2023 forecast – where are we heading? VMware’s Sumit Dhawan, Kit Colbert and Jason Conyard weigh in – VMware news and stories
It’s that time of year again – when many of us look ahead and ask –what’s to come for the new year? Predictions abound, and that’s fine, but we believe 2022 is the best predictor of industry priorities over the next year and the trends we’ll see shaping business decisions and IT spending.
We caught up with three of our road-weary executives – Sumit Dhawan, VMware president; Kit Colbert, Chief Technology Officer; and Jason Conyard, Chief Information Officer, all recently back from a busy round of personal events (that we couldn’t have foreseen!). From Explore, held in San Francisco and Barcelona, to a series of engagements in Singapore, Brazil, India and Japan, our leaders were on the road hearing from partners, customers and our own management and staff about what’s most important on their minds. So we sat down with them and asked for their predictions for the year ahead.
Editor: Let’s start with you, Sumit. What do you hear from customers and partners?
Sumit: Many partners and customers struggle with three core challenges for their businesses – cost savings, cyber security and energy savings.
Editor: And what are the biggest issues businesses will navigate in the new year? How can they handle them successfully?
Sumit: We are in the middle of a “Great Re-platforming of the Enterprise” – an opportunity to rethink and reshape the core business. But many companies are concerned that they are not moving fast enough. The organizations that succeed will focus on addressing three key roadblocks that have slowed progress: a global gap in critical skills such as software development and cloud operations; the “weight” of existing apps, which have proven difficult to modernize and migrate to the cloud; and the fragmented nature of running and securing apps across multiple clouds.
Editor: The mass adoption of cloud computing has been a key driver of many transformative technology trends, such as AI, IoT, and remote and hybrid working. Going forward, what role do you think the cloud will play in becoming an enabler of even more technologies, such as VR/AR, metaverse and quantum computing?
Sumit: The rise of technologies in areas such as virtual reality and the metaverse will only increase the importance of security and ensuring workloads are secure on clouds. After all, data is only as valuable as its ability to be protected. The distribution and storage of data between organizations and beyond national borders has emerged as an obstacle to protection and use. Organizations will increasingly consider the use of private and public clouds – to unlock the value of their data, to meet complex data sovereignty regulations, and to identify new ways to combat data privacy and security threats.
Editor: Finally, what three top trends do you see for companies adopting a multi-cloud strategy?
Sumit: I see customers move from various dev, ops and security to accelerated app development on any cloud. Organizations face highly complex silos of toolsets and teams across their cloud platforms, and they want to have them all together. Second, the trend is moving away from siled cloud infrastructure to consistent enterprise infrastructure. Companies increasingly need to embrace a flexible and consistent operating model across private and public clouds and the edge, with lateral security built in. Ultimately, customers will prioritize moving from a fragmented app access experience to a frictionless experience. The pandemic reshaped expectations around agility and flexibility in the workplace. Today, the evolving nature of the workplace demands a more secure, frictionless employee experience.
Editor: Thank you. Let’s move on to Kit. As a CTO, what are your top 3 predictions for 2023?
Set: First, we see IT spending, driven by digital transformation initiatives, continuing apace despite potentially wider macroeconomic setbacks. Even as the economy potentially heads into recession, consumers and customers have developed strong expectations around amazing digital experiences. Thus, companies will have to continue to invest heavily in IT and digital transformation initiatives, even if they potentially pull back in other areas.
Second, the industry will continue to coalesce around multi-cloud architecture. The vast majority of companies use more than one public cloud, and most also have local data centers. They typically have “platform” teams that build technology to help standardize and drive consistency across these clouds. In addition, many vendors are beginning to provide multi-cloud services or services that provide consistent functionality across clouds. How does this all fit together, and what does the high-level architecture look like? This is a question that the industry needs to come together to solve, and we believe the first iteration of this architecture will be outlined in 2023. As this architecture comes into focus, it allows for better integration and interoperability between vendors and platform teams.
Finally, the looming energy crisis will undoubtedly have global implications beyond the obvious struggles at the consumer level. This crisis is likely to lead to an increased focus on near- and long-term energy efficiency across information and communication technology (ICT) and beyond. As Europe and other parts of the world prepare for much higher energy prices and potential energy shortages, companies are exploring how to become more energy efficient than ever. And given that the global ICT sector uses approximately 7 percent of the world’s annual energy, companies are looking to data center and network technologies for optimizations. Expect to see more suppliers invest in energy efficiency improvements and actively market these improvements.
Editor: Jason, your turn. Priorities and key trends as you see it from the CIO’s point of view?
Jason: In 2023, we will see an industry-wide push to reduce technical debt and data debt. Over the past decade, companies have been quick to add powerful technology and cloud-based services to their portfolios. At the same time, they have been much less likely to completely cut the legacy systems these new tools were intended to replace, creating a significant number of redundant applications and systems. The technology that was meant to propel their company forward is now holding them back. Businesses will look to reduce unnecessary costs and maintenance as well as minimize the attack surface and privacy exposure through technology real estate rationalization.
In 2023, privacy will become the competitive battleground for our customers and employees. No longer thought of as a requirement that must be met, privacy becomes an innovation differentiator. We’re already seeing brands demonstrate customer safety and protection commitments in their marketing campaigns. Now with increasing customer expectations, consumer control and corporate transparency will be key to maintaining customer trust. We want to see Privacy Engineering and Operations become part of the product design process, to ensure that security is at the forefront of solutions rather than tacked on at the end, where it is less effective and often compromises the employee and customer experience.
Editor: There you have it! A few macro trends that will drive technology investment as companies continue their journey of digital transformation: 1) a looming energy crisis in many parts of the world increases demand for cost savings and operational efficiency, 2) economic headwinds add additional pressure to manage expenses while innovation continues, and 3) the need to build, manage, run, secure and protect applications in a multi-cloud environment should not only continue, but actually continue more or less unabated as the architecture actually helps businesses solve for the other two top trends.
Thank you, everyone, and best wishes for a wonderful 2023!