Enterprise Software Trends to Watch in 2024

Technology is changing fast. The IT governing your stack doesn’t need to.

You won’t be surprised to hear 2024 is primed to be a big year for business technology. Generative AI alone has captured the business world’s imagination with capabilities so powerful they’re almost scary, and enterprise software trends like the increasingly popular passwordless security have large companies rethinking practices that have been a part of business IT for as long as it has existed.

All the hubbub naturally leads to an ongoing discussion about modernization and what it should look like in the average enterprise IT estate. And, indeed, being forward-thinking enough to stay flexible as great new things come down the pipeline is only going to become more important.

But does that mean you need to rip and replace the software that has served your business so well just to achieve an edge? Probably not. You don’t have to ditch what you have in the name of modernization. Read on for a list of 2024 enterprise software trends that go beyond conventional thinking.

You don’t have to ditch the software you have in the name of modernization.

Prediction 1: The enterprise’s relationship with cloud technology will change in surprising ways

It’s not just rose-colored glasses. The more money you shovel off to cloud-based vendors and services, the more appealing the on-premises solutions you left behind start to look. Their costs are predictable, the problems they present tend to be highly documented and fixable, and the most tenured members of your IT staff are probably more comfortable using the old systems than any new ones they’ve found themselves integrating.

As the true total cost of ownership of cloud technology begins to reveal itself, more companies are realizing it’s not the magic bullet it was sold as, technologically or financially. Add in a historically shaky economy and the age-old IT spend requirement of “do more with less” and you start to see why cloud repatriation has become such a hot software trend for enterprise-level estates.

That’s not to say the cloud’s growing presence in the enterprise is a bad thing. But there’s also little doubt OEMs that push it are highly motivated to make you embrace the cloud whether your company really needs it or not. Be skeptical when your current vendors tell you cloud upgrades are the only way forward, because the cloud might not be the answer to all your modernization problems, especially if savings are a goal. As the ongoing Maximo EOS debacle shows, there are probably other ways to achieve your modernization goals in 2024 and beyond.

The cloud might not be the answer to all your modernization problems, especially if savings are a goal.

Prediction 2: AI and legacy software will get along famously

Contrary to popular belief, you probably won’t have to replace your legacy software or infrastructure to integrate AI in 2024. That’s important, since most AI solutions are specifically there to pull insights from the data your legacy systems generate and store. It’s the difference between being able to work with one of your most valuable existing assets, such as customer shopping histories, or having to start fresh to suit an all-new system.

As RTInsights states, legacy apps and software are likely to use the same technologies to manage data newer alternatives do. Relational databases, a format IBM pioneered, are one such example. While they might store or display the data in odd ways compared to present standards, the information itself is not inherently unreadable, provided the AI is trained well enough and strong data migration/translation schemes are put into practice.

Don’t assume implementing the new means getting rid of the old, especially when it comes to software that works perfectly fine as it is. There are most likely ways to implement your current workloads and data without starting fresh on the highly valuable data your company has amassed over the years.

In 2024, expect financial institutions to expand the infosec arms race by putting an even heavier focus on process-, storage-, and behavior-based legacy security measures.

Prediction 3: Fields like finance and banking will double down on legacy cybersecurity

If legacy software is such a drain on financial and technical resources, why are highly security- and privacy-aligned fields like banking and finance known in IT circles for running software far past the official shelf date?

The answer’s simple.

In most cases, software doesn’t need to be actively supported by the developer to maintain a strong standard of cybersecurity, despite OEM narratives or enterprise software trends that say you must always be on the cutting edge.

Of course, no security plan is perfect, and banks (of all businesses) know you can always do more to secure your assets. In 2024, expect financial institutions to expand the infosec arms race by putting an even heavier focus on process-, storage-, and behavior-based legacy security measures that keep their older systems’ software as secure as the rest of the estate.

Prediction 4: Companies will find all new ways to slash IT maintenance spend

Depending on who you ask and which businesses you study, software maintenance eats up between 70% to 90% of the average IT budget. Is it just another case of “that’s how it’s always been” in business? And what strategies can companies use to mitigate a borderline cost center without losing the support coverage they need?

The economic outlook being what it is, we strongly suspect businesses will pose similar questions as 2024 rolls on. Overspending on new software isn’t always an appealing option, and neither is burning through budget or to keep current solutions afloat with diminishing OEM service levels. The growing presence of disciplines like software and IT asset management indicates a strong interest in seeing what other choices are available.

Our advice is to stay curious, even if the OEM is pushing a support narrative or upgrade path your company doesn’t find appealing. In many cases, an independent third-party software maintenance (TPSM) provider can keep your current software running, supported, and maintained indefinitely into the future at 30% to 50% less than your current support costs.

A Practical Guide to IBM Third-Party Software Maintenance - What's best for your business?


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