This article by Wiise CEO Charlie Wood first appeared in Business IT on 05/11/21.
The future is arriving faster than you think.
Pandemic lockdowns have accelerated technology adoption, particularly for SMBs (small and medium businesses) and mid-sized companies. What was projected for 2025 has been brought forward to 2021-2022. It’s an exciting but volatile era, where tomorrow is getting harder to predict.
But there are some tech trends that we can certainly see evolving and emerging in the next twelve months. Here are five that will be key in 2022.
1. Continued acceleration of digital transformation
The new normal for most businesses has been the widespread adoption of technology that wasn’t as ubiquitous to all as it was prior to 2020. People—staff, users, customers—are seeing the benefits, and business owners are seeing the results.
But 'digital' is about more than just an individual business going online or into the cloud. It’s about being part of an entire, holistic digital ecosphere, with partners, suppliers, customers all connected and transacting online. Every part of the supply chain will be connected digitally, with businesses increasingly adopting intelligent ERP systems that all players can plug into.
2. Connectivity ubiquity aka the 'anywhere economy'
'Always on' means time away for some. It’s important for business owners to feel the real-time pulse of their business, which gives them freedom to disconnect. For leaders it’s not necessarily about taking time away, but about being able to take time in other environments whilst still connected. It’s counter-intuitive.
Elon Musk’s StarLink will come to Australia in 2022 properly, and affordable, 'better-than-NBN' speed and latency is about to be available anywhere you can see the sky. It means people can work anywhere—and we’ve moved into a remote work hybrid that’s here to stay even after lockdowns end.
There's a caveat: emptor, buyer beware. If you can move several hours away from the city and do your job from the beach, then it’s just as easy for your boss to work with your replacement in Kuala Lumpur or Manila for a third of the price. Thomas Friedman was right after all—the world is flat. (Flatter now by half.)
3. Pushing up means pushing down
As digital transformation accelerates, business adoption of technology and then the complexity and ambition of what it does will increase. People in SMB segments are buying mid-market products. Mid-market companies are buying enterprise-grade solutions. Requirements have changed, and what’s upstream is the new norm.
For technology companies the challenge is how to make enterprise products fit the SMB or mid-market space and to sell and onboard new customers here. Selling becomes remote, as unit economics dictates, but the deal is also smaller so we need to onboard and service this customer on a different cost basis. We need to push down and make it work there too. Digital journeys; remote everything.
4. Asynchronous work to become default
Worn out with two years of videoconferencing, people are looking for more efficient ways to collaborate. This means technology platforms that enable asynchronous collaboration, such as a shared Google Doc. Scrambling around to find a timeslot that suits everyone will no longer be an issue. Shorter, 'button-click', in-app meetings like Slack’s Start Huddle will replace longer, scheduled meetings.
5. Trust as a foundational principle
2022 will be the year when trust becomes table stakes for businesses. We’re going into a trust-heavy year: 'I trust this certificate to say you’re vaccinated—you can board the aircraft.' 'I trust this tech platform with my most important business operational data.' Trust will be critical every step of the way.
It’s why transparency has become so critical: in corporate culture and practices, in operations, in hiring, in data-management and protection, in finance and payments, and in the supply chain. Technology will enable this by providing visibility and ensuring that organisations are accountable for every 'cog in the machine'.
The importance of trust also reminds us that the human factor must remain paramount, wherever technology may be used. Digitisation and innovation must go hand-in-hand with robust ethical policies, ensuring progress is responsible and sustainable: that it enhances and improves all our lives.