5 Cloud Predictions from Oracle for 2020—and Beyond

Today’s enterprise clouds are evolving, and businesses need to evolve with them by embracing the next-generation cloud model.

According to Oracle, first-generation infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) clouds were built using decades-old technology. Newer, second-generation clouds have been designed to support the technologies that drive the modern enterprise such as AI, blockchain, IoT, and real-time analytics—as well as to meet to higher demands for scale, efficiency, and security.

As a new year—and a new decade—unfolds, here are 5 predictions from Oracle on how new technologies and business models are changing.

Prediction 1: 90% of all manual IT operations and data management tasks will be completely automated, opening the door to a new era of IT innovation.

While some technology professionals are still consumed with routine operations such as backing up, scaling, tuning, monitoring, and securing critical information systems, autonomous databases are quickly making these activities a thing of the past. By 2025, says Oracle, 90% of all manual IT operations and data management tasks will be completely automated. This will enable IT workers to have more time to explore the latest advancements in AI and machine learning—from conversational user interfaces to blockchain to the IoT. For example, self-learning systems can automate the collection of data across multiple applications, and can automatically visualize millions of data points. By displaying enterprise data through graphs, charts, and animations, business users can more easily perceive trends, patterns, and correlations in their data, rather than trying to glean insights from columnar reports and spreadsheets. The cloud moves these advanced technologies into the mainstream.

Prediction 2: 100% of enterprise applications will include some form of AI.

AI technology is altering enterprise computing by changing how organizations receive, manage, and secure business data. According to Oracle, enterprises are quickly embracing AI as they perceive its ability to improve efficiency, boost productivity, and reduce costs. By 2025, 100% of enterprise applications will include some form of embedded AI. These technology advancements will impact all parts of the business, accelerating time-to-insight by helping managers and executives obtain a better understanding of operations, employees, markets, and customers.

Prediction 3: 100% of supply chains will depend on augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, machine learning, and IoT.

Intelligent, automated systems are quickly taking hold in many industries, driving paradigm shifts in system design, logistics, manufacturing, infrastructure, and more. Increased buyer expectations, shorter product lifecycles, new regulations, and fluctuating demands are testing the limits of traditional supply chains and driving the adoption of emerging technologies. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) interfaces enable more immersive experiences for employees, such as 3D renderings that help shop floor workers visualize equipment configurations. Voice-controlled assistants can look up product information and report production milestones, conveying insights about current conditions gleaned from IoT sensors. Blockchain solves major challenges in supply chains by curtailing counterfeiting and improving visibility/traceability. Materials and products that travel globally must pass through multiple suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, carriers, and service providers. Blockchain de-regulates global supply chains that formerly relied on centralized governance models, creating decentralized, distributed, and digital records of transactions that are anonymous, tamperproof, and unchangeable.

Prediction 4:  Automated business processes will enable more personalized interactions in HR, sales, and other business domains.

AI and autonomous technologies are permeating the workplace, streamlining routine business processes and freeing up professionals to focus on more meaningful and productive human interactions, according to Oracle. For example, automated workflows can streamline recruiting operations by tracking applicants and fielding requests from new hires. Some HR teams use AI to identify top candidates by comparing their stated qualifications against job postings. Chatbots can communicate with candidates to answer questions and schedule interviews. These automated functions alleviate routine administrative tasks so HR professionals can focus on hiring qualified candidates that match the corporate culture. By 2025, 70 % of recruiting will be taken over by AI and bots.

In sales, AI systems can analyze large datasets to identify the leads that are most likely to lead to sales. AI systems compile vast amounts of client data, from social media postings to customer interaction histories to sales and service events. AI’s self-learning capabilities enable software processes to interact with lots of people simultaneously while enforcing consistent brand messages. Software bots can qualify leads, rank opportunities, and deliver targeted recommendations to prospective clients. They can adjust pricing and recommend products based on market-basket analysis and browsing history. While the heart of sales will always be human interaction, the value of these intelligent technologies will continue to grow. By 2025, 80% of sales will be automated, enabling sales reps to focus on relationship-building and customer engagement.

Prediction 5: Cybersecurity attacks will become more sophisticated with the use of IoT and AI, and the risk of internal data breaches will grow.

As useful as machine learning technologies are to business operations, they can also become powerful weapons. Cyber criminals create automated systems to breach enterprise networks and steal sensitive data. AI and IoT will soon become common software tools for cyber attackers. And, as devices store progressively more personal information, they become new targets for these attackers. Malicious IoT can infect connected devices and aid criminals in stealing identities or committing a distributed denial of service attack. According to Forrester, the rapid adoption of IoT is creating a larger attack surface that’s often built with only a few security controls, exposing enterprises in new ways. Similarly, as businesses and individuals increase their reliance on cloud-based storage, attackers will have a wider surface area to target.

By 2025, says Oracle, 80% of security attacks will come from an inside source. Security misconfigurations can occur at any layer of the technology stack, from network services to the database, and attackers will often exploit these vulnerabilities to breach information systems. In many cases, security patches are not installed quickly enough, creating an easy path for attackers that target these known vulnerabilities. Lack of automation also introduces a high risk of human error. Automated cybersecurity processes can detect misconfigurations and provide continuous protection. The most reliable way to combat these growing threats is to use autonomous technologies that can automatically apply patches and validate system integrity 24/7.