Thinking Big in 2020: Flexential Executives Share Their Top Predictions for the New Year

January 24, 2020

The pace of innovation in the IT infrastructure industry is faster than ever and shows no signs of slowing.

At Flexential, we pride ourselves on innovating even faster so that our customers, who are tasked with meeting stringent security, compliance and resiliency demands, can be confident that their highly sensitive data will remain secure now and in the future—regardless of any future business needs.

In the spirit of staying ahead of the curve, here’s a look at what our executives foresee changing in edge computing, disaster recovery, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and even company culture in 2020.


The machine learning versus privacy debate will heat up. Already, 55% of adults in the United Kingdom want restrictions placed on police use of facial recognition technology—and that sentiment will continue to grow as machine learning and AI get smarter and become more capable of being invasive.

Flexential Vice President of Customer Solutions and Services Craig Cook says:

“In 2020, we will see more government entities declaring privacy regulations on what data businesses can and cannot use. Some countries, such as China, are measuring their students’ brain waves with IoT sensors during class to provide teachers with more customizable content to achieve better retention and results. In the next year, we will see which governments will allow this level of technology within municipalities, and the cyber vulnerabilities associated with this type of use case will become paramount.”

Edge Computing

Gartner predicts that by 2022 more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud. Today’s IT environments are highly dynamic with larger workloads increasing demands. To keep up, enterprises need to look beyond the four walls of a data center and find a partner whose solutions encompass all of the hybrid IT universe, from colocation, cloud and connectivity to data protection and professional services.

According to Flexential Chief Executive Officer Chris Downie,

“While data centers provide power, space and climate-controlled environments, companies must offer more to solve their customers’ needs. This includes connections to the rest of the world, access to single-tenant and multi-tenant cloud as well as hyperscalers. Businesses also want a portion of their workloads to be at the edge, available closer to the end users. In 2020, servers and storage will no longer be enough—going beyond the four walls of a data center will be imperative for data center providers to satisfy their customers.”

Artificial Intelligence

2020 will be the year of businesses finding use cases for AI helping AI. Worldwide revenue from the AI market is projected to reach as high as $190 billion by 2025, and new use cases for the technology are growing just as fast.

Flexential Chief Innovation Officer Jason Carolan says:

“2020 will be the year of AI; it is the electricity powering the fourth industrial revolution. We will see more instances of high-cost development industries acquiring AI capabilities, like ONTAP AI, that will fix cost structures and offer speed for new development. AI and predictive modeling can be smartly deployed to reduce the high costs of, for example, a custom pharmaceutical drug that would have otherwise been too expensive to produce. It will be AI helping AI.”

Disaster Recovery

Between cyberattacks and human error, more natural and man-made disasters will hit in 2020 than ever before. In fact, Category 4 and Category 5 hurricanes are set to increase by 45% to 85%, according to The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. How should businesses be preparing for a year of more disasters than ever before?

Flexential CRO Pat Doherty says:

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Informationnotes that the U.S. is experiencing a rise in expensive natural disasters as a result of climate change, exposure and vulnerability. For every degree Celsius the planet gets hotter, lightning strikes increase by 12%—and the American Meteorological Society’s State of the Climate in 2018 noted that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. As we continue to face climate change, severe weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and snowstorms are a significant threat to businesses housing critical data. Putting a solid recovery plan in place for natural disasters will become a top priority for businesses in 2020.”

Hybrid IT

The use of hybrid IT environments is growing as companies boomerang back from going all in on the public cloud. In fact, the global hybrid cloud market is set to reach a 23% compound annual growth rate between 2018 and 2023—an increase from $40.6 billion to $138.6 billion.

Flexential Chief Operating Officer Mike Fuhrman predicts:

“In 2020, we will continue to see businesses boomerang back from an all-in hyperscale cloud strategy to a hybrid IT model. This is in part due to businesses realizing the importance of decentralizing their workloads to get users the data that they need quickly and efficiently. From streaming content to processing data from IoT devices, ensuring that workloads are strategically located is important. This can be best achieved through the flexibility of a hybrid IT environment, where workload storage is matched to location based on individualized needs.”


According to a report from jobs site Indeed, only 0.13% of U.S. job postings, or just one in 1,000 postings, had terms like “open PTO” or “unlimited vacation” in the job descriptions. Even among tech job postings, only 0.9% listed unlimited vacation as a benefit.

As for me, Flexential SVP of Marketing Kristen Cardinalli, I believe these businesses need to think twice about culture if they want to attract and retain top talent in the coming year.

“Culture will be a deciding factor for more new hires as they look for balance and fit. With the low unemployment rate, employees have more choices than ever. Companies will need to make sure their culture is inclusive, education-oriented and fun or they will lose not only their top employees but also their hardworking team. This is especially true within marketing departments because the demand for marketers is increasing. At Flexential, we work hard and play hard—we also offer unlimited PTO to show our support to employees and cultivate a culture of balance.”

Kristen Cardinalli, Senior Vice President of Marketing

Kristen Cardinalli

Senior Vice President, Marketing

Kristen leads all aspects of marketing for Flexential. She is responsible for driving growth, brand awareness, marketing technology strategy and channel, solution and product marketing. Kristen joined the company in 2019.

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