From the adversity of almost two years of pedal-to-the-metal crisis-response, rose immense investment in business transformation and technologies across all industries.
After such rapid transformation, enterprise leaders might be forgiven for wanting to take a pit stop. But this is no time to slow down.
With soaring employee expectations, and competition to digitally innovate, transformation in 2022 will continue apace. In this article, we explore four considerations which will play a key role in transformation strategies next year:
Trend 1 – Enterprise technology will be forced to ‘level-up’ and meet consumer tech standards
Increasingly, workplace technology seems to be playing a losing game of catchup with the consumer devices and apps we use in our everyday lives. In the wake of lockdown, expectations for enterprise solutions have risen. Clunky systems and hard-to-use software have struck an even bigger imbalance between consumer tech and enterprise tech. PwC’s recent global research, including respondents from the UK, found that ‘90% of C-suite executives believe their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology, but only about half of staff say the same’. Similarly, over 60% of employees say they spend more time getting technology to work than they’d like.
Employees, unable to understand why they are still stymied by poor technology at work, will continue to demand more from their employers. This will increase collaboration between the c-suite and employees to truly understand and appreciate the technology gaps that make the difference between a great employee experience and one that drives talent to say ‘goodbye’.
Trend 2 – Voice automation will become an expectation as junior employees join the workforce
The need to level up can be seen in businesses’ delays in exploring technologies such as voice automation, where organisations are far behind the curve. Consumers are already recognising the ease and benefits of voice control and automation – whether it’s asking Siri to set their morning alarms, or Alexa to add items to their shopping list. Businesses though are failing to harness this technology.
Not only are they missing out on valuable time-saving and the opportunity to streamline processes and reduce administration efforts, but such technologies will increasingly become an expectation of the workforce, especially those starting their careers who have grown up with voice automation as part of their daily lives.
For example, there is little reason for an employee to have to book holiday through an HR system, chase approvals, and add a diary marker with voice technology available. Why can they not speak to an Alexa-type front end which will enter dates into the HR system, notify their line manager, and set an out-of-office for them automatically? Voice automation is a win-win. A win for streamlining and a win for employee experience.
Trend 3 – Organisation’s understanding of hybrid cloud will evolve
Over the next year, hybrid cloud will take on a new meaning, for businesses. Usually, hybrid is interpreted as the coalition of public and private cloud, on-premises and off-premises. Now, hybrid will include a third facet; provider.
As organisations look for cloud providers in 2022, they will switch focus away from the ‘type’ of cloud and instead towards choosing a solution which work best for them. This means there will be a shift towards using multiple providers depending on whose cloud and cloud-native components can do the job best. Equally, by identifying the right tool for the job, the number of different technologies being used can be condensed and simplified. Quite simply, it will no longer about where your data is stored but which entity can do the best job of optimising it.
Trend 4 – 2022 will be the year of the Digital Twin
Digital Twin technology – a virtual replica of a real-world entity such as an asset, product, process or environment – has been in development for the last few decades, primarily being used to enhance business operations, providing the next-generation of Business Process Services (BPS).
For example, in 2018 the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Digital Built Britain launched the National Digital Twin project to investigate the use of digital twins in the built environment. Alongside this, multiple government bodies, have stated their desire to use Digital Twin technology to enhance services. This includes National Highways, which will be working with Sopra Steria to create a Digital Twin representation of its road network to predict road conditions and keep traffic flowing.
The use of this technology has already impacted areas such as infrastructure, rail and renewable energy, for example, and the built environment. It is helping to unlock sources of value, from energy-saving to improved performance. With increasingly rich sources of real-time data and analytics available, we will see more organisations invest in the Digital Twin to drive greater agility, efficiency, and data-driven decisions in 2022.
2022 and beyond
While only time will tell if the above forecast will come to fruition, what we do know if that business transformation will not slow over the next 12-18 months. With innovative solutions no longer just a ‘nice to have’ but being demanded by workforces, and organisations realising the importance of only implementing advantageous technology, 2022 is set to focus on true technical innovation.
About the Author
Andy Whitehurst at Chief Technology Officer UK at Sopra Steria. Sopra Steria, a European leader in consulting, digital services and software development, helps its clients drive their digital transformation to obtain tangible and sustainable benefits. It provides end-to-end solutions to make large companies and organisations more competitive by combining in-depth knowledge of a wide range of business sectors and innovative technologies with a fully collaborative approach.