications that “play nice” with other existing applications through standards like RESTful APIs.

3. Everything is digital

The importance of “digital” seems to be universal. It’s not surprising - digital is the new word for everything people are longing for in their applications: fun, borderless, automated, integrated, intelligent; in short – digital. Not that many organizations are analogue in 2018; or do you still use a fax and dial up modem? But let’s not digress…

4. “Conversational” was a non-start so far

Conversational UIs or AI-based conversations between human and data are a futuristic, Jetson-like dream. The fact that Gartner predicts this to be a trend is pioneering and unequivocally where the future is headed (Now Assistant is betting big, too, with integrations into Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant). However, beyond single-purpose chatbots, the industry seems to be struggling to catch up. And given how utterly simplistic current AIs are, it’s not all that surprising that people aren’t yet wondering how to turn their pizza ordering bots into AI colleagues.

Related: Why Artificial intelligence has no common sense by The Verge, YouTube

5. “Management”, “marketing” and “customers” are prominent issues

Businesses want to make money, unsurprisingly. So how to manage top technology that costs top dollar is of concern to them. Given the perceived pace of digital transformation, which is sweeping across the globe at break-neck speeds, attaining ROI on their technology investment could be a major question mark for organizations over the next 12 months. How can your organization invest into AI tech in such a way that it is effectively leveraging the first advances into the field, whilst keeping one eye on your bank account? The proof will be in the pudding in 2019 – but while Gartner put its focus on new technologies, it’s clear that they didn’t consider how much organizations will want to future-proof their investment.

Blockchain, AR (Augmented Reality), IoT (Internet of Things), Digital Twin; all these trends are no doubt exciting and still of strategic relevance for the future, but so far have not translated into much of a discussion point for everyday organizations. This may yet change in 2019, but in 2018 these trends were non-starters.

There you have it; a quick insight into the most obvious differences between Gartner’s predictions for the year and the issues the industry is really buzzing about. This doesn’t mean things can’t go another way, though; it’s important to remember that small changes culminate into a bigger overall movement towards future technology. To finish, here’s a quote from Bill Gates which hopefully can serve as some food for thought:

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.
Bill Gates
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