By Feras A. Al-Alshaikh, Regional Manager, Saudi Arabia, North Gulf and Levant, Red Hat
Top Trends for 2023: A look into the future of open source, AI, cloud technology and automation

With an eye on the future, most countries in the Middle East have accelerated national digital transformation initiatives to drive economic diversification. An agile, cost-effective and flexible alternative to proprietary software – open source solutions will continue to gain momentum across the region. 

Digital transformation is not a product or a solution. It is a constant process incorporating new technologies and methods of operation to remain competitive through innovation. It must integrate technology, culture, and processes, all in concert. As 4G gives way to 5G, businesses will see the rise of hybrid cloud and edge technologies. Manufacturing industry will also see big changes as smart factories with AI emerge and the pace of data collection, preparation and inference accelerates.  

Based on Red Hat’s 2022 Global Tech Outlook, the following factors give us a glimpse of what the future holds for businesses and how you can adapt to the new wave of innovation:  

1. Digital revolution continues apace. 

As part of the evolution of Industry 4.0, in 2022 we saw the continued merging of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) in scenarios such as factories, assembly lines, robots and process controllers. Industrial organizations are successfully breaking down internal silos with the help of technology like open APIs and open hybrid cloud, as well as culture change such as more open collaboration between teams. We can expect to see this IT/OT convergence accelerate in 2023.   

2. Hybrid cloud strategies continue to dominate. 

While 18% of firms are still in the process of defining a cloud strategy, hybrid cloud strategies are the most prevalent (30%). Incorporating enterprises who opted for multicloud — a phrase that is sometimes used interchangeably with hybrid cloud — raises the proportion of businesses relying on several clouds to 43%. 

3. Security is always a primary priority. 

IT security was selected by far the most frequently (46% of respondents) among firms' top IT technology funding objectives for 2022. This increased emphasis is also apparent in other financing areas. Despite a four-percentage-point decline from the previous year, network security continues to be the top funding priority for security at 38%. Cloud security followed closely at 37%. The prioritisation of vulnerability management increased the most since last year, from 21% to 27%. 

4. The Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) continue to dominate the planning of developing technologies. 

Combining IoT with edge computing, 61% of respondents want to employ either one or both in the next 12 months. With AI/ML at 53% and IoT at 49%, the percentage of firms considering or planning to utilise emerging technologies increased across several workloads this year. 

5. Automation advances. 

Similar to investments in security, investments in automation will be prioritised in numerous sectors until 2022. While IT operations automation remains in the middle of the pack in terms of top IT spending priorities (28%), this is an increase of two percentage points from the previous year, and automation has also played a role in other funding priorities. For instance, automating IT operations was the second most popular financing priority (38%) for optimising legacy IT, representing the greatest rise from the previous year. 

6. Training and skills are more important. 

People are the foundation of any institution. As the rate of technological development quickens, IT personnel must keep their skills current in order to maximise business value. To facilitate this, firms must foster a culture of learning and offer personnel with continuing training. Both technical or technology skills training and people and process skills training climbed by four percentage points, reaching 37% and 32%, respectively. 

Eliminating skill gaps, increasing application development, and developing a hybrid cloud platform are all components of a successful digital transformation strategy. Emerging trends supported by data indicate that IT decision makers are generally prioritising security, hybrid cloud infrastructures, and their employees.

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