From data protection to new cybersecurity regulations, IT leaders must prepare for several emerging trends

Businesses across industries must continue modernizing their mission-critical operations to stay competitive in 2024. But how and where should they allocate investments in the coming months? The answers are complex, as businesses face heightened challenges from cybersecurity threats, increased regulatory compliance and the need to adapt to new technologies.

Financial services, retail and healthcare are three of the world’s most vital industry sectors — each with its own concerns and requirements for profitability and growth in an interconnected world. 

Here, Kyndryl experts share their predictions on the trends industry leaders need to be ready for in the year ahead.

Financial Services

The financial services industry is built on trust. And banks and insurance providers have protected that trust between customers and institutions with digital recordkeeping and transaction protocols since the dawn of computers. While mainframe systems established themselves as the platinum standard for security and reliability in financial services and beyond, it’s time for the industry to integrate them with cloud-based platforms and solutions. 

“As financial services firms look to deploy AI across their IT estates, there’s a lot of work to do around data quality, controls, governance and risk management,” said Robert Turner, GM of U.S. Financial Services at Kyndryl.

Trend #1: Banks will harness the full power of data for digital innovations

To leverage new tools and innovations, including generative artificial intelligence (AI), financial services companies will lean on third-party service providers to help them simplify their complex IT environments and better organize their data, ensuring quality, controls and governance.

Trend #2: Financial firms will move fast to prepare for new security rules

New and emerging regulations in the European Union and the U.S. are expanding responsibility for cybersecurity failures beyond the CISO and CIO to the entire C-suite and board of directors of financial services companies. These companies — and their consulting and IT services partners — must adapt, anticipate and be ready to respond effectively to security threats.

Trend #3: Climate change costs will challenge insurers


Expect insurance providers to increase investment in IT platforms (including cloud) and data-intensive applications to predict risk more accurately as climate change disrupts traditional weather patterns.

Trend #4: The banking industry will explore ways to bridge the IT talent gap

The global IT talent shortage — especially for the mainframe — and competition in the market for modern, full-stack architecture and engineering skills, will necessitate systems integration and modernization. IT professionals must be able to manage embedded systems through platforms that enable the infusion of AI to drive efficiency, bolster security and resilience, and enable business growth.


Retail’s “silver bullet” is customer loyalty. But loyalty is difficult to engender, and easy to lose if customers find better experiences elsewhere. That’s why data analytics remains important. And modernized IT systems that yield individual consumer insights while enabling secure data management will be vital to maintaining customer relationships.

“Unifying data across physical and digital retail interactions is at the heart of personalized and meaningful customer experiences,” said Kayla Broussard, CTO of Retail and Travel at Kyndryl.  

Trend #5: Retailers will invest in mining — and protecting — data as they adopt data-infused technologies

After years of fierce competition between online and brick-and-mortar retailers, data has paved the way to new forms of shopping that are bridging divides between the two. As a result, retailers will focus on mobile apps and loyalty programs to collect the data needed to individualize the shopping experience. Ensuring these apps are essential to the consumer along with ease of use will make or break these apps. And all data will have to remain secure at the data center, edge, on the app and during transmission.

Trend #6: Generative AI will support retailers in new ways


Generative AI will use large language models to tailor product descriptions to specific audiences. Beyond customer support and content creation for products and marketing, retailers will use AI for improved store operations, talent onboarding, merchandising and supply chain management.

Trend #7: Retailers will focus on resilience and preventing data leakage

Security and resilience will form the backbone of retail IT systems — protecting customer and business data, adapting to activity surges (think: florists on Valentine’s Day) and recovering quickly enough to mitigate unplanned downtime, which can cost large retailers hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute in lost sales. 


Worker shortages and spiraling operating costs risk hobbling the healthcare industry. And aging populations in parts of the world will only increase the strain on existing systems and infrastructure. But how can the industry improve patient experiences and outcomes while increasing productivity and holding down costs?

“The healthcare industry is now going to be using AI as a part of daily operations — specifically in a clinical setting,” said Trent Sanders, Vice President of Healthcare at Kyndryl. “This is about improving both the patient and caregiver experiences, and driving better outcomes across the board for health systems.”

Trend #8: Healthcare systems will pursue efficiencies and integration

Legacy healthcare IT can be difficult to dislodge. To maximize patient care, it will be crucial to integrate existing systems with more modern platforms and solutions like the cloud, while maintaining data security.

Trend #9: Healthcare will adopt generative AI at scale while protecting sensitive information

Healthcare requires absolute data privacy and security. And those who would seek to steal, corrupt or disable healthcare data come with a variety of agendas. Keeping bad actors out, while enabling quick and complete access for healthcare providers is the name of the game, and it will require both industry and technical expertise to implement.

Across financial services, retail and healthcare, the ability to operate more efficiently while serving customers or patients better will be the marker for success in 2024 and beyond.

Read our report for additional insights into how various IT trends will impact the financial services, retail and healthcare industries. And for even more tech trends, see what Kyndryl’s global practice leaders have to say about the year ahead.

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