2021 proved that technology continues to be more essential, more distributed, more hybrid and more multi-cloud than ever before. In a do-from-anywhere world, IT spending continued to hit new thresholds and customers’ digital transformation journeys accelerated. In 2022, I believe we will see four themes fast-tracked and at the forefront of the CIOs agenda.
A data-centric culture
From our earliest civilizations, humanity has created cultures built on equal parts judgement (evaluating the available information) and intuition (taking your best guess). Now, with massive investments in intelligent, autonomous technology infrastructure, our world is increasingly data driven. Increasing amounts of data are produced, harnessed by AI and ML and autonomously used to improve functions and operations of every facet of our society. By 2025, Gartner expects that 70% of organizations will have operationalized AI architectures. We are at a tipping point, as our understanding of how to control data, protect data and unleash the power of data becomes culturally ingrained. Within organizations, a culture of data sharing, new behaviors and increasing data literacy will help us move beyond the “data paradox” and reimagine processes and outcomes. This is the Data Era, and we are evolving into a data-centric culture.
The multi-cloud future is now
The IT world understands the benefits of the cloud. But as cloud models mature, it isn’t public cloud or private cloud – it’s multi-cloud. Next year, more than 90% of enterprises are expected to deploy workloads on a mix of private clouds, public clouds, SaaS and existing infrastructure. The multi-cloud future is now, and the architects of data management, artificial intelligence and machine learning will depend on seamless access to multiple clouds. Those who can access multiple clouds, with the right workloads on each cloud, will have a strategic advantage. A consistent cloud experience wherever technology is deployed and developed – whether in data centers, in the public cloud, or at the edge- will be the strategic data control point for the multi-cloud world.
The great decentralization
The Age of Edge Computing is just beginning. And with the growth of the edge, the pendulum continues to swing towards a more distributed environment. We’ll have more data, more locations and more edge use cases than ever before – from rugged and remote locations to retail stores and factory floors. IDC expects the number of new operational processes deployed at the edge to grow from less than 20% today to 90% by 2024. Customers recognize the potential at the edge, but struggle to extract value as they face constraints in security, connectivity and cost. We will see massive investment and innovation in highly distributed, automated and intelligent technologies as edge platforms are rapidly developed and deployed.
From corporate statements to corporate impact
The pandemic brought us many things – challenges, changes and new innovations. Above all, it offered us opportunity to reflect. Our customers and employees have had the chance to think about what is most important to them and will expect company involvement and a collective approach to making an impact, even as they face challenges and headwinds to their businesses. In fact, 90% of companies on the S&P 500 index now publish a CSR report. This accelerates accountability for progress, as annual ESG targets and audited updates go from “nice-to-have” to an established best practice and a driver of company value. We will see a push in many areas – corporate sustainability, climate change, circular economy, working conditions, diversity and inclusion, meeting employee needs for workplace flexibility and more – as companies take action and stakeholders hold them accountable.
By now, we’ve learned that we can make educated guesses on what’s to come, but we certainly can’t expect anything. “Expect the unexpected” could still be a common motto in 2022. However, as with any new year, we have the opportunity to start with fresh optimism. And as a tech optimist myself, my judgement and intuition is telling me we have a lot to be hopeful for.