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Applications Priorities 2024: Info-Tech Research Group

Info-Tech’s Applications Priorities 2024 report highlights the transformative strategies technology leaders will need to consider for this year, including digital experience enhancement, AI democratization, predictive solution management, multisource ecosystem integration, and intelligent solution delivery. By embracing the global IT research and advisory firm’s recommended priorities, organizations can better align their application strategies with evolving business goals, fostering innovation and competitive advantage in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

As organizations continue to navigate the complexities of the digital era, which has been marked by exponential advancements in AI and technology, the strategic deployment of modern, practical applications has become indispensable for sustaining competitive advantage and realizing business goals. Info-Tech Research Group’s recently published Applications Priorities 2024 report offers a comprehensive guide for applications leaders as it outlines the adoption of emerging technologies and practices to enhance organizational capabilities in 2024 and beyond.

Info-Tech’s annual report identifies five key priorities that range from delivering exceptional digital experiences to democratizing AI access. The recommended priorities are set to redefine the role of applications in driving business success this year. By focusing on these areas, IT and applications leaders can ensure their application portfolios are not just current but are also driving innovation and competitive advantage in their industry.

“Applications are critical components in any business strategic plan. They can directly influence an organization’s ability to be dynamic, flexible, and responsive to changing expectations, business conditions, and technologies,” says Andrew Kum-Seun, research director at Info-Tech Research Group. “Business leaders are continuously looking for innovative ways to better position their application portfolios to satisfy their goals and objectives, which is achieved through applications priorities. Given the scope and costs involved, these priorities must be carefully crafted to clearly state achievable business outcomes that satisfy the different needs of diverse groups of customers, stakeholders, and users.”

The Applications Priorities 2024 report outlines the key disruptors applications teams face that have an impact on how work is conducted, how services are delivered, and how organizations interact with their customers. From the democratization of IT enabling more user-driven development through no-code platforms to the constraints of budgets that limit growth and innovation, the digital landscape is rapidly evolving. Info-Tech’s report emphasizes the importance for applications leaders and their organizations to acknowledge these disruptors and adapt to them, which can help not only mitigate risks but also create new opportunities for growth and innovation.

“Expectations on applications teams are increasing because of business operations’ growing reliance on applications, data, and other technologies,” says Bhavya Vora, research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “Stakeholders and executives must invest in the alleviation of these application delivery and management challenges to effectively deliver on their organization’s priorities.”

Drawing on a wealth of data and insights, the new report leverages findings from experts in the industry as well as data from Info-Tech’s CEO-CIO Alignment diagnostic and CIO Business Vision diagnostic. Additional data was also gathered and analyzed from Info-Tech’s Tech Trends 2024 report, as well as the HR Trends Report 2024 from the firms’ McLean & Company division.

The Applications Priorities 2024 report provides applications leaders with a comprehensive overview of the applications landscape. The report highlights the following five key initiatives essential for navigating the complexities of today’s digital environment, driving innovation, and aligning application strategies with an organization’s overarching goals for 2024 and the coming years:

Digital Experience – deliver valuable user, customer, employee, and brand experiences. At the heart of a modern business strategy, digital experience (DX) refers to the entirety of interactions between a user and an organization through digital products and services. To harness the full potential of DX, the report advises applications leaders to define and build a digital business strategy that prioritizes user, employee, and customer needs. Key recommendations include focusing on DX and quality in product and service delivery, fostering collaborative delivery practices, and continuously monitoring and managing digital products and services. Additionally, the selection and delivery of DX technologies, coupled with strong stakeholder, partner, and vendor relationships, is essential for sustaining a dynamic and responsive digital system.Democratized AI – Extend AI access to everyone in the organization. As AI increasingly becomes an executive priority, the push for its widespread adoption throughout organizations is gaining tremendous momentum. According to the report, 40% of organizations have already invested in AI and ML, and 47% anticipate a positive business impact. Democratized AI has emerged as a key step in business process automation and an organization’s AI journey. This initiative aims to make AI tools accessible to a wide range of organizational members, irrespective of their technical expertise, thereby fostering an inclusive environment for innovation. However, scaled AI implementations come with many challenges that must be addressed to fully realize the benefits of this priority. In the report, the firm advises applications leaders to identify potential AI use cases and assess the various AI tooling options. By optimizing AI-supporting capabilities and establishing a scalable AI deployment and governance framework, organizations can gradually integrate AI, unlocking its full potential across various business functions.Predictive Solution Management – Predict, prevent, and mitigate solution issues before they happen. Moving beyond traditional application maintenance, predictive solution management proactively addresses potential issues before they impact operations. This advanced approach uses data analytics, statistical models, and forecasting to anticipate and mitigate future system challenges. The report recommends applications leaders reinforce their maintenance strategies by assessing the health and technical debt of their applications. Info-Tech further advises embracing site reliability engineering (SRE) and DevOps methodologies, making IT operations insights widely accessible for broader consumption, and integrating AI within IT operations and applications teams. By adopting these practices, organizations can ensure their applications remain robust, reliable, and aligned with evolving business needs.Multisource Ecosystem – Manage a mutually beneficial ecosystem composed of internally and externally managed solutions and partners.Info-Tech’s report describes this approach as an integrated network of internally and externally sourced technologies. The essence of a multisource ecosystem lies in its ability to foster mutually beneficial relationships among a diverse array of partners, customers, and technology partners. Multisource ecosystems thrive on the seamless integration of data and workflows across various domains, including departments, tools, systems, customers, suppliers, and external partners. Unlike traditional hierarchical structures, these ecosystems are dynamic, with partnerships that are adaptable and not managed in a manner similar to an integrated organization. They are built on changing and sometimes voluntary partnerships and collaboration among independent entities that can form and break apart suddenly. To take full advantage of a multisource ecosystem, applications leaders should define and articulate clear goals, develop a sourcing partner strategy, strengthen enterprise integration practices, manage their solution architecture and application portfolio, and foster strong relationships with all stakeholders.Intelligent Solution Delivery – Embed AI into your solution delivery practice. With mounting demands for high-value solutions amid limited resources and complex environments, embedding AI into solution delivery practices is often viewed as an ideal test pilot. AI’s potential to enhance productivity, generate usable test data, and preemptively identify issues positions it as a transformative force within the solution delivery lifecycle (SDLC). Some of the prominent AI applications that are making strides in the field include synthetic data generation, automated code creation, defect forecasting and debugging, and UI design and prototyping, as well as requirements documentation and elicitation. The firm recommends that applications leaders focus on optimizing their SDLC practice and explore different AI and automated SDLC tools to elevate their solution delivery frameworks this year.

The Applications Priorities 2024 report also includes insights in the form of case studies from organizations and their clients, such as Mastercard, Bloomberg, Carousel, e-Estonia, and GitHub Copilot.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve at an exponential pace, the Applications Priorities 2024 report provides applications leaders with a guide to optimizing their application portfolios and teams. By implementing the outlined priorities, leaders can ensure their application strategies are not only aligned with their organizational objectives but are designed to drive innovation and maintain a competitive edge. This approach will enable applications leaders to transform their application portfolios into dynamic assets that respond effectively to the changing demands of the business environment, fostering a culture of agility and sustained growth.

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