The ongoing pandemic, crippling supply-chain disruption and “great resignation” are just some of the issues business leaders will have to contend with next year.
Forrester’s newly released 2022 Predictions* series of reports kick off by warning that “the need to act quickly and intelligently in the moment has never been so critical”. For ICT leaders, three standout trends should be factored in when drafting strategies for the year ahead.
Forrester has curated ICT trends from across the globe in the 2022 prediction series, which aims to shed light on where pressure and opportunity will arise in 2022. Key take-outs for leaders include the need for an expansive, longer-term strategy with a keen focus on enabling creativity and innovation, as well as recognising that the IT conversation has moved past digital transformation.
Top predictions for 2022 include:
1. A more expectant and less forgiving digital consumer
“Around 80% of US consumers will see the world as all digital without divide.”
Covid acted as the ultimate digital accelerant with consumers rapidly increasing their tech adoption and usage. Over the last two years, even the biggest digital holdouts began shopping and engaging online and Forrester says that as a result, consumers now have significantly raised expectations, which could catch some companies unaware in 2022.
The company says that while there is still a small measure of forgiveness when it comes to supply chain and other disruptions, overall the new digital consumer has become less forgiving when it comes to subpar digital experiences. In one study of US consumers, Forrester reports that a hefty 56% think companies should have come up with solutions to pandemic-related disruptions by now, while a further 58% expect organisations to be able to meet new digital demands should the world experience another public health emergency.
2. Dreaming, creating and innovating back on the agenda
“Ten percent of technology executives will prioritise investments to radically expand creativity and innovation.”
Forrester believes that digital transformation has come and gone, citing research that shows just 21% of global purchase influencers had digital transformation as a key action when looking at business models. However, the company says this does not in any way suggest that technology acceleration sparked by the pandemic will slow in the coming year.
To differentiate themselves and deliver better business value, companies will look to unlock latent creativity from their employees. To do this, IT leaders will surround their teams with “intelligent technologies” such as predictions engines and automation, designed with outcomes in mind rather than simple improvements in an organisation’s bottom line.
3. South Africa sets the precedent for future AI growth
A South African decision this year to grant the first patent to a creative AI system has reverberated around the globe. As part of its predictions, Forrester says: “This seminal step towards the legal recognition and protection of products will encourage further innovation in creative AI.”
Spurred on by the decision, Forrester says we can expect to see further patents granted to machines in 2022, although it’s quick to point out that the ownership will not be in the traditional sense, but rest with the developers of the AI programs.
Forrester says the move will give developers the safety they need for greater experimentation, knowing they will still have the associated commercial benefits. However, the firm cautions that companies looking to benefit from effective AI will need to rely on speed and creativity to see optimal results.
Other take-outs from the North American report that ICT leaders should be aware of include:
- A warning for companies looking to move to a hybrid form of work. “A third of first attempts at anywhere work simply won’t work.”
- Cloud-native adoption will rise to at least 50% of enterprise firms, becoming the core of cloud strategy from 2022 onwards.
- Investment in smart infrastructure will increase by 40%.
- Brands will look to challenge the dominance of marketplaces (57% of B2C online sales flow through marketplaces in the US and a whopping 98% in China). Forrester believes improved digital experiences will help first-mover brands adopt a “commerce anywhere” approach to give them a multi-channel advantage and reduce their reliance on marketplaces.
Distilling the themes for the year ahead, Forrester is clear that it is the bold companies that are most likely to capitalise on opportunities. “The future is up for grabs. Leading firms will use the crucibles of 2020 and 2021 to forge a path to an agile, creative, and resilient tomorrow.”
*In parallel, Forrester has published the annual series of Planning Assumptions for B2B tech marketers.
For more insight on how to best plan for 2022, contact Joan Osterloh, Forrester’s authorised research partner for South and East Africa.
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