Predicting the future is hardly an exact science, but when you watch an industry closely it is possible to identify trends and chart a course for where things are likely headed. Here are predictions made by 31 successful executives who believe they can see what will be different in 2019.
1. Amazon’s next move will be in hospitality.
“In the past year, Amazon has entered new spaces like grocery and health care, has hinted at venturing into banking, and is even selling live Christmas trees–so what’s next? If you look at consumer share-of-wallet as an indicator, one other area that’s ripe for Amazon expansion is hospitality. They’ve just started dipping their toes into local services like house cleaning and handymen. I see great potential value for Amazon to venture into travel and restaurants and leverage its enormous customer base to capture a share of the hospitality spend in 2019.”
–Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar, a customer-engagement platform used by more than 500 retailers, including Sephora, Patagonia, Home Depot, and Gap
2. Cyber attacks will move into the real world.
“[Next year] will be the year of cyber-physical hacking. We’ve seen the damage a ransomware attack can cause on a company’s digital assets, but what happens when we move beyond cyberspace and into the real world? From attacks on manufacturing equipment to surveillance cameras to data centers, we’re talking about extremely costly and damaging events that have the power to shut down business operations entirely. Unfortunately, this could be the year of the cyber wake-up call the industry has warned about for years.”
–Amit Yoran, first-ever director of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team and current CEO of Tenable, which just had one of the biggest cybersecurity IPOs in five years
3. Security will move upstream.
“Everybody is waking up to the fact that data security is a critical problem that needs to be addressed earlier in the development process. This is true not only for customers whose data is on the line, but also for business leaders and software developers who are charged with protecting it. Today, these parties are trying to understand how they can incorporate security into their DevOps process. In 2019, businesses will implement what they have learned. Tech leaders will educate developers on how to avoid errors like coding security holes into their apps. Additionally, developers will increasingly add security detection features at the code level. Not only will code be better protected against intruders; it will watch out for anomalous activity as well.”
–Derek Choy, CIO of Rainforest QA, an on-demand quality-assurance testing company that was recently named one of Inc.’s 2018 “Best Places to Work” and services hundreds of companies, including Adobe, Oracle, and SolarWinds
4. Customer success will be the new growth for startups.
“As the foundation for growth within a B2B organization, customer success will play a more critical role within companies in 2019. Traditionally, enterprise sales were focused on new logos, which missed opportunities to nurture existing customers. Growth would then suffer as a result. Without a stable base of customers, companies can’t grow as fast because they are constantly filling a leaky bucket. In 2019, we will see a new lens on customer economics, from churn to retention and cohort growth.”
–Dale Chang, operating partner at Scale Venture Partners, a venture capital firm that invests in early-in-revenue enterprise software companies such as DocuSign, Box, and HubSpot, and raised $400 million to close its sixth fund earlier this year
5. The workspace will evolve.
“The rise of A.I. and automation software means humans are moving away from repetitive tasks and are increasingly focused on tasks only humans can do: think creatively and interact with other humans. For workspaces, this means people spend less time sitting at their desks and more time in a diversity of settings. The most innovative companies are no longer thinking about workspace as a single location, but rather a network of spaces that employees can access based on what they are trying to achieve–brainstorm a new product, train a new sales team, impress a client, or work quietly on their own. Uber and Spotify have revolutionized access to music and mobility, by giving everyone a private driver or a personalized playlist for a specific occasion. Employees will increasingly expect the same level of choice and diversity from their workspace.”
–Dror Poleg, real estate and strategy adviser at Breather, a provider of space-as-a-service across 10 cities, serving more than 500,000 people and used by companies such as Spotify, Away, and Tesla
6. People will stop talking about containers.
“Containers are the hottest topic in enterprise IT since the cloud itself. For a while, everyone was obsessed with what technology leaders like Google were doing with the technology, and the top three topics of conversation at any DevOps meetup were containers, containers, and containers. But as the rubber hits the road, enterprises are increasingly driven by what containers allow them to achieve–multi-cloud operations, highly-available global scale applications–rather than the technology itself. So as container adoption radically accelerates, people counterintuitively talk less about containers, and more about the apps and services that containers enable.”
–Murli Thirumale, co-founder and CEO of Portworx, a cloud-native data-storage company used by enterprises including 92 of the Fortune Global 1000
7. Health care will become a B2C industry.
“Thanks in large part to digital technology, rising health care costs, and increased competition, patients have become empowered consumers. As a result, they will be expecting more from health care. Much like the retail industry, patients want easy, seamless, and transparent consumer-like experiences. We will see more and more patients become discerning shoppers, comparing prices for physicians and health plans and expecting accurate upfront costs for services, just as they would with other products. They will increasingly look for ways to receive care outside of traditional doctor’s office visits by exploring digital health care options such as telemedicine and chatbot technology. Health care organizations are going to feel the pressure, and put even more emphasis on patient engagement, transparency into health care costs, quality, and value-based care. Consumers won’t stand for anything less.”
–Matt Hawkins, CEO and board member at Waystar, a technology platform that simplifies and unifies the health care revenue cycle to improve the financial health of more than 440,000 health care providers