With 2020 right around the corner, businesses are already evaluating how the ever-evolving technology landscape can assist with potential growth opportunities — and there are a few ways.

Ahead of the new year and just in time for end of the year speculation, research and advisory firm Forrester recently published a report on its projections for 2020. The report, titled “Predictions 2020,” highlights key market dynamics that could impact a company’s growth opportunities next year.

IT trends are expected to play a role in a company’s growth opportunities in the coming year. There are several predictions from Forrester’s report that SMBs should pay close attention to if they want to know what to focus their IT initiatives on. This focus will also help to align them with their business goals in 2020.

The bad news: Data and AI will get weaponized

Even though emerging technologies are creating new opportunities for businesses to generate additional revenue streams, they’re also putting them in harm’s way. Cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated. Hackers are now targeting businesses of all sizes. Ransomware incidents are expected to not only increase but evolve in the next year, as they are very lucrative attacks for cybercriminals. For example, hackers will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to “enhance existing attacks using the tremendous amounts of data now available to them,” according to the report. It’s going to be a lot more difficult for consumers and businesses to identify scams designed to deploy malicious software.

Privacy will finally become a concern among consumers

While everybody voices their concerns over privacy, they’re giving more data away now than ever before. This is happening even with media outlets increasingly reporting on the number of data breaches impacting not only businesses but schools, hospitals, and local and state governments around the world. Next year, consumers may not provide personal information as generously as they have in the past. For instance, more consumers in 2020 are expected to take active measures to protect their privacy. Privacy class-action lawsuits will increase by 300 percent, according to Forrester’s report. As a result of increasing privacy concerns, marketers will begin curbing their reliance on third-party data.

Technology-driven innovation will be key to discovering new business opportunities

Businesses will need to turn to technology for business opportunities to thrive in 2020. “Technology-driven innovation, which is the ability to deliver new business results through opportunities discovered by continuously experimenting with technology, both emerging and established, will soon be table stakes for leading organizations,” the report states. This approach will change the way businesses view the role of IT. “IT will become more embedded, connected and adaptive,” the report added. By understanding the importance of IT’s impact on an organization’s structure, business leaders can properly identify their needs and make the appropriate adjustments to get ahead of their competitors.

CIOs will be known for assisting HR departments with changing workforce dynamics

Businesses will use their CIOs to assist with changing workforce dynamics in 2020. Instead of turning to CIOs for only IT matters, executives will begin to rely on CIOs to generate workforce analytics to assist with controlling costs and improving efficiency. “Smart CIOs will become a trusted advisor and partner to employee experience and HR teams to help with changing workforce dynamics, including working with new emerging technologies or interacting with robots,” the report states. CIOs in the new year will work hand in hand with HR leaders when assessing an organization’s workforce needs.

The predictions above can be summed up simply by the following sentence: No matter the size of your organization, technology advancements will have an impact on your business’s growth in 2020.