This is especially so in recent times when the conversation has turned to digital transformation, with global events creating one of the most exciting but unpredictable eras the technology industry has witnessed. The very nature of technology means things move quickly but the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption at a rate no one would have foreseen in the early weeks of 2020 and many concepts and projects that seemed several years away are now an engrained part of business life.
With that in mind, compiling a digital transformation trends list has never been a more challenging exercise and their authors risk being left with egg on their faces. However, the team at Probe CX loves nothing more than a challenge and, after much discussion and analysis, here are the eight digital trends that we believe will stand the test of time in 2022.
It may seem like a free hit to say adoption of technology will continue to grow during the next year but it’s worth remembering how far we’ve come since those pre-COVID days. Back then, not all businesses had yet jumped on the digital transformation bandwagon but the events of the past couple of years have created a new normal where everyone from executives and staff to the customers they serve are heavily invested in the benefits of digital. According to the IDC, global investment in digital transformation will reach an incredible $2.3 trillion by 2023 as the United States, Europe and China lead the way as the biggest spenders. When it comes to specific industries, the financial services foursome of banking, insurance, security and investment will record the highest outlay.
Endless words have been written about how artificial intelligence and machine learning are rewriting the business narrative but it is within manufacturing where some of the greatest change will be witnessed. A recent Accenture report revealed AI-powered technologies will increase productivity in manufacturing by a jaw-dropping 40% by 2035, while a Boston Consulting Group study found that 86% of companies plan to deploy advanced robots in their operations within the next three to five years. That said, businesses do face a challenge balancing their ambitions with execution given 92% of senior manufacturing executives believe digital technologies are a ticket to increased productivity but only 12% are making “significant use” of AI.
As COVID-19 edges closer to becoming endemic and the world returns to some sense of normalcy, there are expectations among many senior leaders that their employees will be sitting back in their offices full-time. Good luck with that theory! The remote work genie is out of the bottle and major companies in nearly every industry are recognising the need to offer permanent flexible working arrangements to not only keep their staff but keep them happy. The greater likelihood is some staff will work from the office and others from home, which means organisations will increasingly invest in technologies that allow seamless collaboration across various sites. The use of online conferencing platforms soared in the early days of COVID-19 but a recent report revealed only 8% of physical conference rooms around the world are equipped to handle video conferencing. With that in mind, brace for a wave of software and hardware tools to hit the market as the likes of Zoom, Poly, Google and Microsoft do all they can to improve the user experience for online meeting participants.
The fifth-generation technology for mobile networks has been on our radar for what seems like years but the day is fast approaching when it supercharges the digital transformation experience. Boasting primary features such as multi-peak data speeds, low latency, improved user experience, better connectivity and improved network bandwidth, 5G will drive rapid advances in a range of technologies primed for its unprecedented data transfer capabilities. This will be particularly so in the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT), with smart vehicles able to store and initiate bi-directional communication, shipping companies to better track delivery of items and health practitioners to offer first-rate and seamless monitoring of remote patients.
Everything-as-a-Service (Xaas) has joined the growing list of as-a-service acronyms – think SaaS, Paas and IaaS - and 2022 will see uptake soar as users embrace its promise to deliver anything to customers. Also known as Anything-as-a-Service, the concept reaches further than traditional cloud service models such as SaaS by including more services including Storage-as-a-Service, Containers-as-a-Service, Function-as-a-Service, Security-as-a-Service, Unified-Communication-as-a-Service and Video-as-a-Service. An added bonus, XaaS also enables ‘Servitisation’, which sees a combination of products and services offered in one package such as Amazon’s Alexa where AI-driven services are presented with portable hardware products. Given its reputation for delivering financial efficiency and improved productivity to more robust cyber security and greater agility, the XaaS approach will continue to grow as an in-house solution.
The past couple of years has been a migraine-inducing period for HR executives, with a skills shortage in many industries combining with the so-called Great Resignation to create an increasingly competitive battle for talent. Difficult times call for unique solutions and such is the case for the 40% of employers that believe artificial intelligence will help fill the upcoming skills gap. That was the finding of a recent survey of 600 HR leaders and when you consider real-life scenarios, it’s understandable why companies are looking to AI over human hands. Look no further than the fact it costs just $25,000 to buy a robotic barista arm that can work non-stop and never calls in sick or asks for a holiday compared to the $20,000 it costs Starbucks to hire a barista. Elsewhere, the likes of the Google Brain AI research team are building software that can itself design machine learning software, thus allowing companies to employ fewer developers but task them with more strategic, forward-focused challenges and less time-consuming, menial projects.
Security and digital trust has always been a key part of the technology conversation but the events of the past two years means it has even more importance in 2022. The pandemic has not only resulted in a boom in online transactions but also a huge number of businesses shifting to remote working environments. This combination means data protection and cyber security will be one of the most important features of technology and commercial engagement in coming months. Businesses are increasingly aware that their applications and automation must be 100% secure to gain the trust of their consumers and security-by-default will become essential for those organisations to do just that. One only has to reflect on Facebook’s significant security breach of 2018 to see how quickly a company’s reputation can be damaged by a privacy lapse and one of the key learnings was it is not just a matter of executives being willing to invest in cybersecurity but knowing how to communicate the stringency of those measures to their employees and customers.
On a specific note, businesses should prepare for digital banking to be one of the year’s top technology trends. Any financial institution that is yet to develop and deploy a wide-ranging digital strategy is not in the game and that means all organisations will be impacted by a rapid rise in how they must not only be prepared to engage fiscally with their banks and lenders but their customers. From loan applications and digital payments to online document verifications, digital banking is set to have a huge transformational influence on all sectors.
Digital transformation has quickly evolved from the latest corporate buzzword to a concept that should be at the front of any executive’s mind if they are serious about the growth of their organisations. It is about reimagining how a company does business in the digital age and that means being one step ahead of the game. These eight digital transformation market trends are a compelling insight into how the tech landscape is likely to evolve in coming months and with that knowledge comes the potential for savvy organisations to trigger disruption, accelerate growth and deliver better customer and employee experiences.
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