Gartner is kicking off its IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies conference by revealing the top six trends it believes will have an impact on infrastructure and operations (I&O) in the next 12 to 18 months.

“I&O leaders have little time, skills and budget to track emerging trends and the full impact of those on I&O,” said Jeffrey Hewitt, vice president analyst at Gartner. “I&O leaders should use the top trends impacting I&O for 2024 to identify which are most likely to impact their organization and implement effective tactics to respond.”

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  1. Machine Customers

These are nonhuman parties that make purchases on behalf of a person, such as virtual personal assistants, smart appliances, and connected cars. Gartner predicts that by 2027, 50% of people in “advanced economies” will have AI personal assistants working for them. 

“There are strong upsides to machine customers that are driving interest and adoption in them, however they come with challenges such as requiring a reworking of operating and business models,” said Hewitt. “I&O leaders should identify appropriate machine customer use cases, the technology processes and skills required, and build capabilities around digital commerce and generative AI in order to align optimally.”

  1. AI Trust, Risk, and Security Management (AI TRiSM)

This revolves around the idea that I&O teams will need to implement new forms of risk management and security that AI will require. 

“AI TRiSM improves AI implementation efficiencies and helps prevent the financial, regulatory, societal and ethical consequences of potential issues with AI,” said Hewitt.

  1. Augmented-Connected Workforce

This is the “intentional management, deployment, and customization of technology services and applications to support the workforce’s experience, well-being and ability to develop their own skills.”

It will enable accelerated onboarding and help to drive business results, Gartner explained. It also requires collaboration with teams outside of I&O and IT. 

  1. Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM)

This is an iterative approach to prioritizing threats based on severity rather than trying to fix all vulnerabilities.  

“CTEM produces a shift from a preventative-only approach to more mature, strategy-augmenting-preventative controls with detection and response capabilities,” said Hewitt. “Establish a CTEM team within I&O to cover on-premises infrastructure as well as cloud and edge vulnerabilities.”

  1. Democratized Generative AI (GenAI)

GenAI will help democratize knowledge and skills by enabling people of any skill level to interact with technologies. 

“Democratized GenAI offers a new working paradigm and can present agility, adaptability and composability improvements for I&O,” said Hewitt. “If it is overused or used unnecessarily, it can generate unacceptable costs and negative environmental impacts.”

  1. Nationalism Versus Globalism

This refers to the trend of initiatives to reduce dependencies on foreign products, talent, and services. According to Gartner, this is being driven by international conflicts making countries realize they’d like to follow a more domestic approach to technology. 

“There are many initiatives in place today that impact the focus of IT resources from a more global view to a more nationalist approach. Shifts in these initiatives can produce new risks for countries that are currently using providers outside their country,” said Hewitt. “I&O leaders should identify dependencies and their risks and lead in the creation of action plans to deal with the potential impactful shifts that may occur in national regulations and policies that affect I&O.”