Facebook just launched at Harvard, Google thinks they can build a better search engine than AltaVista, and Netflix is still sending DVDs to everyone. I'd be lying if I said the current tech world didn't feel a bit like the early 2000s. New companies are starting to spring up, just like in the “good ol’ days.” And what’s interesting is that they had to do it “the hard way.” This is what we call pre-cloud startups. The Social Network movie wouldn’t have existed if Mark Zuckerberg could have put his code in the cloud. Instead, he had to raise finances to buy the initial servers.
Now, in 2023, we’ve seen the “old ways” of technology, and I don’t think we’re ever going back. And this isn’t just impacting the tech-first, well-funded startups. We’re talking about everything.
The cloud has changed how we operate in many ways. And this time, cloud computing and the atmosphere of early 2000s tech will cause some disruption.
Here are some of the key trends we see.
1. If it’s not in the cloud, it never happened.
Cloud-first startups are the norm. Apps like Clubhouse are able to scale to handle traffic when people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are being interviewed on the platform. This was not possible prior to the cloud.
Netflix is a prime example of a company, even with its infinite engineering resources, that still relies on cloud-native solutions offered by AWS to provide infrastructure and content delivery support. In this article about Netflix’s infrastructure, AWS is mentioned 36 times. That’s a big deal.
We will see cloud flourish in 2023, and if we’re being honest with each other, I see cloud being the main topic of every business’s conversation for the next 5–10 years. This is a transformative technology.
2. We need a clean-up in aisle five ASAP. Modernization via cloud B2B platforms can solve that.
More companies are relying on cloud providers to offer critical services that are buy-and-deploy. The pandemic forced companies to modernize quickly, and many of them are relying on B2B Cloud SaaS platforms. Why reinvent the wheel when someone has exactly what you need and can get you to market faster?
The demand for technology and digital talent is at an all-time high, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find the talent to build custom solutions in-house. This is a great sign for B2B SaaS platforms. All signs point to these platform companies having a very good year. Amazon Connect is a great example of B2B, doing most of the hard work for you, and nOPS, a cloud management platform, is another great example.
3. More speed, less risk, please.
If you think there are way too many Fast and Furious movies, you’re going to hate this. Digital acceleration is no joke.
Many legacy companies are still stuck with huge monolith applications and infrastructures. They are looking at microservices, containerization, and serverless to break up big projects. This is how companies are able to be agile and move fast without increasing the risk of failed projects. Good technical architecture accelerates competitive advantage in both the short- and long-term.
Companies don’t need to be right. They just need to get the small things right, faster. This brings me to my next point.
4. No more big bang.
What’s worse: a project that fails after two weeks or two years?
Agile went from being a buzzword to being one of the most critical factors determining a company’s success. Agile isn’t just for product development; it’s for every aspect of a company.
We will see more companies change their organizational structure to focus purely on speed and agility. Traditional waterfall-type projects simply don’t make sense like they used to.
Let’s get rid of the 18-month minimum projects and focus on quick wins, iterations, and consistent improvement.
5. Trust is gone. Data security will continue to grow exponentially.
Data security is becoming more complex, and cloud services are great at it. A water department got hacked in Florida, and it almost poisoned an entire city.
2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced by humans every day. 463 exabytes of data will be generated each day by humans as of 2025. 95 million photos and videos are shared every day on Instagram. [src]
Humans are data-producing machines. And pretty soon, the machines will be the ones producing all the data. Data security will continue to be a hot-ticket item in 2023. Security in the cloud has improved dramatically, and I see cloud security growing exponentially.
6. “Haven’t we met before? You seem familiar.”
There is a reason Salesforce keeps exploding upwards. The need to know your customer is at an all-time high. If you don’t know your customers, do you really have a solid business?
Unified experiences are paving the way for technology laggards to refocus their efforts on their customers and drive experiences across the organization that are not only consistent across the brand but personalized and predictive.
As a consumer, this is good news. For companies, this means your competitors are hyper-focusing on their customers, and maybe now is a good time to do that as well.
In summary, here are our top four recommendations.
- Create a culture with a bias for action.
What you need are team members and partners who have a bias for taking action. Team members that don’t need direction every step of the way. This will help in gaining the agility that’s desperately needed in this market to succeed.
- Modernize in steps, not a big-bang approach.
The cloud has created a new possibility of building emerging tech without risking the farm. Focus on technology areas that can be modernized and have a direct impact on organizational objectives and metrics.
- Incentivize innovation and quick wins.
Big thinking is great. Quick wins are better. Create an innovation-based system that allows individuals to experiment with new tech and deploy production to test the market. New business models appear every day, and consumers are open to them. Get your team moving quickly.
- Have a beginner’s mindset to innovation.
I don’t know everything, and neither do you. 2023 is a perfect opportunity to step back, understand what’s happening in the market (technology-wise), and see how you can adopt these new technologies.
As Jeff Bezos said every year in his annual letter, it is still Day 1.