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Gartner lists 2023’s infrastructure and operations trends

Gartner has highlighted the six trends that will significantly impact infrastructure and operations (I&O) over the next 12 to 18 months.

“The changes that I&O teams face are shifting views of how to purchase, deploy, and manage technology solutions for optimal business results,” says Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner. 

“Furthermore, the rapid increase in solution complexity and deployment scenarios is challenging I&O leaders to approach skills, roles and career path management from a different perspective.”

The list of the top trends impacting I&O in 2023 is as follows.

The first trend is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). SASE is a single-vendor product sold as an integrative service enabling digital transformation. This trend connects and secures users, devices, and locations as they work to access applications from anywhere. Gartner forecasts worldwide end-user spending on SASE will reach $9.2 billion in 2023, a 39% increase from 2022.

“Hybrid work and the relentless shift to cloud computing has accelerated SASE adoption,” says Hewitt. "SASE allows users to connect to applications securely and improves the efficiency of management. As a result, I&O teams implementing SASE should prioritise single-vendor solutions and an integrated approach."

The second trend is sustainable technology. It encompasses sustainable IT within the context of a tech-enabled enterprise and customer sustainability. This trend involves four key aspects: environmental, social, governance (ESG) and economic. With a recent Gartner survey revealing that 87% of business leaders expect to increase their organisation's investment in sustainability over the next two years, I&O must embrace sustainable technology to support organisation-wide ESG goals.

“I&O has an opportunity to be a key part of enterprise sustainability efforts,” adds Hewitt. “From improving the sustainability of data centres and the cloud to embracing the IT circular economy for devices, I&O can promote sustainable technology by improving efficiency and performance of infrastructure assets.”

The third trend is platform engineering. 

Platform engineering is the unity of management tools and various components of infrastructure technologies such as application resource management (ARM), application performance monitoring (APM), digital experience monitoring (DEM), and digital platform conductor (DPC) tools. This trend enables user-driven, self-service infrastructure and deployments that extend the principle of continuous integration and delivery, furthering I&O agility, speed, efficiency, safety, and compliance.

I&O can embrace platform engineering by determining what skills and competency gaps exist within I&O organisations and creating a plan to fill those gaps. In addition, adopting practices such as automation can enable self-serviceability. 

The fourth trend is wireless value innovation.

I&O can leverage multiple wireless technologies to extend business disruption opportunities beyond connectivity. Overlaps between various technologies, including Wi-Fi, 5G, Bluetooth and high frequency (HF), facilitate connectivity solutions and create innovation opportunities. 

“Wireless value innovation creates a scalable return on wireless investment and makes networks a strategic innovation platform,” says Hewitt. 

“However, there is significant complexity at play and several new skills that are required to achieve this innovation, such as wireless integration capabilities and wireless tracking implementation experience.”

The fifth trend is industry cloud platforms. 

The public cloud is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, industry clouds are an alternative to enterprises purchasing a variety of cloud offerings, as they provide a pre-integrated solution that coincides with specific vertical market needs.

Industry cloud platforms combine traditional cloud services with tailored, industry-specific functionality. Organisations looking to accelerate time to value, leverage composability to build differentiating digital products and services and benefit from cross-industry innovations are turning to these solutions. Gartner predicts that by 2027, more than 50% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate their business initiatives.

The sixth and last trend is heated skills competition. 

As digital implementation continues to grow, there is a greater demand for various skills within I&O organisations. Yet, a limited talent pool is available for high-demand skills, including expertise in cloud, automation, and advanced analytics. Simultaneously, some organisations are creating I&O positions within business units, which increases internal competition for skills.

“While competition for new skills creates more career opportunities for I&O leaders, it can also cause talent gaps within an organisation to be more costly to fill and can create challenges retaining employees,” adds Hewitt. 

“I&O leaders must become more sophisticated in their thinking around the value proposition of their teams. Consider tools to identify upcoming skills requirements and new training approaches to enrich the skills of existing employees, to reduce the risk of them moving to other business units or competitors.” 

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