My current job hunt and some freelance assignments have got me thinking about the future of work. It’s easy to wax poetically about hybrid and remote work, but I’ve been thinking more about the tools that’ll power that transformation.
1. Office productivity suites go SaaS
There’s a growing parity between Google Workspace and traditional desktop Office productivity tools such as Microsoft Office. Not to mention, Microsoft is doing some good work extending its ubiquitous Office suite tools into the cloud. Recent news also talks of them adding ChatGPT to Microsoft Office.
For me, Google Workspace Marketplace is where things get interesting for productivity and the future of work. Google has done a masterful job with alliances to offer Workspace users integrations with a wide selection of SaaS applications. My first experience with the Marketplace fundamentally changed my thinking about Office productivity suites and SaaS.
2. Generative AI
I had a chance to test out ChatGPT in earnest during the holidays of 2022. I had it generate short blog posts on some DevOps and cloud topics. Yes, the results were very high-level, but my experiments showed the promise of the technology.
As ChatGPT evolves and OpenAI releases a Pro version, Generative AI will enter the content pipelines inside the marketing and technical communications groups. It’s inevitable. I’m not saying that it will always be a good thing, though.
The first writers to feel the effect of ChatGPT and other Generative AI platforms will be junior technical writers. These writers do the low-level documentation, such as standard operating procedures (SOPs) and introductory materials.
I also had to think about how Generative AI may impact the future of my career. Right now, I see at the outset that I need to double down on my topic specialties even more as a differentiator. I’m also researching how Generative AI could fit into my composing process or similar processes that I may author for a future employer or client.
3. Open source CI/CD pipelines as a managed service
The advent of DevOps platforms such as GitLab and Harness points to a different future for continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines. I recognize these platforms’ technical and security merit, but their adoption isn’t without challenges, especially for teams that have built their CI/CD toolchains to their specifications.
Open source DevOps tools such as Kubernetes, Git, Jenkins, and others underpin the foundation of DevOps toolchains as we know them. Technology tools and frameworks that can manage these tools as a managed service will rise in response to DevOps platforms for enterprises that still want to build their own DevOps pipelines.
4. DevOps to DevSecOps transformation
It’s time for DevSecOps to subsume the DevOps discussion because of the growing demands for secure software development across industries.
DevSecOps is necessary for the future of work because it brings security across the entire development lifecycle supporting the complexity of emerging technologies such as Generative AI and Web3.
5. Software supply chain security
Pressing requirements for software supply chain security will be one of the primary drivers for DevOps to DevSecOps transformation. Open source and commercial security offerings are coming together to extend protection through the entire software supply chain instead of just behind traditional endpoints.
The buzz around software supply chain security is due to subside as more Series A startups that pivoted to software supply chain security can’t secure additional funding. For the most part, that’ll be good news for enterprise buyers as it’ll reduce noise in the market. There’s also the chance that some of the established vendors venturing into software supply chain security may also pull back because of budget fallout from 2022 and 2023 cutbacks and staff layoffs.
Software supply chain security is especially critical to the future of work as so much of the future of work depends on OSS and the work of partners and vendors to make it happen, meaning security will only continue to escalate as a concern.
The technology framework for the future of work is all about cloud and automation as organizations move into the future. Much has been written about how 5G, edge computing, blockchain, Web3, and other emerging technologies will play a role in the future of work. It may all very well be true. However, I prefer to take a more pragmatic stance and focus on the foundations and practices that will make the future of work possible.
Will Kelly is a writer and analyst focused on DevOps and the cloud. He’s a recovering “collaboration geek,” having made SharePoint and other platforms work for teams throughout his career. Will also believes that collaboration is more than just platforms. It requires a culture change to happen. Follow him on Twitter: @willkelly.