As another year begins to draw to a close, industry experts are already looking to the future. The IT industry has been dynamic over the past few years, with innovations such as improvements in cloud computing, machine learning, and even IT management propelling it forward. At the recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, FL, Gartner took a shot at the future of IT, painting a picture of the industry as being more integrated with business than ever. IT is now so central to operations that businesses can no longer afford to isolate their departments, and Gartner knows this.

Since IT is often a means of improving products/services and generating additional revenue, Gartner’s central point was that professionals in the industry will need to have a working grasp of business tactics and company goals. From there, they can set up IT departments that maximize technology usage to meet these goals. CIOs, Gartner believes, will become more integrated than ever into business operations and become important collaborators for the companies they work for.

One trend that Gartner discussed was cryptocurrency. Starting as a technological curiosity, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have since attracted significant interest for their value in facilitating swift and secure transactions. While working cryptocurrency into business models has proved to be slow going, Gartner predicts that over $1 billion in business value will be derived from it by 2020. They were also optimistic about the future of IoT-enabled devices, predicting an upsurge in these products with smartphone integration.

However, there were other trends that Gartner was less bullish about. The aforementioned prediction of IoT devices came with the caveat that that billions of dollars will be necessary for companies to safely harness this technology. IoT devices are almost famously difficult to completely secure given network decentralization, and their usage would divert funds that would otherwise be spent to improve cybersecurity.

The use of AI was also the subject of controversy for Gartner, with the company citing it as a potential contributor toward a future age of digital mistrust. While they praised the ability of AI to help inform business decisions, they also believe that its use on the web will hasten the spread of false information. This has social and financial implications, with Gartner stating that a major fraud as a result of these prolific falsehoods will occur by 2020. Commercial projects to detect and halt fake news have already begun, and a tenfold increase in these projects is predicted in the coming years.

Still, IT is slated to prosper. As its role in business changes and it becomes more integral to operations, the industry is expected to grow, with a predicted 2.3 million jobs being created as opposed to 1.8 eliminated. Early adoption is, as always, important in the IT sector, and one of the latest trends, visual and voice search, may be the next big investment. Both are growing quickly, and large tech companies are expected to invest in improving their visual and voice query offering through the use of AI.

There is a lot on the horizon for IT. While these improvements will undoubtedly be a boon for the companies and individuals that harness them, a level of caution is necessary. Much of this technology is relatively untested, posing security and operational concerns for businesses. Now more than ever, a need for skilled professionals is arising to ensure that companies are able to adopt in an efficient and safe manner.