2020 represents a new era in information technology (IT) that has been largely shaped by mega-trends from years past:

With all these ripples behind us, where will IT go next? Masergy presents these predictions for the year 2020.

2020 will give birth to autonomous networking

AI has been heavily adopted in many industries and enterprise functions, with manufacturing, healthcare, contact centers, and security driving adoption. But far fewer enterprises are leveraging AI in their IT network. The time is ripe for AI to take hold in the WAN. Masergy believes 2020 will give rise to the self-driving networks of the future. Here’s why. 

The technology is there

The technologies needed to create autonomous networks exist today and are largely available. It’s only a matter of putting them together, coaching the machine, and making the system perform at a level where it can be trusted to act alone.

Gartner advocated for AIOps in 2019

AI for IT operations (AIOps) is a market that’s garnering attention as the next transformative invention for IT. With AIOps, virtual assistants analyze the network and make recommendations to enhance performance, ultimately allowing users to automate optimization. According to Gartner, Inc., “organizations that automate more than 70% of their network change activities will reduce the number of outages by at least 50% and deliver services to their business constituents 50% faster.” In 2019, Gartner Analyst Andrew Lerner advised IT executives to prioritize network automation investments.

No new investments needed

Enterprises are being empowered to create self-driving networks using the tools and network services they have already. In 2019, Masergy released the network service industry’s first AI-based, digital assistant for network, application, and security optimization, making Masergy AIOps available (free) directly within the network management portal. Clients can just start using it! As such, Masergy is aggressively forging the path toward autonomous networking for our clients, and rest assured we’re not the only ones driving this charge.

2020 will be the year of NetSec convergence

The network and security (NetSec) have been converging for the past few years, but 2020 will elevate the importance of this union, making it a strategic priority for IT professionals everywhere. In 2019, Masergy predicted a continued convergence of the network and security, marking the stronger demand for unified approaches, popular converged strategies, and aligned solutions as clear evidence of the need for a more symbiotic relationship between these two IT domains. 

But in 2019, one event alone sparked a new flurry of excitement around the NetSec convergence. Gartner gets the credit here. It was their new approach and their original report that ultimately served as a mass marketing promotion for NetSec convergence. 

Gartner’s approach, “secure access service edge” or SASE (pronounced sassy), is being readily absorbed because it gives a self-explanatory title to the concept of a joint NetSec product. SASE is defined as “converged offerings combining WAN capabilities with network security functions” and is delivered via a cloud service from one provider. 

Over the past few months, the term has appeared in articles everywhere, giving rise to much discussion regarding how to create the smartest NetSec strategy. Masergy believes the buzz will be the boost NetSec convergence rightfully deserves. After all, it’s a challenge that (until recently) hasn’t received enough attention or consideration. In 2020, any IT professional who is paying attention will be talking about the need for better strategies and solutions that unite the network and security. Learn more about SASE.

Simultaneously transitioning both front-office and back-office communications to the cloud will deliver a distinct advantage in 2020

Taking a holistic approach to cloud communications is a smarter approach, and in 2020 (and beyond), the strategy of migrating to both UCaaS and CCaaS simultaneously will deliver a distinct competitive edge. Focusing on these technologies individually is dangerous, because IT leaders miss out on the aggregate benefit that helps enterprises make larger strides in their digital transformation journey. Here’s how pairing these two creates an advantage.

Synergies create breakthroughs in innovation

UCaaS and CCaaS encompass a series of related technologies that build upon one another synergistically, helping enterprises create bigger breakthroughs in innovation. Adopting UCaaS and CCaaS together add this potential: 

Integration is necessary, so save yourself the work

Nemertes Research reports that integration between the contact center and unified communications is vital as companies pull employees into customer interactions. The ability to integrate the contact center with internal employee communications makes it easy to use presence and messaging to find the internal expert, and then connect them via any communication channel. 

This explains why 22.4% of companies have already integrated their internal communications and contact center environments and why 50.1% plan to follow suit in the future, according to Nemertes. Enterprises that select UCaaS and CCaaS solutions from the same provider save themselves much of the integration work — not to mention another RFP and a more streamlined implementation processes. 

Protect the quality of all communications–do it once and do it right with SD-WAN

Reliance on the cloud for critical communications and collaboration means enterprises need rock-solid network reliability, consistent application performance, and high throughput everywhere in their WANs. Transitioning to UCaaS/CCaaS together with SD-WAN can ensure satisfaction across all communications on a global scale. Nemertes Research’s study explains: 

“UCaaS, CCaaS, and AI-based technologies combine with SD-WAN’s agile software-defined networking environments to form a foundation for communications-based digital transformation.”

The new era of IT: How to make the right choice

If you’re recognizing a consistent theme throughout our 2020 predictions, you’re not alone. IT realms are colliding, tight synergistic approaches are beginning to dominate, and integrated technology value chains creating multi-industry mashups are becoming the new norm. It’s a whole new world of unified IT services. 

So, what do you need to know to make smarter decisions in 2020? 

As executives lean into these emerging trends, enterprises will have just one partner and one platform for total digital transformation. Simplicity will be key. One cloud solution built on a uniform IT architecture with full visibility and one AI-powered management portal will be the must-have. 

While all that simplicity will have many executives breathing a sigh of relief after years of IT complexity, it will also bring increased pressure to make the one right choice. Decision makers will need to select a single, wide-reaching provider. Choosing one straightforward platform that can deliver IT certainty will depend largely on true native integration that makes technologies embedded into the network fabric. Success will also require cross-functional expertise that spans the entire IT landscape and collaborative partnerships alongside the ability to deliver the best customer experience. Your choice today will likely drive your next ten years of innovation.

Ready to digitally transform with certainty? Contact us for a free consultation.