Tim Pitts, the Senior Partner at Agilisys, provides eight predictions for the future of technology in 2022
While some organizations site there has been a fundamental shift in digital thinking due to the pandemic, others argue that it was merely the catalyst needed to make organizations adopt the changes they should have done long ago. But as we move into the ‘new normal’, what are the areas of technology that savvy organizations should be concentrating on over the next 12 months?
1. The changing role of IT within the business
The barriers to digital transformation have been eroded during the pandemic. IT departments have pivoted away from being a function that’s about keeping the lights on, which is instrumental to driving digital capabilities throughout the entire organization.
For CIOs, 2022 will be the year that the job firmly moves away from just looking after the infrastructure. It is time for organizations to think differently. To not only survive but thrive, organizations should place technology leaders on the board, not least of which because they can’t pivot without having digital leadership properly challenging the business to re-think.
2. The next phase of RPA
In recent times, many organizations have already adopted robotic process automation (RPA) to remove time-sapping tasks from staff to allow them to focus on more impactful work that will help cultivate customer loyalty. Thus far, RPA has been primarily used by business functions such as finance, HR, and IT. However, in 2022, data and risk management will become a core driver of RPA. The ability of bots to not do anything unexpected really plays to that compliance and audit aspect. Because they’re not going to deviate or do anything other than what they’re expected to, there’s a direct risk mitigation aspect to their role. Therefore, It can be expected that organizations will move those tasks where the risk of human error is high to RPA.
3. Using data to improve the customer journey
The digital transformation we are now seeing is more tactical, focusing on how people approach problems versus the technology itself. With the increasing power of technology, connecting services, data, and customer interactions is a starting point for many. However, it is just a small part of what is possible. In 2022, organizations will look at how they can leverage the data they’ve got within the business to eliminate customer friction across the entire customer journey. This will give consumers that digital experience they increasingly expect.
4. Using technology to remain agile
In 2022, digital leaders will increasingly look at the available information and use it to understand where demand is coming from. While demand has undoubtedly shifted – due in no small part to the myriad of global lockdowns – supply has shifted too. There have been widespread supply issues across all industries that have required organizations to be more agile than ever before. This will continue into 2022. Businesses will need to use the data at their fingertips to accurately predict, pre-empt and pre-authorize processes within the business to ensure that they can continue to be agile and compete.
5. Better harnessing the data within the business
In recent years, organizations have started to recognize the power of what can be done with the data they have within the business. However, most are still only scratching the surface. Think about the world of IoT and the myriad of sensors. By harnessing the power of this data, a healthcare business could theoretically cut the number of adult social care workers, allowing a fundamental shift in the skillsets required within these teams.
This couldn’t have come at a better time. Across most industries, we are seeing a skills shortage due to the lasting effects of the pandemic, Brexit, and inflation. If certain customer-facing roles could be switched with data specialists, analysts, and home tech specialists, businesses could end up shifting the narrative and allowing themselves the space to deal with a much wider range of challenges.
6. Using technology to help with staff wellbeing
Across all industries, there is currently an acute need to manage staff wellbeing. While there were plenty of issues before the pandemic, these have been exacerbated over the past year and a bit. Never has there been a better time to identify and measure the most significant problems and address them urgently. In 2022, technology will increasingly be used to help. One of its main benefits is taking emotion out of the equation. If decisions and plans are based on data, it is easier for businesses to remain objective and respond to the issues that have been identified as causing problems for the general productivity and wellbeing of their people.
7. Continuing to move operations into the cloud
I don’t think anyone would disagree that for a business to become a true digital enabler, they need to move to the cloud. If an organization wants to make the best of the latest resource-intensive technology such as machine learning, most can’t afford the computing power to do it properly, so they need to look elsewhere. It’s fair to say that most of the spending on innovation today is in the cloud. There are hundreds of digital services released each quarter by prominent tech vendors, and very few of them are now built with on-premises in mind. Plus, the big three cloud providers themselves spent just under £70bn on development last year. That’s a considerable investment that all businesses should be taking advantage of in 2022.
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Transformation is driven by the climate emergency
The climate emergency will, quite rightly, continue to be on everyone’s minds in 2022. In the light of the recent COP26 summit that monopolized headlines for weeks, numerous governments and respected organizations declared a climate emergency. Moving to the cloud is a no-brainer for any business with environmental aspirations. Plus, with all three big cloud providers declaring they’ll be carbon negative by 2030, let alone carbon neutral, there is yet another compelling reason to head to the cloud for the good of the planet.