Will 2019 be a year for the technology record books, or one most tech providers would prefer to forget? That depends.
“It’s an exciting time as we embark on the next wave of innovation,” says Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of tech trade association CompTIA. “While the potential is great, the challenges and anxieties are great, too.”
In a new report, CompTIA predicts the global IT industry should grow nearly 4% this year. But depending on how a number of factors shake out, that growth could be as little as 1.5% or as much as 6.4%.
The trade group’s IT Industry Outlook 2019 report, just released, details what could boost — or bust — your business growth this year.
These factors could help business growth, according to CompTIA:
> Reaching new customer segments
> Pick-up in business from existing customers
> Selling new business lines/launching new products
> Sales improvement
> Internal operations improvements
> Favorable government action (deregulation, tax changes, etc.)
And these factors could hinder growth:
> Customers postponing purchases, taking wait-and-see attitude
> Unexpected shock (natural disaster, financial downturn, etc.)
> Unfavorable government action (regulations, trade policies, etc.)
> Shrinking margins/profitability
> Disruption and competition from IT startups
> Rising labor costs
Talent shortage continues
That last item, rising labor costs, is a biggie. Nearly 4 in 10 U.S. tech firms report having technical-job openings and are actively pursuing job candidates to fill them, CompTIA finds.
The reasons for so many job openings vary. More than half (58%) the organizations say it’s due to expansion, CompTIA reports. Nearly as many (52%) say they need new skills in emerging tech areas, such as machine learning, IoT, robotics process automation. And about 4 in 10 (42%) say it’s to replace turnover from firings, departures and retirements. (Multiple replies were permitted.)
The report also identifies 12 technology trends that CompTIA expects will have a big impact on the industry this year:
> Cloud, Edge and 5G form the modern economic infrastructure
> IoT and AI open new possibilities in ambient computing
> Distributed-technology models challenge existing structures
> Stackable technologies supercharge digitization efforts
> Business of emerging technology prompts sales-channel reinvention
> Hyper-personalization takes customer experience to the next level
> Partnerships bridge gaps in new tech ecosystem
> Persistent tech-worker shortages fuel new, creative solutions
> Digital-to-human models begin to shape the workplace of tomorrow
> Technology professionals take lead in anticipating unintended consequences
> High tech increasingly transforms low tech
> Global tech hubs put spotlight on ingredients for innovation
In other words, CompTIA says, there's no single “next big thing.” Instead, it’s going to be a bunch of big things, working together to form your new IT ecosystem.