A look to the future: Technology predictions in 2024

graphic of a person looking through a telescope | A look to the future Technology 2024

What will 2024 bring? From the year of the GenAI boom to building a more adaptable workforce, here are the experts’ enterprise technology predictions for 2024 and beyond.


Likely to be remembered in the technology world as the year when GenAI grew exponentially, 2023 further opened organizations’ eyes to advancing tech-powered means of becoming smarter, more intuitive and predictive. But, ever a balancing act, the year was also filled with companies double-downing on their panic button business strategies once again. Just as the global economy was steadily recovering from pandemic disruptions, in came a whole host of extra turbulence from natural disasters, global conflicts, rampant inflation and more.

Now in 2024, ERP Today talks to KPMG, SAP, ServiceNow, Zoom, Google Cloud, Microsoft and many more, as we find out what’s on the technology experts’ cards for this year and beyond, getting the inside track on their industry predictions.

ESG, more opportunities for CIOs, hybrid cloud, quantum computing and a greater role for the ERP sector get an honorable mention this year.

Looking ahead, businesses are still seeking to derive more for less, using next-generation tech tools for a much-welcomed productivity boost and whole new levels of personalization.

Data will be King and fuel the machine, but data privacy will weigh on the minds of C-suites looking to leap aboard data-driven wins.

C-suites, beyond just the CIO, will also likely feel an underlying urgency to develop greater new-tech literacy, and across businesses, we’ll see reskilling programs becoming increasingly commonplace. Plus, while 2023 saw strings of layoffs, 2024 looks set to continue to reignite the hunt for technology talent throughout workforce ranks.


IT spend will be even more focused on business outcomes

DJ Paoni, CEO of Certinia:

The macroeconomic environment is undergoing a tectonic shift. The era of easily accessible capital is giving way to a time when capital has real costs, necessitating a shift from aggressive revenue growth to a focus on profitability. This shift will transform professional services teams from cost centers into profit drivers, expected to be either profit-neutral or significantly contribute to the bottom line.


Linda Yao, chief operating officer and head of strategy, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group:

Faced with an evolving macroeconomic and competitive landscape, businesses will be focused on deriving more value from their IT spending in a couple of ways. The first is they will demand more flexibility in their operations, in terms of having their investments scale with the value they return. They will want more predictability in their cash flows, whether that means using technology to stabilize revenue growth or achieve expense savings, or implementing that technology in a way that allows for predictable cash flow payments.

IT spending on legacy infrastructure will shift to spending on next-generation technology and grow rapidly in the next five to ten years as customers modernize or revamp their IT stack end to end. This includes moving from legacy IT systems to hybrid cloud, adopting more virtualized and interconnected IT environments and eschewing traditional software licenses for highly personalized tech on demand.


More CIOs could be the next CEO

Every member of the executive team will be expected to have a certain level of digitalLinda Yao, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group currency – Linda Yao, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group

Linda Yao:

With technology becoming the focal point of nearly every business, especially those from Industry 4.0 leaders, it’s likely we will see more CIOs attain the CEO role or be set up to lead the company into a new generation.

Every member of the executive team will also be expected to have a certain level of digital currency and AI knowledge and to speak about tech more fluently, whether it’s the CMO or CHRO. Even functions that were never enmeshed with the CIO’s role will find themselves working closely with the IT team in the year ahead.


Greater opportunities for the ERP sector

A tighter regulatory framework means there’s a greater focus on how businesses can learn,Maureen Robson-Norman, EY prevent, adapt, respond to and recover from disruptions – Maureen Robson-Norman, EY

Maureen Robson-Norman, leader and partner, EY UKI:

Another key focus for 2024 will be how ERP platforms can help enable leadership to understand their level of business resilience. Over the past few years, businesses have experienced an unprecedented period of change characterized by multiple headwinds. A tighter regulatory framework, particularly for the financial services and TMT sector, means there’s a greater focus on how businesses can learn, prevent, adapt, respond to and recover from operational and service disruptions. This offers a real opportunity for ERP platforms to provide leaders with real-time insight, allowing them to make informed investment decisions to increase business resilience.

ERP is going to become more automated and turn into what we call pervasive ERP: light-Claus Jepsen CTO Unit4 touch, role-based, with users prompted to hand off activities to digital helpers – Claus Jepsen, Unit4

Claus Jepsen, chief product officer and CTO, Unit4:

ERP is going to become more automated and turn into what we call pervasive ERP: light-touch, role-based, with users prompted to hand off activities to digital helpers. For comparison, look at the example of the database, which was once an almost obsessive topic and where people cared a lot about which database they used, the brand or its associated tools. Now, nobody cares.

The same happened with cloud and it is going to be the same with ERP. It becomes one of those technologies that everybody needs, and everybody uses different parameters based on what they need to do. They go for the best solution to deliver a desired outcome and are less focused on how it goes about reaching a certain outcome. Effectively, an ERP is a database with a predefined structure, so it maybe makes sense that the perceptions and opinions follow that same direction of travel as the database.


Personalized products and business resilience

Omkar Nisal, UK and Ireland MD, Wipro:

Personalization will become the new normal. Enabled by configurable and intelligent processes, deeply personalized products and services are now expected by customers – creating a need for variant management and changes to manufacturing processes. We’ll see efficiency driven by hyper-automation. With customer expectations rising but budgets often remaining fixed, organizations are leveraging technology (such as Gen AI, 5G, IoT, etc.) to do more with less and find flexible, reusable solutions.

Business resilience will remain a top priority. Businesses are prioritizing operational and technology measures to be resilient to cyber-attacks, economic downturn, environmental events and unforeseen challenges.

Sustainability will become more of a business imperative. Being responsible and sustainable is influencing access to capital, driving proactive risk and regulatory management.


Quantum technology projects in 2024

There will be something like a quantum epiphany in 2024 as understanding of quantum andIan West, KPMG its use cases improves – Ian West, KPMG

Ian West, head of technology, KPMG UK:

Until now, headway in UK quantum projects has been limited, held back primarily by concerns about their regulation and security. Organizations are generally unsure of how to take advantage of this potentially transformative technology, but I anticipate there will be something like a quantum epiphany in 2024 as understanding of quantum and its use cases improves. This will translate into a surge in investments in quantum projects, and organizations that already have resources dedicated to quantum technologies will see a return on their investment.

To compete as a global economy, the UK must be at the forefront of innovation. Therefore, it was promising to see the government publish its quantum strategy in March 2023, including suggestions for how to “prepare our wider economy for the quantum revolution”, and the Chancellor announcing his five “quantum missions” in the Autumn Statement.

However, to make real headway, organizations need clear regulations so they can use quantum technologies with confidence.


What’s ahead for procurement

Etosha Thurman, chief marketing and solutions officer at SAP:

As we enter 2024, procurement organizations will continue to focus on cost containment and supply continuity in order to bring value to their businesses. These have traditionally been the primary value drivers and in today’s economic environment, I see this continuing. The opportunity will be maintaining the expanded voice earned with stakeholders during the volatile, crisis-riddled past few years, given the resurgence of hyper-focus on cost containment.

The challenge facing procurement will be how to tackle all of this successfully. What we’ll see is the use of innovation like GenAI, spend analysis and category management solutions to not only provide relevant, real-time business insights, but importantly, to increase the efficiency and productivity of procurement teams, giving more capacity to focus on the strategic work stakeholders now expect.


Reskilling to build a more adaptable workforce

With skilled tech workers in short supply, businesses will need to amplify investments inCathy Mauzaize, ServiceNow upskilling and reskilling to build capabilities internally, especially around AI – Cathy Mauzaize, ServiceNow

Cathy Mauzaize, president of EMEA, ServiceNow:

Where many started 2023 with a string of workforce reductions and layoffs, the fading threat of a recession means that the demand for digitally skilled talent has rapidly risen again. Reskilling employees will become a critical strategy, as companies face an increasingly competitive race – and demand – for talent.

With skilled tech workers in short supply, businesses will need to amplify investments in upskilling and reskilling to build capabilities internally, especially around AI. Offering robust training programs and learning opportunities will also be key to attracting and retaining top talent. Companies that invest in their people’s growth will gain a long-term competitive advantage. Closing the global skills gap could add $11.5tn to global GDP by 2028, according to the World Economic Forum, so reskilling should become a strategic business priority, not just an HR initiative. With the right vision and tools, companies can build workforces with adaptable skill sets ready for whatever the future may hold.


Cybersecurity transformation

Organizations will increase scrutiny of suppliers’ cybersecurity practices, with some larger shops requesting fourth-party security evaluations – Robert Graham, ZoomRobert Graham, Zoom

Robert Graham, customer security assurance lead EMEA, Zoom:

Going into 2024, the cybersecurity landscape will continue to see a profound transformation. Here are key trends I foresee that will shape the industry next year:

Emerging AI technologies in cybersecurity will aid cyber attackers before they help cyber defenders, and small and medium businesses will become more important targets as larger organizations with the funding will strengthen their cyber defenses.

Organizations will increase their scrutiny of suppliers’ cybersecurity posture and practices, with some larger shops requesting fourth-party security evaluations – that is, demanding third-party risk management from their suppliers.

Plus, organizations will demand that their cybersecurity teams achieve enhanced effectiveness at either equal or even reduced budget levels. Many cybersecurity teams will work to squeeze more results out of current investments or demonstrate operational efficiencies. Human resources departments will be increasingly open to hiring additional junior cybersecurity staff, while line managers will be expected to do more to upskill the talent they have.

Geopolitical concerns will spill over into more cybercrime as isolated nation-states and splinter groups look to cyberattacks as a latent source of funding for politically unpalatable activities. Cyberattacks will still not be felt as physical damage just yet. They will continue to act as digital disruptions, but significant ones.


ESG a key driver to businesses achieving circularity

Maggie Slowik, global industry director for manufacturing, IFS:

With increasing global scrutiny on sustainability, consumers and businesses alike are after more transparency when it comes to ESG and sustainability, while also wanting to retain their products and equipment for longer.

Some companies are pursuing new business models to drive sustainability, such as circular operations, for example. By using materials over and over again, they not only create resilience through a decreased dependence on virgin materials but also yield more profitability out of the same product.

Accelerating this direction is the speed at which the regulatory landscape and circular economy policies are evolving. These already are, or shortly will, have a profound impact on the ways organizations can operate, both in the near and long term.


All eyes set on GenAI

Helen Kelisky, managing director, Google Cloud UKI:

2023 has been a monumental year. In particular, we saw the emergence of groundbreaking new technologies and generative AI-powered tools that will transform the way we work, create and interact – and this is just the beginning! The technology isn’t just changing the game – it’s creating a whole new one. Expect to witness even more UK businesses across all industries using GenAI to unlock everything from predicting issues before they even happen, to deeply intelligent customer services.

Get ready for a paradigm shift: GenAI will revolutionize how businesses understand and leverage their data, breaking free from the limitations of traditional data analysis. GenAI’s natural language prowess will unlock a new era of human-data interaction for businesses, elevating how they extract insights, make decisions and personalize experiences. Databases that deeply integrate GenAI functionality with real-time operational data will begin to work alongside knowledgeable colleagues, sparking and informing conversations about what may help, aid and boost sales. The businesses that don’t bring GenAI closer to their analytical systems will struggle to compete against those who do.


Rob Smithson, business applications lead, Microsoft UK:

In 2024, we’ll continue to see the adoption of AI, with empowering workforce productivity at the forefront.

With AI copilots, business applications are undergoing a fundamental change for the first time in over 20 years, from data entry and retrieval platforms to becoming fully assistive experiences, informed by business data. AI will allow businesses to automate tasks with unparalleled speed and efficiency, providing employees with more time for creative and strategic endeavors. Organizations must now commit to empowering their employees and cultivating an environment that maximizes productivity through AI.


Prince Kohli, CTO of Automation Anywhere:

Amid geopolitical uncertainty, organizations are racing toward digital transformation. This new reality is ushering in a paradigm shift in how we engage with technology. With this context in mind, I’m predicting several new trends will emerge in 2024.

Automation and AI will drive billions of dollars in enterprise value – enterprises are poised to realize substantial benefits from the adoption of AI and automation. However, this will only apply to organizations that see the combination as an integral pillar of enterprise architecture rather than just a cost-cutting tool.

The chief AI officer will disappear – rather than the chief AI officer, the chief technology officer will be the natural choice for steering AI strategy. The CTO will educate and guide the rest of the C-suite on the value of AI, a strategic shift that places AI at the heart of more business decisions.

Bad actions will use AI to influence critical events. Bad actors, disgruntled employees and outright criminals can use AI to impact businesses, amplifying the potential for widespread misinformation and challenges in safeguarding the integrity of simple business practices.


AI technology governance in 2024

Dr Edward Challis, head of AI strategy and general manager for communications mining, UiPath:

Enterprise leaders certainly recognize AI’s potential value, with more than 80 percent of businesses set to use GenAI by 2026. However, the ability to deploy the technology responsibly is still largely immature, with concerns from executives around risk and governance. 2024 will be the year that this perception changes and organizations see AI progress from aspiration to implementation.

The next year will also be one where companies recognize the critical importance of putting people at the center of their AI strategy. A key part of realizing AI’s value is creating processes for employees to review the output of machines. As a result, we’ll see greater adoption of human-in-the-loop validation and control measures on AI systems. This will further enable enterprises to take big strides in AI deployment to automate and optimize their processes while ensuring that they make their staff an important part of the journey.


Barriers to harnessing advances in AI

Maynard Williams, managing director and CTO UKI, Accenture:

Data silos and a lack of connectivity between data sources, for example, remain one of the biggest limiting factors in a company’s ability to harness advances in AI. “Aimless innovation” is also a core challenge to realizing value, with many organizations running multiple AI proofs-of-concept without an overarching strategy in place to tie them together.

Moving into next year, leaders will reach a crunch point where they will no longer be able to delay the kind of “open heart surgery” required to overhaul their legacy systems – meaning foundational work on their cloud infrastructures and interconnected platforms with a clear vision in mind. The reassessments they make to their tech stack are crucial as the investments made over the next year will define their enterprise for the next decade. Those who fail to recognize this early risk falling into the trap of aimless innovation and spending on proof of concepts that fail to scale in the long term.


GenAI’s negative impacts will be hard to manage early on

Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO Snowflake:

Although GenAI is reimagining how we interact with machines, there are some immediate concerns that will be particularly challenging in the early years of widespread AI and language model adoption. For a lot of people involved in what we loosely call “knowledge work,” quite a few of their jobs are going to vaporize. Rapid change makes it hard to quickly absorb displaced workers elsewhere in the workforce, and as a result, both the private sector and governments will need to step up.

Finally, advances in AI will exacerbate the digital divide that has been happening over the past 20-30 years between the haves and have-nots, and will further increase inequality across the globe. I can only hope that by making information more accessible, this emerging technology leads to a new generation of young adults who better understand the issues and potential, and can counter that risk.


The rise of hybrid cloud in AI

Enterprises will prioritize platforms that facilitate the integration of commonly availableErica Langhi, Red Hat data and private data, positioning the hybrid cloud as a cornerstone for AI success in the coming year – Erica Langhi, Red Hat

Erica Langhi, senior solution architect, EMEA, Red Hat:

As we move further into 2024, the strategic integration of hybrid cloud solutions into AI initiatives is set to become a defining trend. Organizations will recognize the imperative of leveraging both on-premises and cloud resources to derive maximum value from their AI endeavors. This trend is driven by the need to balance data security and sovereignty with the computational power required for sophisticated AI models. Decision-makers will increasingly opt for hybrid cloud approaches that enable seamless collaboration, agility and lifecycle management, thereby overcoming the pitfalls that have historically hindered AI projects. Successful enterprises will prioritize platforms that facilitate the integration of commonly available data and private data, positioning the hybrid cloud as a cornerstone for AI success and innovation in the coming year.


Demand for increased productivity drives all

Paul O’Sullivan, senior vice president of engineering, Salesforce UKI:

The evolution of technological revolutions, from the second era of electric, to now the fourth era of AI, is marked by a relentless quest for increased productivity. While organizations seek to develop AI strategies to enhance business performance and cost efficiency, the cautionary balance between speed and trust will remain critical for the foreseeable future.

I anticipate significant advancements in digital transformation in 2024, with the emergence of new business models, converging technologies such as robotics, AI, automation, IoT, A/VR and increased demand for data-driven experiences.

Fortune will favor the brave in the AI revolution. Accelerated impacts on businesses will see rapid wins and losses, whilst change management and adoption will pose challenges, emphasizing the need for a flexible approach. Organizations need to operate in an environment that both encourages innovation and has the necessary guardrails in place.