Covid-19 has brought profound changes in all areas of our lives. In the business world, the pandemic has not only caused major disruption; it has also significantly accelerated digital transformation. In light of this development, I’d like to spotlight the top five digital trends that are most likely to shape business in the coming years. And this is just a taster: In 2022, I’ll be taking a closer look at each of these trends individually.
Digitization: Adapting to a Changing World
From homeschooling and home working to online retail, the pandemic has significantly accelerated the uptake of digital tech. With businesses increasingly embracing digitization, innovative technologies are driving far-reaching changes in customer demand and behavior, transforming entire industries.
To succeed in this rapidly evolving environment, companies must be willing to harness digitization to adapt to changing markets and technologies. Drawing on my professional experience and the latest market studies (including research by Gartner), I’ve identified five tech trends that are set to shape business during the coming decade and beyond.
These trends offer solutions to the manifold challenges of increasing digitization. By incorporating the associated tech into their strategic planning, organizations can draw up long-term roadmaps for reliable and sustainable business growth.
1) Data Fabric: Integrate and Conquer
With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things and major advances in AI, data volumes are rising exponentially. This presents a host of opportunities, but also many challenges – in the form of siloed data, security risks, and decision-making bottlenecks.
When it comes to tearing down walls between data silos, data fabrics offer a highly effective solution. A data fabric is essentially an architecture that uses intelligent, automated services to integrate data from different pipelines and cloud environments.
The tech has many benefits, including better business decisions through the discovery of relationships between data points from disparate apps; flexible, resilient integration of data sources across platforms and business users; and access to data wherever it’s needed, no matter where it’s stored.
Such is the promise of data fabrics, that Gartner expects solutions of this kind to reduce data management efforts by as much as 70%.
2) Privacy-Enhancing Computation: Ensuring Data Confidentiality
With more and more business transactions being conducted online, organizations are under increasing pressure to safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of users’ data. To master this challenge, IT leaders must find new, more effective ways of meeting these demands.
That’s where privacy-enhancing computation comes in. This innovative approach comprises three main components designed to provide better security and enhance data privacy. These are as follows:
· Homomorphic encryption, which supports computations on encrypted data
· Processing and analytics using privacy-aware machine learning, and
· A trusted environment where data can be processed
When combined, these elements eliminate opportunities for outside threats and ensure cast-iron data protection.
There are use cases for this technology in a wide range of industries as well as for public-cloud infrastructures. Judging by what I’m hearing from tech experts and my clients, I expect some 40% of major organizations to be using at least one privacy-enhancing computation technique by 2025.
3) Generative Artificial Intelligence: AI Gets Creative
We’re all aware of the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in automating repetitive, error-prone manual chores – like transferring information from paper-based documents to enterprise systems. Generative artificial intelligence takes AI to a whole new level – leveraging powerful algorithms to create brand-new content based on existing text, audio, or images.
Generative AI enables computers to learn the patterns underlying the input and use these to produce original content. The tech deploys two neural networks that train each other, resulting in more realistic output. Use cases range from creating photorealistic images for visualizing various objects right through to generating 3D models from 2D images.
Market experts are predicting big things for generative AI. By 2025, Gartner expects it to generate 10% of all data produced.
4) Decision Intelligence: Taking Every Detail into Account
AI is also at the heart of our fourth top trend. While AI and machine learning (ML) already deliver valuable insights from otherwise unmanageably large volumes of data, many companies are looking to take things a step further, using these technologies to provide recommendations for business-critical decisions.
Decision intelligence does just that. Combining data science with decision theory and managerial science, it models and automates the human decision-making process. Drawing on vast pools of information, it can make smart predictions based on historical data and suggest the best course of action. This not only accelerates data-driven decision-making; it also eliminates the bias and mistakes inherent in human decisions.
5) Total Experience: Much More than Just Customer Experience
It almost goes without saying that customer experience is the beating heart of successful brands. Total Experience (TX) is a new approach that, as its name suggests, goes a lot further. TX is geared not only to creating a seamless experience for customers, but also to relieving employees of simple, repetitive tasks.
This broader focus reflects the pivotal role of employee experience and satisfaction in delivering great customer experience. TX aims to ensure satisfied employees by analyzing their pain points, using AI to relieve them of routine chores (for example, by handing these over to chatbot). This allows your staff to concentrate on more creative, higher-value tasks – making for a more positive employee experience.
In addition to offering real-time interaction via chatbots, AI can rapidly personalize interfaces for individual customers – a task that would be far too time-consuming and inefficient if handled by humans. All of this enhances customers’ experience by delivering content tailored to their preferences and saving them the hassle of navigating complex websites or making lengthy calls to support hotlines.
But There’s More…
While the above should give you an initial idea of my top five tech trends, we’ve only really scratched the surface. During the coming year, I’ll be taking a deeper dive into each of these technologies and shedding more light on their real-world applications and business benefits.
As ever, if you’d like to find out more about any of the topics presented here, feel free to reach out to me. And if you think there are other (equally or even more) important tech trends that I’ve not touched on here, please share your thoughts in the comments.