Tech Trends 2022: An Overview has been saved
Tech Trends 2022: An Overview
As published in the CIO Journal for The Wall Street Journal
Deloitte’s 13th annual ‘Tech Trends’ report chronicles how many organizations are responding to COVID-19 disruption by doubling down on existing priorities years ahead of schedule.
Over the past two years, the world has been reeling from the shock of the pandemic. But for many, this collective exercise in trying to navigate the “next normal” is also an opportunity to engineer a better future—including rethinking how to use IT to all move forward together.
Deloitte’s 13th annual “Tech Trends” report, examines different ways pioneering enterprises are automating, abstracting, and outsourcing their business processes to increasingly powerful tech tools. In doing so, they are arming their employees with superpowers to tackle innovative projects that deliver competitive differentiation.
The pandemic has fueled this year’s trends, of course, but it would be a mistake to view them as a direct response to COVID-19 disruption. Rather than reorienting businesses’ goals, the pandemic has simply put an exclamation point on existing priorities. Enterprises once viewed these types of initiatives as projects that would play out over the next five to 10 years. The reality? These trends need to be tackled today. Customers expect outstanding experiences that fuse digital and physical. Workers expect to work anywhere. And traditional competitors are becoming ever more efficient, while emergent competitors would be delighted to put legacy organizations out of business.
The pandemic challenged orthodoxies as to what can be accomplished, demonstrating how much can be achieved when impediments to productivity are removed and workers are empowered to focus. In IT, workers moved mountains to set up remote work infrastructure and support new ways of reaching customers, enhancing the function’s credibility. Now, enterprises are looking to their tech teams to drive the next round of innovation. At the same time, technology teams find themselves in a precarious spot, as few IT managers would say they have all the people they need.
Enterprises once viewed these types of initiatives as projects that would play out over the next five to 10 years. The reality? These trends need to be tackled today.
Therefore, in a world of unbounded ambition and finite resources, businesses are trying to figure out how to do more with less. This year’s report chronicles automation as the emerging key to both sustaining and enhancing baseline operations, and how this, in turn, empowers workers to spend their time more valuably solving ever more difficult problems.
It’s time to get to work. This year’s trends, which are likely to affect businesses in the next 18 to 24 months, focus on three main areas: advancing the enterprise, optimizing IT, and projecting the possible:
Advancing the enterprise: Using powerful technology tools such as data, cloud, and security, organizations can create powerful new business models to meet customer demands and gain competitive advantage.
- Data sharing made easy. A host of new technologies promise to simplify the mechanics of data sharing across and between organizations while preserving the veil of privacy. As part of a growing trend, organizations are unlocking more value from their own sensitive data while also leveraging enormous volumes of externally sourced data that has traditionally been off limits. This can open up a new arena of data-driven opportunities. Indeed, the ability to share secured data with others within an ecosystem or value chain is giving rise to new business models and products.
- Cloud goes vertical. The center of gravity around digital transformation has shifted from meeting the IT needs of an industry-agnostic organization to meeting the unique strategic and operational needs of each sector and even subsector. Hyperscalers and SaaS vendors are working with global systems integrators and clients to provide modularized, vertical-specific business services and accelerators that can be easily adopted and built upon for unique differentiation. As this trend gains momentum, deploying applications will become a process of assembly rather than creation. Business processes will become strategic commodities to be purchased, freeing organizations to focus precious development resources on critical areas of strategy and competitive differentiation.
- Blockchain: Ready for business. Trendy cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) capture media headlines and public imagination, but these and other blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are also making waves in the enterprise. In fact, blockchain and DLT platforms are well on their way to driving real productivity, fundamentally changing the nature of doing business across organizational boundaries. They are helping companies take a more automated approach to how they make and manage identity, data, brand, provenance, professional certifications, copyrights, and other tangible and digital assets.
Optimizing IT: By applying automation, AI, and machine learning to internal processes, lean IT talent can focus on strategic, value-add projects while enhancing operations.
- IT, disrupt thyself: Automating at scale. Faced with creeping technological complexity and higher expectations of stability and availability, some CIOs are radically reengineering their IT organizations. How? By taking a page from the cloud provider’s playbook. They are identifying repetitive, manual processes and applying a combination of engineering, automation, and self-service. The net result is streamlined timelines, accelerated value delivery, and more effective and stable IT across the board. This kind of disruptive automation represents a vast yet underrealized opportunity.
- Cyber AI: Real defense. Security teams may soon be overwhelmed by the sheer volume, sophistication, and difficulty of detecting cyberattacks. Enterprise attack surfaces are expanding exponentially. The use of 5G is growing, along with the number of network-connected devices; remote work is gaining ground; and third-party attacks have become increasingly pernicious. It’s time to call for AI backup. Cyber AI can be a force multiplier that enables organizations not only to respond faster than their attackers can move but also to anticipate these moves and act in advance.
- The tech stack goes physical. With the explosion of smart devices and the increased automation of physical tasks, IT’s remit is growing again, extending beyond laptops and phones. CIOs must now consider how to onboard, manage, maintain, and secure such business-critical physical assets as smart factory equipment, automated cooking robots, inspection drones, health monitors, and countless others. Because outages could be business- or life-threatening, devices in the evolving physical tech stack require the highest levels of system uptime and resilience.
Projecting the possible. This chapter examines the trajectories of three technologies likely to dominate the digital landscape a decade or more from now.
- Field notes from the future. Though currently nascent, quantum, exponential intelligence, and ambient computing have each captured the imaginations of researchers and the investment dollars of venture capitalists, startups, and enterprises. With diligence and groundwork planning, organizations can be ready to act when the future finally arrives.
—by Scott Buchholz, emerging technology research director and Government & Public Services CTO; Mike Bechtel, managing director and chief futurist; and Bill Briggs, global CTO, all with Deloitte Consulting LLP
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