Platform engineering can help you embrace chaos, take charge, and create advantage.

2023 is already shaping up to be one of the most transformative years in business history. As a business leader, you already know that disruption is the new normal, the digital revolution hasn’t left the building, and the ability to respond rapidly to every force battering business operations—people, process, and technology—is critical to survival.

In this post, we will explore five areas we expect will impact organizations this year and the corresponding opportunities to help you achieve your business goals, regardless of the challenges you’re presented with. We’ll also provide insights into how a platform engineering program can help turn chaos and ambiguity into conviction and advantage.

1.   Talent shortages and salary pressures cripple growth 

The global talent shortage and skills deficiency has proven to be a significant challenge for organizations. An estimated 85 million jobs are expected to go unfilled by 2030 due to a need for more skilled workers.

Cost pressures coupled with recruitment and retention challenges are further compounded by employees’ preferences and expectations, with salary being the most important factor for most employees. 35% also say they would not apply for a job that doesn’t offer the ability to work remotely, at least part-time.

As a business leader, it is essential to address these challenges directly and find innovative ways to attract and retain top talent while balancing cost pressures with growth objectives. A platform engineering program can be an effective strategy for overcoming these shortages by:

  • Sharing knowledge and upskilling existing employees to build long-term capabilities for top talent retention
  • Streamlining operations, reducing costs, and improving productivity through a shared engineering platform
  • Augmenting the talent pool with expert resources from trusted partners to help close the gaps in areas where talent resources will routinely burst and condense

2.   Privacy and personalization complicate customer relationships

Building long-lasting customer relationships has become more convoluted as organizations continue to move deeper into the multifaceted digital realm. Consumers today expect a seamless flow between physical and digital spaces. At the same time, trust has become critical in consumer decision-making. 68% claim trust is important when choosing a brand. However, only 43% of consumers say they can protect their personal data, with a lack of data transparency being the top cause.

Organizations must focus on earning and maintaining the trust of digital-savvy and digital-native consumers. This means prioritizing data transparency, security, and privacy, as they invest in creating safe physical and digital spaces for their customers to enjoy. With the global metaverse market expected to grow at a CAGR of 40% from 2022-2030, organizations will face an even more rapidly evolving landscape.

Organizations must leverage their platform engineering program to help prioritize digital safety, implement robust data protection measures, and not just stay ahead of emerging trends, such as the metaverse, but embrace them, by:

  • Streamlining operations and ensuring a consistent and secure experience across physical and digital spaces
  • Prioritizing data transparency and security across the organization to build trust with consumers
  • Providing self-service developer access to the latest tools and technologies

3.   A confluence of supply chain threats demands continued resilience

The number of billion-dollar natural disasters in the United States has increased dramatically, with 3 in 4 leaders claiming that isolation of a top-20 economy from all others would harm their business. To navigate these challenges, organizations must form strong partnerships throughout their entire 3rd-party ecosystem, tapping into new markets and regions to maintain redundancy and ensure resiliency. 1 in 3 chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) is already planning to automate intelligent workflows with ecosystem partners by 2030.

A heightened emphasis on sustainability is also reshaping global supply chains. As organizations experience increased pressure to address sustainability concerns, 38% of CXOs expect to select suppliers and vendors based on their sustainability profiles and sometimes swap them out for more viable alternatives.

By creating a shared engineering platform, automating intelligent workflows, and prioritizing sustainability, organizations can enhance business continuity and resilience by:

  • Building stronger ecosystem partnerships with validated suppliers and partners
  • Automating intelligent workflows to respond more quickly to changing market conditions
  • Prioritizing sustainability to reduce the risk of long-term supply chain disruptions

4.   Sustainable strategies must be impactfuland realistic

Speaking of sustainability, the conversation doesn’t start and stop with the supply chain. Organizations face growing pressure to improve sustainability targets and outcomes across the business. However, there is a substantial disconnect between talk and action. Only 35% of CEOs report that their organization has acted on its sustainability strategy, despite 86% saying they have one in place. The biggest challenge they face when approaching their sustainability objectives is the lack of a clear, demonstrable return, followed closely by a lack of insights from data.

Organizations must prioritize sustainability as a core part of their strategy. Creating a shared platform engineering program can help support these objectives by:

  • Facilitating cross-department collaboration and sustainability accountability
  • Tracking, measuring, and reporting on sustainability initiative performance
  • Leveraging data and insights to optimize sustainability results

5.   Cyberattack surfaces are expanding exponentially

As cyber threats become more aggressive, complex, and expensive, organizations must prioritize cybersecurity and prepare for a future where data breaches are increasingly common. Common can’t equate to complacency, as the average cost of a data breach in the US has doubled the global average, and costs in highly regulated industries can accrue more than two years after a breach occurs.

Organizations that invest in a robust cybersecurity program supported by a platform engineering program can better protect their systems, applications, and data against breaches by:

  • Streamlining cybersecurity operations for a consistent approach to security across the organization
  • Automating security processes for quicker threat detection and response
  • Prioritizing data protection policies and controls to comply with regulations and maintain customer trust

Platform engineering brings business programs to life

Organizations are sure to face numerous challenges throughout the rest of this year, including talent shortages, digital consumer transformation, supply chain uncertainty, sustainability accountability, and cybersecurity threats. However, these challenges also present opportunities for growth and long-term resilience if approached strategically and with support from partners you trust.

A platform engineering program from IBM can help you address these challenges and unlock new opportunities, starting with streamlining development, delivery, and operations. The platform can also help you bring transparency to the business, which can help you build stronger partnerships, align sustainability goals, and collaborate across departments and teams more effectively. By leveraging data and insights for intelligence-driven automation, you can achieve your sustainability objectives more effectively and respond more proficiently to changing conditions in the market, supply chain, technology, threat, and talent landscapes.

Learn more about IBM Platform Engineering, read the companion report, and watch the on-demand webinar replay.


*All citations sourced from “5 trends for 2023,” IBM Institute for Business Value, December 2022