At a time when everyone is preparing for what’s next in 2024, it seems fitting to look back briefly at 2023 predictions. Analysts were anticipating AI everywhere, a bursting of the pandemic tech bubble, and cloud, cloud, and more cloud. We learned some fun new buzzwords in 2023 too, with “phygital convergence” (the convergence of physical and digital) and “loud quitting,” quiet quitting’s… noisier counterpart.
How did those predictions pan out? And most importantly: what’s next?
Using the latest technologies to improve existing processes
The Washington Post predicted that Big Tech would “get back to real tech” in 2023; “Venture capital investors who help foment the industry’s latest trends will also reprioritize pure tech businesses — think enterprise software and cyber security instead of food delivery and telemedicine. Or, in more practical terms, higher margins over businesses that are capital-intensive and competitive.”
As Chief Product Officer Vince Padua notes in Axway’s new predictions guide, Looking Forward 2024, much-hyped technologies like cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse didn’t exactly have the meteoric rise some hoped.
On the other hand, the improvement of integration technologies stayed in focus, and he argues newer technologies will continue to be put to use for those aims in the new year.
“The trends that I expect to ascend/gain traction in 2024 are the use of AI and ML to automate more tasks in the integration process such as data mapping, data transformation, and error handling. This can make the integration process faster and easier and free up IT teams to focus on other tasks.”
Brian Otten, VP Digital Transformation Catalysts at Axway, add that these advancements of AI and Machine Learning should prompt innovation in data management and governance, to help organizations truly understand how data is moving across and in and out of their business.
“Key to this will be automated ways of unifying observability and management data assets as a pre-requisite to understanding data within valuable business contexts,” Otten says.
Talent gaps and productivity improvements
Being able to focus on other tasks isn’t just a bonus: it had started to become a necessity. Last year, writers at the Harvard Business Review said it was time to free the engineers you already have. “Layoffs in the tech sector and belt-tightening measures at most enterprises mean that tech leaders in 2023 will need to master the art of doing more with less.”
We saw that same pattern in our Open Everything Strategy Survey last year, where 85% of IT decision makers feared an expertise gap in coming years, where companies don’t have the skilled software and IT infrastructure talent they need to innovate.
And, it’s not just tech execs: Axway’s recent consumer survey found 55% of Americans are concerned about the tech industry’s talent gap right now or in the near future. From fear of “uncontrolled” AI to state-sponsored hacking, one common concern cited is the impacts a talent gap might have on security for all.
So how can we remedy this in 2024?
Brian Otten believes people who are skilled at cross-collaboration will be extremely competitive in a market where tech companies are struggling to fill this gap.
But also, common security mechanisms like API gateways can help standardize and centralize security policies, so organizations don’t have to rely so much on talent.
“A few key people are trained on common security policy flows and then others throughout the enterprise can make use of it thanks to that automation,” says Otten.
Still moving into the cloud – sometimes tentatively
“This is creating a new rush of enterprises who suddenly need to modernize the lifeblood of their business, without impacting their ability to transact. There has been a greater push for cloud-native, highly resilient architectures, able to capitalize on the promise of the cloud.”
“The accelerated shift towards hybrid cloud integration solutions has been a significant development in 2023,” notes Chief Product Officer Vince Padua.
“The need for businesses to seamlessly connect applications, data, and processes across various environments (on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge) has grown considerably… We can anticipate stories about the importance of data security and privacy, mainly as integration platforms handle sensitive data across multiple environments.”
Security remains top of mind
Unfortunately, expectations that security would continue to be a concern in 2023 were not overblown. If anything, Padua notes we’ll probably never know the full extent of the impact of the rash of ransomware attacks that targeted third-party file transfer solutions this year.
These extensive breaches highlighted the reality that the world’s most sensitive data sets are still file-based, Meetesh Patel, VP and General Manager of MFT at Axway adds, and this ecosystem of file-based interactions has grown and is extremely critical to business today.
“Combine this with growing cloud adoption and the scope of the challenges increases considerably, making the need for solutions even more critical – not just for 2024, but long term,” Patel says.
He points to advancements in quantum cryptography security standards as a potential buttress to concerns around expanding quantum computing capabilities, and notes that the current best practice will be relying on MFT software that evolves with security risks.
“A robust solution helps organization stay current, minimize vulnerabilities, and be ready to quash any potential threats. As a result, subscription-based managed cloud services for file transfer are likely to see growing demand as this will allow companies to outsource MFT operations to experts using dedicated tools and security protocols – along with regular updates to systems and software – to ensure data protection,” concludes Patel.
Of course, cybercriminals didn’t spare any other technology – or vertical. Healthcare suffered from especially aggressive targeting, and Brian Otten notes there were several high-profile security breaches in 2023 where user-interfaces and web channels were secured, but hackers pivoted to related APIs to attack systems.
Among other security mechanisms, Otten advises focusing on zero-trust security and security through the entire stack.
And with the meteoric rise of AI, JB Bentz points out, all these concerns take on a new dimension as we grapple with potential new security implications. We learned this summer, for example, that 11% of the data employees paste into ChatGPT is confidential.
Generative AI and the next wave of AI-powered solutions
On that topic, McKinsey (and every other expert worth their salt) anticipated a big year for generative AI, and we’ve certainly seen those predictions play out. From open-source AI to new monetization models and licensing debates, with the emergence of powerful and competing generative AI models, 2023 was an exciting year for technophiles.
Axway Catalyst Emmanuel Methivier followed the news closely, predicting that the battle for generative and conversational AI would be won on the API front. Sure enough, OpenAI (the editor of ChatGPT) launched its first AI-oriented digital services marketplace 2.0, ChatGPT Plugin, in the spring.
As we move to the new year, he sees a continuation of the trend with a new kind of “customer”:
“In 2024, it’s time to rethink digital interactions. In the 2020s, we understood that we had to move from a vision of technical APIs to business-oriented digital products. In 2024, we’ll have to rethink these products and their marketing to adapt them to the new consumers of services: the AI generatives!”
All eyes on open banking in North America
Now that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finally announced a coming open banking rule, open banking seems to have a clearer path to widespread adoption in 2024.
“The adoption of open banking in 2023 has been a bit disappointing, but experts in the financial services industry agree that it’s not a matter of if we move toward open banking; it’s a matter of when,” notes Laurent Van Huffel, Axway SVP of Financial Services and Open Banking North America.
Axway’s consumer survey found 60% of Americans feel that the growing movement toward open banking is a positive development, compared to only 51% in 2021.
“What bodes well for 2024 is that many consumers are comfortable with sharing their data if it means valuable services and a better experience. Those in the U.S.m for example, seem to be ready for open banking, and it’s encouraging to see the CFPB’s proposed personal financial data rights rule, which is slated to start to be enforced next year. Unveiled in October, the proposal will move banks away from screen-scraping as a data-sharing mechanism and toward publishing open APIs, hopefully using the FDX standard. That will be a huge boost, and I believe the market is willing,” Van Huffel concludes.
Finally, while there’s much excitement about how we could incorporate artificial intelligence tools into financial services – what will happen to our banks if ChatGPT becomes my bank advisor? asks Emmanuel Methivier – Níamh Curran, Senior Reporter at Finextra, cautions that generative AI cannot entirely replace branch banking.
“AI-based tools will certainly be very useful to many of their customers, but it cannot fill the gap of branch banking,” she says, noting branches are “lifelines and community hubs” for some members, and urging banks to be conscious of the decisions they make in this space.
Will 2024 be the year of “peak API product”?
The API management landscape saw significant shifts this year, as announced by Gartner Chief of Research for Software Engineering Mark O’Neill on LinkedIn: Gartner’s 2023 Magic Quadrant in this area became the Magic Quadrant for API Management (no more “Full Life Cycle”), focusing on the core requirements of managing APIs.
“It fits with the way that organizations have embraced agile approaches for highly autonomous teams that can make technology choices and decisions that best fit the needs of business partners,” comments Brian Otten. And these changes resonated deeply with the strategies and solutions Axway has been championing for some time, Vince Padua notes.
“Axway proactively introduced our universal API management solution in response to these early indicators. We didn’t wait for the market to demand it; we anticipated the need and acted on it. Our approach was straightforward: offer a flexible and adaptable solution, allowing businesses to avoid the pitfalls of the ‘Gatewaysaurus’ and instead embrace a more streamlined and efficient model.”
So, what comes after the end of full life cycle API management?
As emphasized by Mourad Jaakou, General Manager, Amplify Platform at Axway, treating APIs as products is the first step to tracking the usage, performance – and thus, the business value – each API generates.
“Universal API management has forced enterprises to rethink the very essence of what an API is,” says Jaakou. “Is it a simple technical interface, or a valuable company product that delivers a desired business capability? In no uncertain terms, conventional wisdom has landed on the latter.”
API productization has also opened the door to a truly revolutionary way of exposing and presenting APIs for inclusion in partner apps: the API marketplace.
Vince Padua concludes that Axway has been observing and actively shaping this API management evolution, and stands poised to advise enterprises in shifting to using APIs as true business enablers.
“We’ve been at the forefront, listening to our customers, anticipating market needs, and delivering solutions like Amplify Enterprise Marketplace that drives engagement and maximizes value for API products.”
Download our 2024 predictions guide for actionable advice on your digital strategy today.