Christian Reilly, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Citrix

The year 2019 has been an incredible one for technology. We have seen an explosion of software-as-a-service (SaaS), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, new social platforms and new business models that have changed the face of economies across the globe.

The following are some of the trends that will keep the industry moving during 2020…

Evolution of the CIO role

For many years, we have had chief information officers (CIOs) that operated in control of the “department of no”. The new CIOs will wear the hat of an innovation officer, in addition to that of an information officer. They will be a change agent at the very core, helping remove the final barriers between IT and the business. They will focus primarily on the “why” of technology, rather than getting bogged down by the “how”.

The end of digital transformation

We have all heard how digital transformation will change user experience across the globe. Yet, when we engage with our customers, it is very rare that we hear a story about how technology will enable their new business models in the next three to five years. Many enterprises that are stuck with legacy technologies and are piling on more technology for the sake of it without thinking about how that is affecting emerging business models are doomed to fail.

People-centric computing

In 2020, our focus will shift towards people-centric computing. This long-sought-after balance between user demand and the needs of IT will finally be achieved by delivering an adaptive workspace, which learns deeply how an individual prefers to work. It is productive in nature and contextual, delivering the right tools, information and applications, and drives high levels of productivity. The people-centric computing approach will focus on how individuals want to work rather than the technology.

AI and bots

Think about what we see every day our interactions with voice assistants and recommendation engines that get smarter and smarter, helping us buy more things we do not really need. In 2020, AI will continue to grow, particularly in the areas of narrow AI and machine learning. The real question is not how many jobs will be replaced by 2020, but how much more innovation will we get from our staff when we can use the machines to our advantage.

Gesture control

We are increasingly moving into a world where the way we interact with technology becomes our own personal choice. Whether we talk to the device, touch the screen, or immerse ourselves in a completely different environment, gesture control and the physical movement will become the key ways of interacting, exploring, learning, creating, and engaging.


We have seen an increase in the adoption of SaaS technologies to replace existing on-premises applications. Yet, we see lots of applications still being developed by in-house teams, but in a much different way. Microservice applications require brand new development and operation approaches. The big cloud vendors are slowly creeping into corporate data centres, bringing the promise of delivering “everything-as-a-service” for the new world.

Hybrid cloud

In 2020, hybrid cloud will be the predominant mode of cloud computing. Experience tells us that we deploy the right tools to the right cloud at the right time and for the right reasons. Every time you acquire a new SaaS application, you are adding another cloud to your environment.

Employee experience

In the recent past, many organisations have spent a considerable amount of financial and human resources to enhance the customer experience, and build digital platforms in order to engage and retain customers. And yet in 2020, we are going to see a shift in focus from customer experience to employee experience. Many digitally mature organisations have already started giving importance to enabling technologies and processes to drive the employee experience.

Fundamentally, ease of use and flexibility are the key pillars of employee experience. To build on these, new methods of tracking behaviour will be developed that can interact with new technologies and processes, ultimately improving the value for the organisation.

Net, net

We are on the edge of the fourth industrial revolution, where the speed of technology and the way it impacts business are going to be like nothing we have ever seen before. That simply has no historical precedent.