Business and consumer landscapes have evolved considerably over the last two years, especially in the way consumers interact with businesses to how organisations manage operations and deliver value in today’s remote environment. The acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies is a result of increased demand by businesses prioritising streamlined operations, achieving a better speed to market, and ensuring a seamless digital experience for customers.
While 2021 was all about technological breakthroughs primarily aimed to serve communities and give companies a leg up against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, it is expected that 2022 will be the year of invention and re-innovation.
According to Gartner estimates, worldwide IT spending is projected to grow to $4.5 trillion in 2022, which is a 5.5% increase from 2021, and also said to be the highest Y0Y growth in the last decade.
In 2022, an accelerated rate of digitisation and virtualisation of business and society seems inevitable and as this continues to gain momentum, here are some top trends that industry experts say will influence the way products are built and consumed and will define future-ready organisations of tomorrow.
Rise in cloud adoption to enable a hybrid workplace
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the virtual shift of work, delivering digital services became a challenging task and the usage of the cloud increased extensively.
A unified experience in a hybrid work model commands an infrastructure that can seamlessly manage data, applications, and workloads between connected computing environments. “Hybrid cloud will provide businesses with this opportunity. A hybrid cloud approach enables businesses to combine several strengths and reduce complexities such as legacy system modernisation, limited IT management support, capital expenditure implications, etc., to further deliver an optimum experience,” says Vivek Sharma, managing director - India, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG).
In the coming year with hybrid and remote working becoming both a need and demand, the cloud will be more entrenched as more computing workloads will run on it. “Cloud Solutions, especially from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, have been seeing rapid adoption and driving innovation in cloud, virtualisation, and infrastructure maintenance space. We will also see innovation and development in cloud and data centre infrastructure,” says Piyush Raj Akhouri, co-founder and business head, Bridgen Tech, a boutique contract to hire staffing and solutions providers with a presence in West Europe, North America, and South-East Asia.
Gaurav Agarwal, senior director – Enterprise and Government Sales, VMware India, says going forward, enterprises will increasingly focus on modernising applications to ensure agility, resilience, and scale to serve their end customers better. To develop modern apps using containers and microservices, they will need fundamental skills and a cloud-native approach in place to enable highly automated cloud platforms that improve the overall quality of application development.
“We also foresee increased adoption of multi-cloud that will help enterprises to leverage AI, ML, and data capabilities. On average, organisations run hundreds of apps across many different clouds, and it has never been more important for enterprises to have consistent visibility and control across the full spectrum of application architectures and infrastructure resources,” he adds.
Agarwal also says a fresh approach to security is needed.
“Unfortunately, traditional bolted-on security solutions can leave significant gaps while adding complexity. Organisations need to relook their security architectures and deploy cloud-native endpoint security that leverages behavioural analytics to identify and stop emerging threats before a potential cyberattack affects the organisation’s business,” he adds.
Market forecasts indicate global spending on Cloud services to reach over $482 billion in 2022, a testimony to the Cloud’s relevance for digital transformation or innovation.
Kanchan Ray, Chief Technology Officer, Nagarro says the scalability of the Cloud allows organizations of all sizes to adopt the agile potential of the platform, as well as optimize productivity and cost-effectiveness.
"While focusing investments on areas where the Cloud can reap increased revenues is essential, we also need to evaluate its impact on the environment. Here, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) needs a more profound understanding as it also impacts operating margins and profitability. Organizations working towards achieving carbon neutrality, in the long run, are more likely to gain through the Cloud. Inherent dependencies on captive power versus fossil fuels etc. will be reduced, but this also means that ESG focus for the Cloud takes a whole new imperative. Hardware efficiencies, automation, and configuring applications on the Cloud will all play an increased role in creating a greener world and positive balance sheets," he adds.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR technology integrates digital information with the physical environment, live and in real-time. Through the addition of graphics, sounds, haptic feedback, or even smell of the natural world as it exists, AR can combine real life with a superimposed image or animation using the camera on a mobile device or AR headset.
“The global augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) market is forecast to reach $30.7 billion in 2021, rising to close to $300 billion by 2024. AR is now seeing unprecedented adoption by large companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, IKEA, and new start-ups alike. With Mobile AR taking the lead, major growth is going to be seen in online shopping where customers can connect with products in a more integrated experience,” says Akhouri.
Blockchain is one of the most exciting tech trends.
Akhouri says generally, people relate it to Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency but it is actually a very versatile technology and provides services like encrypted database models which offer solutions to many problems around online trust and security.
“Now what we have observed is there has been sporadic growth in technology platforms, especially those that leverage blockchain. Medical research, logistics, and supply chain, as well as the implementation of NFTs and digital archives, should soon bring blockchain into mainstream retailer transactions around us, creating suitable conditions for blockchain-as-a-service (BAAS) to flourish,” he adds.
Unified strength of IoT, Edge, and AI
Data is now the new currency and IT decision-makers are the new bankers.
With the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices expected to reach 2 billion by the end of 20213, the multiplying volume of datasets becomes limitless which makes it critical for businesses to have real-time insights to make accurate decisions.
“What continues to be an added challenge for many enterprises is that the data generated at remote locations have to travel to the core data centre or the cloud for processing. Data latency affects business operations and thus performance. Having an edge server eliminates the need for data to travel and aided by AI ensures faster and real-time intelligence,” says Sharma
Sumit Sood, group vice president and head of APAC, GlobalLogic, says in engineering and R&D, innovation is the key as digital disruption is transforming how products are being conceived, built, sold, and supported. Adding the trend towards smart, connected, and AI-powered products, this digital upheaval is driving a major pivot to “as-a-service” and other new business models.
“With scalable advantages available with cloud engineering, India can emerge as the hub for digital solutions across ER&D space with advanced technologies such as AI, IoT, 5G, Edge, etc., and collaborations with industry leaders to shape the digital future. However, as we cross the threshold of the post-digital age, the actual game-changer will be the new technology stack DARQ. These technologies are defining the new wave driven by the shifts in business models, customer experience, operations, and employee experience," he adds.
Edge computing for better use of 5G
5G is poised to reduce latency by introducing smarter speeds. With positive 5G trials and the urgency to launch it in the region, a new era of connectivity seems to be ready to dawn.
“Coupled with IoT and edge computing, businesses will see new levels of speed, innovation, and productivity. But the question arises whether we are equipped and prepared to onboard this technology? Should businesses wait until it rolls out? 5G roll-out will not be common across all industries and will follow the 4G rollout model. It will make better sense for businesses to combine edge computing power with the existing 4G network – which will prepare businesses to take better advantage of 5G,” says Sharma.
Rajesh Chandiramani, business head, Communications-Media-Entertainment for EMEA and APJI Markets, Tech Mahindra, says data-led innovation, zero-touch networks, quantum computing, 5G, and network modification will continue to empower businesses in a variety of ways, in a physically distant, yet digitally connected era.
“Additionally, we think that customer experience transformation along with cloud and data technology adoption will stay dominant trends this year as well. Cloud-native platforms will reduce enterprises’ dependency on infrastructure and prevent a ‘cyber-pandemic’,” he adds.
Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) model will underline tech adoption
Businesses’ IT requirements are evolving every 12-18 months which has been adding to the pressure of keeping up with the speed of innovation. They are now looking for ways to reduce complexities and gain ultimate flexibility for their IT infrastructure investments.
“An everything-as-a-service offering can enable businesses of all sizes with the flexibility they need to stay competitive with a scalable, cloud-like consumption model and predictable payment options for hardware and service inclusions. With an as-a-Service platform, infrastructure solutions of business can be fully managed, allowing businesses to take advantage of an on-premise cloud environment along with the peace of mind around data management in a hybrid environment. As businesses look for better ways to advance their operations to maintain business continuity, the Everything-as-a-Service model will gain better acceptance and adoption, since it will allow businesses to reduce their complexities using one solution, one provider, one contract, and a single point of accountability with this infrastructure solution,” says Sharma.
One of the most important aspects of technology is programming. It forms the base of technology, and applications are being built for practically every business requirement.
“With the advanced need for new solutions, we are soon going to see a rise of no-code software development technologies, loaded with visual and audio elements and code drag-drop features for example coding language like Python has been around for decades, the demand for Python skills in 2022 will continue growing exponentially for its use in the booming industries of data science, machine learning, and AI,” says Akhouri.