We've all witnessed some profound changes over the last two years. They have been quick, overwhelming and accelerated. And while change is constant, the accelerated pace of change is here to stay, especially when we talk technology transformation.
A general theme for 2022 will be companies starting to reap the rewards of the technology investments they made in response to the pandemic. Typically, these investments were made to enable remote work, create greater IT flexibility through cloud technology and enhance security postures. The challenge to obtaining the rewards won’t necessarily be technology change, but a culture change.
Let’s look at some key themes in details:
AI as a Tool
Artificial intelligence is often portrayed as a replacement for human tasks. And while this is true in some cases, the potentially larger opportunity is AI as a tool to augment human productivity. This will require an acceptance of new technology rather than fear. In the future, we will increasingly find ourselves working with or alongside machines that use smart and cognitive functionality to boost our own abilities and skills. These smart tools will augment the workforce.
A good starting point for organizations will be to start enabling end users with no-code/low-code skills. For example, the Microsoft Power Platform is built to make it easy for end users to automate tasks. This helps end users feel in control of having the technology working for them instead of being replaced by technology. Over time, this will extend to end users using AI within Power Platform. It is starting already with Microsoft Power Platform's integration with GPT-3, a powerful AI engine built by OpenAI.
Related Article: GPT-3 Is Impressive, But it Isn't Artificial General Intelligence
Application Modernization Will Fuel Innovation
We saw a big push during the pandemic to quickly move applications to cloud providers, to make the application more available to people and reduce reliance on the data center. Because time was of the essence, many of the applications were moved “as-is” through a lift and shift approach. Although this addressed the immediate needs of organizations, they're now finding how expensive it is to run in the cloud and they are not getting the scalability they need. Both issues are very solvable by modernizing the applications through either re-architecting how they are deploying them or refactoring them to take advantage of platform services. Those organizations that take on application modernization in 2022 will not only have applications that better serve their user base, but will save money — allowing them to reinvest in innovation with the applications.
Related Article: IT Modernization: Where Should You Start?
Security Will Remain Center Stage
Security has historically been deployed as point solutions to secure different computing elements such as end user devices, data and the corporate data center. With many employees working from anywhere and server workloads deployed to the cloud, computing is becoming very distributed. The disconnectedness of the point solutions causes increases in security exposure. Zero-trust security technologies have been proven to unify the security approach. The challenge can be that just as the technologies were point solutions the people responsible for different parts of securing technology were sometimes in silos with different security objectives. The opportunity now is to use the available technology to unify the security strategy and support organization.
Related Article: Why US Businesses Are Adopting a Zero Trust Model With Technology
Culture Will Need a New Playbook
IT leaders and their teams will not only be focused on what’s coming tomorrow but also on managing all of this transformative change. Many will have distributed roles across tasks and locations. To address any disengagement felt by team members, IT leaders will have to play key roles in building culture differently within a distributed work environment. Leaders will have to factor in change management in this new culture playbook and lead with a fresh new mind set.
Organizations now have the capacity and the access to technology to transform their businesses. In 2022, the opportunity lies in making best of that technology.