Last year our team had some fun with a Top 10 list of Predictions and we actually did pretty well. So for this year we wanted to push ourselves a little, with more wide ranging prognostications. The common thread, though, are still topics relevant to those of us delivering tech offerings across a global market, subject to all the economic, technological and political vagaries entailed therein. Here’s what our crystal ball tells us for 2023…
- Azure tops AWS – Microsoft continues to drive their software installed base to Azure. SQL Server 2022 is the latest to be updated but not at parity with fuller-featured Azure-based alternatives. This deprecation process has been underway with Office, Skype, SharePoint, Exchange, etc. Microsoft Cloud revenues should already be passing $100B which would seem to top AWS. Then add another maybe $60B worth of annualized installed base software ‘lifting & shifting’ to SaaS, and we should see a pronounced crossover sooner than expected.
- AWS acknowledged as the Fidelity of IT infrastructure – Fidelity investments didn’t invent the Mutual fund (MFS did in 1924), but despite starting more than 20 yrs later, Fidelity rocketed to the top of that business by proliferating a broad family of actively managed funds, some led by the investment superstars of their day, growing to 40 mil. investors and $10T in assets. Similarly, AWS changed the infrastructure game, not just by delivering Cloud-based infra, but by a proliferation of offerings – over 200 total, including 60+ different EC2 instance types alone. (The question now – who will surpass AWS as the Vanguard of infra? Who’s the next BlackRock?)
- War fears subside – US-China relations will warm, with attention on Taiwan waning, China Covid lockdowns ending, and Asian supply chains freeing up. All involved will get back to the business of business. Similarly in Europe, the Ukrainian conflict will move towards a negotiated peace or stalemate. As the continent proves it can survive with less Russian energy, life there will stabilize and impacted markets will regain equilibrium.
- Chip war heats up – Despite a US pledge of billions for domestic chip capacity, the reality of new design and fab lead-times measured in years will keep the US dependent on non-US processors, which is a positive for global trade & relations, but a continued concern for those worried about US reliance on foreign semiconductors.
- AI innovation jolts a domestic industry – We’ve become familiar with Google maps, Alexa, Roombas, and the occasional glimpse of a self-driving (though still not yet driverless) vehicle. But we’re due for some new ‘killer app’ (and I’m not talking about kamikaze drones, I hope) finding its way into one or more major US industries. With supply chain and geo-political strains not yet completely behind us, the stage is set for a significant disruption to a large, legacy business, due to a game-changing intelligent automation in 2023.
- Workers return – Whether it was the social isolation, threats from the boss, or the tug of ‘cake day’, workers young and old return to their cube farms. Some productivity increased, but probably at the expense of innovation. However, Hybrid work becomes the norm, and companies continue a facilities evolution – hoteling cubes, storage cubies, more transient/social space (fewer dedicated offices) and heavy investment in related tech: cloud-based office apps, VDI, end-point security, related networking upgrades. Also adoption of latest video, telepresence and ‘metaverse’ tech to get the most out of meetings that will now often be a mix of local and remote attendees.
- Teams meta-disrupted – Microsoft Teams is getting a lot more use in a post-pandemic world, but it’s got the design appeal of a 1970s bathroom. Yet we know more usable tools are possible, such as Slack. There’s a pent-up supply of ‘metaverse’-enabling tech (AR, VR, gesture, voice, wearables…) – and those related vendors are itching to find valuable use cases. Either as a Teams add-on or replacement, there’s the opportunity for someone to create the ‘Apple watch’ of desktop video collaboration.
- IT mega deal – There have been a lot of ‘tuck-in’ acquisitions done by IT leaders over the past few years, but this current wave of recession fear and stock dips will be enough to make the numbers work for at least one enterprise IT mega deal in 2023. Look for a marriage of convenience between a couple companies who have not been able to evolve their biz models to be sufficiently cloud computing-centric.
- Edge app pwned – As more apps and data capacity move to ‘the edge’ (e.g. IoT devices, Point-of-Sale/Service systems, telco network locations) we can expect at least one significant hack in the coming year that will proliferate across a compromised edge and significantly impact a regional or maybe even global user base.
- Data mining becomes a resource biz – We’re heard the expression that “data is the new oil”, but we have yet to see the first “Standard Oil” of data. There are data mining and list companies out there like Sisense and Axiom. But they are still relatively small, and there haven’t been any rapacious moves to roll-up competitors, vertically integrate, or any other aggressive actions to build a dominant, data monopoly. But given the growing value of data, esp. to train hungry ML apps, I’m expecting we’ll see an ambitious actor make a move in 2023.
Any comments – positive, negative or otherwise – are appreciated. Or let’s check back again this time next year to see how we did.