Over the past two years, the world has been reeling from the shock of pandemic, and we are now collectively trying to navigate to our “next normal”. Those of us on the Tech Trends team believe that this represents the opportunity to engineer a better future – not to just repave the old cow paths of IT but also to rethink how we can all move forward together.
And make no mistake: Moving forward will require every one of us. The best art speaks to the human condition, and the best journalism gives voice to public concerns. There’s no doubt the public has been concerned about the rise of “robot overlords”, which is why we have all seen plenty of coverage of the topic. In truth, our AI-assisted future is not a dark mirror, nor is it a glib panacea. Seen from the ground, the reality is that organizations are automating the soul-crushingly repetitive tasks, freeing humans to focus on more interesting, higher-value problems. If anything, humans are only becoming more precious to their employers. The battle for talent, especially in tech, has never been fiercer.
In this year’s Tech Trends report, we examine 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. For example, blockchain is enabling organizations to automate processes that occur between third parties, eliminating the need for manual data exchanges, data entry, and reporting- creating an environment where recording isreporting. IT departments are automating large segments of their core system infrastructure, allowing precious engineers to get back to actual engineering. And AI is acting as a force multiplier in cybersecurity, detecting and responding to threats automatically and easing the burden on cybersecurity workers.
Of course, the pandemic has fueled this year’s trends, 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 mark on existing priorities. Enterprises once viewed the types of initiatives we spotlight 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 digital + physical experiences. Workers expect to work anywhere. And your competitors? Your traditional competitors are becoming ever more efficient, and emergent competitors- those with no business being in your business- would be delighted to put you out of business. Digital disruptors don’t win because they are small. They win because their lean statures allow them to be decisive, agile, and resilient. To thrive in today’s environment, established incumbents are beginning to recognize that thinking bigger requires that they act smaller. That’s why they are looking to automation, abstraction, and outsourcing, and, in turn, the technology pieces that support those concepts, such as cloud, security, and data.
The pandemic challenged orthodoxies as to what can be accomplished. It showed us how much we can achieve when impediments to productivity are removed, and workers are empowered to focus. In IT, workers responded by moving mountains to set up remote work infrastructure and support new ways of reaching customers. This gave IT enhanced credibility. Now, enterprises are looking to their tech teams to drive the next round of innovation: to discover the mountains beyond and move those, too.
At the same time, technology teams find themselves in a precarious spot. Few IT managers would say they have all the people they need. Therefore, in a world of unbounded ambition and finite resources, businesses are trying to figure out how to do more with less.
Tech trends 2022 chronicles automation as the emerging key to both sustaining and enhancing baseline operations, and how this, in turn, empowers workers to move up the value chain and spend their time solving ever-more-valuable problems.
The future is human. So, let’s get to work.
Click HERE to download the full Tech Trends Report of Deloitte.