2024 IT management trends: It’s generative AI and everything else

Commissioned: As the curtain falls on 2023, IT organizations are looking toward the new year with a mix of renewed enthusiasm and cautious optimism. The enthusiasm stems from the arrival of generative AI services a year ago.

Generative AI (GenAI) has emerged as perhaps the biggest productivity booster for knowledge work since the proliferation of word processing and spreadsheet software in the 1990s. In elevating customer operations, sales and marketing and software engineering, GenAI could add up to $4.4 trillion annually in productivity value to the global economy, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

The cautious optimism comes from IT leaders’ opportunity for modernizing corporate datacenters to accommodate GenAI and other data-hungry workloads. It’s complex work but executed well it can help organizations improve application performance and drive operational efficiency while curbing costs.

Divining proclamations from a proverbial crystal ball is an imprecise exercise. Few people expected GenAI would democratize AI for employees. But it did – and I’m here for it.

Without further ado, check out these IT management trends for 2024.

GenAI drives workload placement decisions

GenAI can shave hours off tasks that knowledge workers complete each day to do their jobs, potentially transforming industries. This is a big reason 52 percent of IT organizations are already building or deploying GenAI solutions, according to a Generative AI Pulse Survey conducted by Dell Technologies earlier this year.

In 2024, GenAI will accelerate workload placement trends, with organizations reckoning with how and where to run large language models (LLMs) that fuel their GenAI applications. Some IT decision makers will choose public services.

Others will run open source LLMs on premises, which will afford them the control as well as the ability to right-size workloads using domain-specific implementations and server clusters and other reliable infrastructure provided by partners.

Bringing AI to their data thusly will help organizations dictate security policies and access, create guardrails that reduce reputational risk and enjoy cost efficiencies.

Multicloud management becomes more seamless

Craving flexibility, more organizations will further abstract software functions from operating environments to run workloads in locations of their choosing.

This entails moving some storage options they traditionally run on premises into public clouds. This provides IT staff with more data mobility and consistency in managing their environments.

Others will make it possible for developers to access their preferred cloud services on premises. For instance, organizations might build custom GenAI chatbots to surface corporate information.

These approaches are part of a broader trend of trying to manage multicloud environments as seamless systems. This means treating the entire infrastructure estate as one entity to deliver greater operational efficiency and business value.

The edge of operation consolidation

Infrastructure that supports edge environments has historically been highly fragmented, with organizations stitching together solutions they hope will keep applications running at near real-time. Reducing latency has also been a big bugbear.

In 2024, you’ll see more organizations embrace edge operations approaches that simplify, optimize and secure deployment across complex multicloud estates, ensuring better uptime and service.

This will accelerate innovation across retail (smart shelves, anyone?), healthcare, automotive, agriculture, energy and several other sectors. Moreover, more organizations will explore how to extend GenAI applications to the edge to cultivate business value.

As-a-Service, at your service

Most IT staff are as comfortable with public cloud experiences as they are one-day shipping. Both offer agility and rapid service. Yet it’s also true that most organizations are weary of wrangling cloud services from different vendors, as well as the unpredictable costs associated with consuming said services.

In 2024, more organizations will seek to enjoy the same pay-as-you-go subscription models for infrastructure services but delivered on premises to their datacenters or colos of their choosing.

Such as-a-Service solutions balance flexibility with control, helping IT leaders pay only for what they require to run their business. This will help curb rising costs associated with resource-intensive workloads – such as GenAI and HPC apps – while affording IT more control over how it consumes compute and storage.

Multicloud-by-Design will evolve

Over the years, organizations have watched their applications sprawl across a number of operating locations, based on requirements for performance, latency, security, data portability or even whims.

As such, most IT organizations run apps on premises, in public and private clouds, in colos and at the edge – a kind of de facto multicloud estate. The location variance will grow significantly, with 87 percent of organizations expecting their application environment to become even more distributed over the next two years, according to a report – Unlocking the Power of Multicloud with Workload Optimization – published by the Enterprise Strategy Group in May 2023.

In 2024, more IT leaders will build multicloud-by-design estates, or intentionally constructed architectures intended to improve application performance and operation efficiency. This will also help meet regulatory requirements, control and secure assets and optimize costs.

Also: Given the large volumes of data they create GenAI apps will have an outsize influence over how IT leaders design their infrastructure, including shepherding staff as they build and train LLMs.

The key takeaway

You may have noted that GenAI is the thread woven throughout these trends. In fact, the most disruptive force in technology in 2023 will also remain the hottest workload in 2024.

IT leaders will have some critical decisions to make about what GenAI applications they run, as well as whether to operate them internally, externally or across multiple locations.

This will require careful consideration of the compute and storage, as well as the architecture that will situate and run them. A multicloud-by-design approach to IT infrastructure provides a smart, responsible path. And a trusted partner can light the way along their journey.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that.

Brought to you by Dell Technologies.