As we reach the end of 2021, we look forward to next year with a view on what technologies are likely to dominate the business landscape. It will come as no surprise that most of what we’re predicting will have been accelerated by the pandemic.
The widespread adoption of hybrid working has placed a renewed emphasis on collaboration, security and accessibility. Moving forward, we expect to see more of the same, but with a greater emphasis on convergence as technologies that were developed in silos become more closely integrated.
Whether you call it digitization, digitalization or process automation, it pretty much adds up to the same thing. Digital transformation initiatives have seen traditionally manual or analogue processes automated to create greater transparency, enhance productivity, eliminate error or simply reduce costs. In what some are referring to as hyper-automation, organizations are actively seeking opportunities to digitize processes, faster than ever before.
Digital transformation is not about replacing people with products and processes. It’s about eliminating the repetitive, low-skilled elements of a workflow, freeing valuable resources to tackle the more intricate challenges and address the bigger picture. It also provides significantly greater levels of business intelligence, supporting faster, better-informed decision-making.
A digital world is dependent upon data. It is the lifeblood of our systems and is, arguably, our most valuable asset. Unfortunately, the intrinsic value of data means it is attractive to cyber criminals. The hybrid working revolution that we’ve experienced over the past couple of years has added risk and complexity to a borderless infrastructure that was already complex and risky.
Edge computing, mobile workers and the Internet of Things (amongst others) have surfaced an extraordinary amount of data, some of which is sensitive in nature. A robust cyber security stance will feature a combination of protection and prevention technologies, with a renewed emphasis on access control and the enforcement of security policies. Cyber security will focus on two core components, the security of data itself and the security of the networks it travels across.
It’s tempting to look at cloud adoption as a cop-out when it comes to tech trends, as it’s been trending for a decade or more. However, despite the obvious advantages of as-a-service propositions, there has yet to be the mass migration of services some predicted. However, the pandemic has had a noticeable impact on cloud adoption and migration. The agility, predictability and accessibility of cloud-based infrastructure and applications are ideally suited to a hybrid working environment where users are no longer tied to a physical location.
The traditional barriers to cloud adoption (primarily security, control and complexity) have steadily been eroded. In fact, many of the factors that were historically seen as negatives associated with cloud computing, have become positives. Ubiquitous connectivity and the emergence of new 5G cellular or 400Gbps Ethernet services means users have access to infrastructure that can easily handle today’s big-data applications.
Our relationship with work has changed beyond recognition. If the past two years has taught us anything it’s that work is something we do, not somewhere we go. Many business owners or stakeholders were concerned about the impact of remote working on productivity. It turns out that if you empower your workforce with the right tools, they are perfectly capable of working from anywhere, on any device.
Convenience plays an important role in the adoption of new technologies. However, as remote working becomes the norm, rather than the exception, businesses will need to adopt a new approach to file sharing and collaboration. If not security-first, at least not security-last. Documents, spreadsheets and other email attachments are the number one vehicle for malicious file content, exposing corporate networks to potentially devastating malware attacks.
AI is another one of those technologies that seems to have been on the trend list for a while. What’s likely to make 2022 different is that AI has evolved beyond the theoretical to the practical, with machine learning, cognitive computing, big data analytics and more making its way into mainstream applications.
We’re not suggesting we’re anywhere close to self-awareness yet, but AI-driven applications are well established in many sectors, including e-Commerce, Financial Services, Healthcare, Human Resources and the automotive industry. The longer these systems are in place, the better (smarter) they get. In a big data world, AI is the perfect technology to augment information gathering, analysis and interpretation.
So that’s our list of 5 tech trends for next year. Do you agree? Did we miss anything obvious? Tell us what your predicted trend of 2022 is, for your chance to win a £100 Amazon Voucher! Enter the competition here!