By 2026, most companies will prioritise consumer-as-a-service models for infrastructure purchases, to help contain IT spending growth and fill ITOps talent gaps. And by 2027, AI-enabled automation will ensure consistent configuration, performance, cost and security of digital infrastructure, reducing the need for human operations intervention by 70% and improving SLOs, says IDC, in its predictions for the future of digital infrastructure. Overall, consultancies have identified critical changes in governance, operations, architecture and sourcing for 2023 that will need to be factored into company digital transformation strategies when many are beginning to tighten their belts in areas such as outsourced services, according to a BCG study. Also, according to BCG, cybersecurity will be imperative, with 31% of respondents saying they will increase their IT spending on the security infrastructure. Monitoring will be a vital part of any security strategy, ensuring that all classic security tools, such as firewalls, unusual detection systems or privileged access management (PAM) tools, work perfectly. Source: BCG IDC also points out that the next five years will be transformative for operations, with companies finding more effective ways to manage, analyse and collaborate from more and better operational data. By 2024, the cloud will have overtaken on-premises infrastructure as the primary location where operational data is stored, managed and analysed, at least in half of the companies analysed by the consultancy. CIOs will gain more by focusing on their digital transformation journeys. "Their ability to translate technology initiatives into end-value metrics will help other C-suite leaders gain a greater understanding of IT technologies, practices, goals and constraints," explains Chris Bedi, Chief Digital Information Officer at ServiceNow. Which will ultimately revert to more positive business outcomes, with KPIs focusing on balancing velocity, ROI and risk, using automation and efficiency as an accelerator for modernising application portfolios and existing infrastructure. "The more sophisticated I&O teams are becoming in-house consultancies that product teams and business units can turn to for expert advice on infrastructure optimization and security," explains Paul Delory, research vice president at Gartner. By 2026, Gartner also predicts that most organisations will invest in Platform Engineering, focusing on issues such as self-service for software delivery and application lifecycle management, considering management tools and various infrastructure technology components such as application performance monitoring (APM), digital experience monitoring (DEM), etc. The idea is to increase end-user productivity and reduce the burden on development teams. Self-service is a feature that is also growing in importance among customer service and support (CSS) leaders to reduce the volume of calls and lower operating costs. According to analysts at Forrester, investments in this direction are expected to remain strong. "Organisations will also need to empower infrastructure teams with solutions that automate as many manual and routine tasks as possible," Dynatrace research reveals. This includes investments in end-to-end observability, so teams can better manage their multi-cloud environments. Combining these capabilities with AI-driven analytics will empower teams to optimise their environments effectively to focus on accelerating innovation, driving better business results.