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Introduction

Tech Trends 2020

​New breakthroughs promise emotionally intelligent interfaces and hyperintuitive cognitive capabilities. Can we architect systems that will both find the business value in tomorrow's tech trends and remain viable for decades?

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IN 2020, the next stage of digital’s evolution welcomes us with the promise of emotionally intelligent interfaces and hyperintuitive cognitive capabilities that will transform business in unpredictable ways. Yet as we prepare for the coming decade of disruptive change, we would be wise to remember an important point about yesteryear’s leading-edge innovations: Architects of the 1980s designed mainframe systems that continue to run and generate business value today. Sure, they’re outmoded by today’s standards, but how many of us will build systems that run for decades? And how’s that for a legacy?

Architecting for longevity and adaptability requires a deep understanding of both today’s realities and tomorrow’s possibilities. It requires an appreciation for the technology and market forces driving change. And finally, it requires a long-term commitment to focused and incremental progress.

Against this backdrop, we present Tech Trends 2020, Deloitte’s 11th annual examination of the emerging technology trends that will affect your organization over the next 18 to 24 months. Several of this year’s trends are responses to persistent IT challenges. Others represent technology-specific dimensions of larger enterprise opportunities. All are poised to drive significant change.

We begin Tech Trends 2020 with a timely update on the nine macro technology forces we examined in last year’s report. These forces—digital experience, analytics, cloud, core modernization, risk, the business of technology, digital reality, cognitive, and blockchain—form the technology foundation upon which organizations will build the future. This year’s update takes a fresh look at enterprise adoption of these macro forces and how they’re shaping the trends that we predict will disrupt businesses over the next 18 to 24 months. We also look at three technologies that will likely become macro forces in their own right: ambient experience, exponential intelligence, and quantum.

In subsequent chapters, we discuss trends that, though grounded in today’s realities, will inform the way we work tomorrow. Our chapter on ethical technology and trust takes an in-depth look at how every aspect of an organization that is disrupted by technology becomes an opportunity to lose—or earn—the trust of customers, employees, and stakeholders. We follow with a discussion of human experience platforms that will enable tomorrow’s systems to understand context and sense human emotion to respond appropriately. Pioneering organizations are already exploring ways in which these platforms can meet the very human need for connection.

Trends evolve in unexpected ways. And often, the most interesting opportunities happen at the places where they intersect. Several of this year’s trends represent fascinating combinations of macro forces and other technology advances. For instance, digital twins represents the culmination of modernized cores, advanced cognitive models, embedded sensors, and more—a recipe that is in itself a trend, even as it builds on evolving individual technologies.

We hope Tech Trends 2020 offers the insights and inspiration you will need for the digital journey ahead. The road from today’s realities to tomorrow’s possibilities will be long and full of surprises, so dream big and architect accordingly.

Technology

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Contributors

Mukul Ahuja, Zillah Austin, Randall Ball, Sonali Ballal, Tushar Barman, Neal Batra, Jonathan Bauer, Mike Brinker, Randy Bush, Rachel Charlton, Sandy Cockrell, Allan Cook, Megan Cormier, Amit Desai, Anant Dinamani, Sean Donnelly, Matt Dortch, Deborshi Dutt, Karen Edelman, Michael Fancher, Frank Farrall, Jourdan Fenster, Bryan Funkhouser, Andy Garber, Haritha Ghatam, Cedric Goddevrind, Jim Guszcza, Maleeha Hamidi, Steve Hardy, Blythe Hurley, Lisa Iliff, Siva Kantamneni, Mary-Kate Lamis, Blair Kin, Kathy Klock, Yadhu Krishnan, Michael Licata, Mark Lillie, Veronica Lim, Mark Lipton, Kathy Lu, Adel Mamhikoff, Sean McClowry, JB McGinnis, Meghan McNally, Kellie Nuttall, Melissa Oberholster, Arun Perinkolam, Ajit Prabhu, Aparna Prusty, Mohan Rao, Hannah Rapp, Scott Rosenberger, Mac Segura-Cook, Preeti Shivpuri, Lisa Smith, Gordon Smith, Tim Smith, David Solis, Alok Soni, Patrick Tabor, Sonya Vasilieff, Aman Vij, Jerry Wen, Mark White, Drew Wilkins, Abhilash Yarala, Andreas Zachariou, and Jim Zhu.

Research team

Leads

Cristin Doyle, Chris Hitchcock, Betsy Lukins, Dhruv Patel, Andrea Reiner, and Katrina Rudisel

Team members

Stephen Berg, Erica Cappon, Enoch Chang, Tony Chen, Ankush Dongre, Ben Drescher, Ahmed Elkheshin, Harsha Emani, Jordan Fox, Riya Gandhi, Dave Geyer, Maddie Gleason, April Goya, Adhor Gupta, Alex Jaime Rodriguez, Morgan Jameson, Solomon Kassa, Pedro Khoury-Diaz, Emeric Kossou, Dhir Kothari, Shuchun Liu, James McGrath, Hannan Mohammad, Spandana Narasimha Reddy, Gabby Sanders, Joey Scammerhorn, Kaivalya Shah, Deana Strain, Samuel Tart, Elizabeth Thompson, Samantha Topper, Kiran Vasudevan, Greg Waldrip, and Katrina Zdanowicz.

Special thanks

Mariahna Moore for gracefully accomplishing the impossible year after year, making it look easy, and ensuring we always follow the rules. Your standards for excellence continue to help Tech Trends live up to its potential. And your ability to stay cool, keep a firm hand on the tiller, and always have a plan for navigating the upcoming challenges is unmatched.

Doug McWhirter for consistently developing deft, incisive prose out of copious streams of consciousness, innumerable interviews, reams of research, and stampedes of SMEs. Your wit, wisdom, and patience help make Tech Trends 2020 the research opus that it is.

Dana Kublin for your talent of conjuring insightful visuals, intuitive infographics, and fascinating figures out of thin air and unclear descriptions. Your ability to talk us out of our crazy ideas and then show us an improved version of what we told you makes all the trends better.

Stefanie Heng for your “gentle persistence” at managing the nonstop, day-to-day activities and always bringing a smile to everything you do. Your grace under pressure and your unflinching commitment to the project has enabled us to “get to done.”

Caroline Brown, Tristen Click, and Linda Holland for your depth of craft, inspired creativity, and immense patience. Whether dealing with infographics, chapters, or interviews, your collective talents, attention to detail, and willingness to go the extra mile made Tech Trends better.

Kaitlin Crenshaw, Natalie Martella, and Camilo Schrader for a fabulous freshman year. Your support as part of the Tech Trends family has been invaluable as you helped keep us on track for interview prep, secondary research, content reviews, designs, graphics, and more.

Mitch Derman, Tracey Parry, and Tiffany Stronsky for continuing to advance our marketing, communications and PR game. Your willingness to question, push, and share your ideas have helped take our program up to eleven. Your efforts to get the right buzz in the right places at the right times is amazing.

Laura Elias, Martina Jeune, and Faith Shea for an unbelievable impact on your first Tech Trends report. Thank you for bringing new ideas to the table and helping us push the boundaries of what we can accomplish.

Amy Bergstrom, Matthew Budman, Sarah Jersild, Anoop K R, Emily Moreano, Joanie Pearson, and the entire Deloitte Insights team. Your amazing partnership on Tech Trends helps us reach new heights every year.

Cover image by: Vasava 

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