This week is a look ahead to 2023 with predictions on the path to 2030. To frame my look ahead, consider my look ahead from 761 days ago 1 where I considered the future of the cloud in 2030.
Cloud will be an algal bloom of diversified service providers aligned to balkanized geopolitical boundaries terrestrially and a growing number of solar system federated systems of placement.
Back then, my specific predictions in 2020 about 2030 were fifteen (15!) in number. Also, I added cautionary tales and 2022 seems to have been a reflection of one of the cautionary tales — but that’s for another newsletter next year, perhaps.
For 2023, I believe predictions that come true from my 2030 predictions will be a subset:
Previously, Fudge Sunday covered the topic of platform engineering2 back in October this year. Recent attendees of the Gartner conference this month are likely reflecting on the conspicuous references to Track C: Platform Engineering3 as well.
My own 2030 predictions were inspired by my discussions with the Cloud 2030 group. So, if you’ve followed Cloud2030 Podcast then you might have listened to the most recent episode regarding platform engineering.
From my perspective, observability will continue to extend to more platforms in the coming year. As such, increasing reference to platform engineering will be an expression of the societal demand for rapidly improved experiences with the creation and enhancement of digital services.
While there are already memes depicting platform engineering as a trojan horse filled with DevOps folks, this is only a contrarian meme. While clever, there’s more to it than just the meme would humorously imply and platform engineering will become more commonly associated with companies offering advanced product and digital services experiences.
So, let’s look at the likely developments in 2023 as a subset of my 2030 predictions.
First, consider the increase in automation emphasis for businesses transforming their day to day operations. Next, consider the need for transparency in where automation leads to autonomous actions so that a model is not only understood but also has an audit trail that explains why actions are taken in the coming year.
Indeed, just as news coverage kept an accounting of prior industrial revolutions, there will be a new kind of news coverage for the next industrial revolution. How we observe streamed events (news?) on a continuous spectrum of consumer, worker, operator, owner, to regulator will be a fascinating exercise in conversation and convergence.
As software eats the world, there must be an accompanying debug log. That debug log must be not only human readable but also human accessible to those in pursuit of science, technology, and human values.
For this reason, I believe that 2023 will be a year where innovations come to human considerations for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and for their commercial services that will proliferate. Being able to watch the watchers of the new machines will become an evolved form of data driven journalism.
I believe that infrastructure to enable a novel digital experience will be at the whim of one’s own imagination. I also believe that a compounding effect for applied learning tools using low code or no code or no ops will fundamentally alter perception of time to market.
I also believe that shared collaborative notebooks for data analysis, cloud shells, and effortless newsletter publishing will enable an emerging group of business developers that grew up on desktop spreadsheets and behind the firewall business intelligence portals. As such, the next year will mean more blog posts, more newsletters, and more interactive HOWTO material reaching an ever wider audience that will eventually become the next wave of business minded developers.
If the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) ethos is grounded in empathy for the end user of a digital service, then perhaps the Platform Engineering (PE) ethos is grounded in empathy for the developers of a digital service. As such, there is an argument to be made for a subset of cultures or a sub-culture that is manifested this coming year.
For this reason, I believe that 2023 will be a year where the notion of a developer and the developer experience (DevX/DevEx) will become a primary consideration in businesses that want to maintain competitive advantage in their market. Being able to attract and retain all manner of developer talent by providing an an experiential environment of ideation to creation — that this talent cannot wait to interact with and cannot imaging living without it — will be the true competitive advantage in 2023 and beyond.
What other predictions will I get wrong? right?
Until then… Place your bets!
As a reminder, I work at Taos, an IBM Company. If you’d like to learn more about why Taos was named Global Managed Cloud Services Company of the Year for 2022, check out this educational video.
I am linking to my disclosure.