When it comes to project management, the new year promises to be one of innovation, adoption of new technologies, and growth.
Now that we are a few weeks into the new year, we are all wondering what changes it will bring. Will it be a year of opportunity, excitement, and success? Or will it bring chaos, changes we aren’t ready for, and a struggle to keep up?
Perhaps the difference between those two takes on the future is only a matter of your point of view.
Opportunity is exciting if you have the tools to harness it. Success is a measure of how well you adapt to change and capture the prospects in front of you. Without a system for responding to change, managing chaos, and capturing opportunities, even the most exciting future can feel like a brewing catastrophe.
Our perspective on 2024 is that innovations in project management will help you embrace change, seize the day, and master challenges in five of the trending areas of managed services.
The last ten years have seen an explosion in technology at a breakneck pace that seems hard to sustain. But, according to all reports, next year will make all of that seem quaint.
There are already new technologies emerging on a weekly basis. But 2024 will be a fireworks-like explosion of innovation, with AI accelerating the change in ways we have not seen before. According to a survey of global technology leaders done by IEEE, we can expect to see AI that is more sophisticated, that can optimize data, and perform complex tasks – and make decisions – with near-human accuracy.
This is good news for MSPs and other technology early adopters. They are feeling the burden of protecting networks and data against malicious attacks while keeping up with the increasingly complex demands of clients who want to adopt new technologies like quantum computing, blockchain, and augmented reality.
Not only will this sophisticated AI bring profitable and interesting new services to offer but it will lift some of the burden of monitoring and managing projects.
With new technologies, comes new maintenance needs, compliance chores, and complexity to manage. As Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2024 reportstates, “AI (traditional and generative alike) can free up precious human cycles from mundane operations and allow people to focus, finally, on higher-value work that better aligns with tomorrow’s business imperatives.”
As you help clients achieve their dreams of automation, you can use automation to track the minutia and keep tabs on updates, billable milestones, and task completion to free your people up to do the work of supporting clients and learning new technologies.
Automation and AI Integration
The hype around AI has people less immersed in technology believing that the promise of AI exploded out of the box in 2023 and is suddenly threatening to transform the future in ways we are only beginning to imagine. We have heard this promise before. And, according to Deloitte’s report, this is merely another step in a natural technical evolution that has been unfolding for decades.
“The technology itself is actually a surprisingly straightforward evolution of machine intelligence capabilities,” the report reads. Businesses have been augmenting their human capital with “mechanical muscle” for nearly 70 years. The machine has been evolving along the way. “That our inorganic colleagues can now paint a picture, write a product description, or sling Python is neither random nor unexpected.”
...the real value of automation and AI integration is to free humans from drudgery so they can innovate, sell, create, and interact with customers.
The fear, according to Deloitte, is that business leaders will see AI as a way to cut costs, eliminate people, or make smaller investments in innovation. But the real value of automation and AI integration is to free humans from drudgery so they can innovate, sell, create, and interact with customers. And it is helping project managers keep a tighter hold on the details without working so hard, allowing them to efficiently take on more projects.
When it comes to project management, AI and automation are finally ready to take over some the labor of staying on top of the details of work. In the past, projects failed in high numbers because it is so hard to calculate for every variable of execution. For some managed service providers this also meant running drastically overbudget. But task-specific AIs can now accurately calculate and predict delivery dates for projects, monitor against timelines and data that is in constant flux, and never miss an important compliance requirement.
Remote Workforce Support
As remote work increasingly becomes table stakes for businesses, the technology that supports it is becoming increasingly necessary, complex, and distributed. This is likely to increase in 2024 as 5G – and perhaps 6G – makes fast, reliable connections available everywhere.
According to Ayesha Iqbal, an IEEE senior member, in the IEEE report, “5G will change the way we connect in 2024, and impact existing industries that rely on connection.”
Making remote worker connections better, faster, and safer will likely fall to the MSP or MSSP whose clients need to make remote roles sustainable and secure. Clients will be looking for work management tools that help them manage resources and see that the work – wherever it is happening – is moving forward. They will also need to collaborate effectively with people who are rarely – if ever – in the office.
This will likely be true in-house at MSPs, too, where the need for high-talent technologists will mandate flexible hiring models – both geographically and temporally. You will have to include team members in different locations, time zones, and availabilities as the world shifts more completely to an asynchronous work model.
Meetings will likely die out, or become more task specific, as collaboration tools that keep projects on track become a virtual office space where people from all locations and times can dip in and join the team.
These same collaboration tools will bring the clients closer, too, as they work within robust, connected-to-the-team tools rather than on email or other less-collaborative methods of communication.
Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
One trend around data analytics, as predicted by data company Agilisium, is that as machine learning and AI grow and evolve, they will unlock our massive stores of data by automating the way we access that data.
When the tools in your tech stack are not integrated, updates to the information you use to make decisions can be dangerously missed.
This will improve decisions across a wide range of industries and tasks. When businesses make decisions about hiring, resource allocation, and more, it is currently very often based on bad data and gut feelings. When the tools in your tech stack are not integrated, updates to the information you use to make decisions can be dangerously missed.
In project management, for example, a project can be well into disaster territory by the time anyone knows a scheduling change or material delivery delay has happened.
But when the data about resource schedules and other events is monitored autonomously – and continuously – project timelines will be based on real, up-to-the-minute data. That means when a schedule changes or a delivery is delayed, it is reflected instantly in the project timeline.
AI and automation will increasingly know how to handle this sort of change. It will either decide what to do when something changes or know who to alert that a decision needs to be made.
While the biggest cybersecurity concerns for 2024 remain the same as they were in 2023, according to IEEE – data center vulnerability, cloud vulnerability, and security related to mobile and hybrid workforces – new concerns will emerge from the fray to make your work more difficult in the new year.
Ransomware, phishing, and insider threats are all poised to become a bigger problem this year. But AI will turn out to be a helpmate. “Rather than having to comb through a needle stack looking for a needle, AI promises to automate much of the correlations across vast amounts of data that humans struggle with,” according to Kayne McGladrey, IEEE senior member.
AI specific to project management can also help MSPs and other security professionals stay on top of the details around client’s NIST compliance, governance, and audit preparation. Templates that capture all the details of compliance for clients – and repeat them accurately with access to up-to-the-minute data – can prevent costly mistakes and oversights.
In conclusion, 2024 will be a pivotal year within the MSP channel, marked by ever more advancements in AI, automation, and cybersecurity, as well as the evolution of remote workforce support and data analytics.
With these, project management is poised to be a catalyst when it comes to embracing these trends. These innovations combined with superior project management not only promise to enhance operational efficiency and decision-making but also empower MSPs to adapt more quickly to the dynamic technological landscape, ensuring both resilience and success in the face of rapid change and emerging challenges.
Want to see how Moovila can help your MSP transform your operational processes this year? Take our project management tool for a spin.