With Gartner citing growth acceleration as a key strategic theme for the coming year, it’s no surprise the top digital trends for 2022 reflect a move from pandemic resilience and recovery to renewed competition.
Disruption and transformation have long marked the digital era. After exploding in scope and intensity in 2020, however, Forrester sees these elements playing a more pivotal role than ever in the demand for convenience and seamless, cross-channel experiences.
Since the start of COVID-19, more than 60% of US online adults started making online transactions for the first time. With many of these consumers anticipating they’ll continue their online behaviors into 2022, there will be even higher expectations for digital experiences that work well, are sustainable, and ultimately drive value.
According to EY consulting, historic value drivers—like product portfolio diversification and expansion of production capacity, for example—are being replaced by a new trio of transformative forces:
- Humans at the center of value creation
- Technology at speed
- Innovation at scale
That means, to cultivate a sustainable competitive edge post-pandemic, organizations will need to become even speedier and more innovative in responding to digital demand.
Fortunately, if there’s one lesson many enterprise-level companies have learned in recent months, it’s that it’s far easier to benefit from transformative change than they’d thought. This is especially true given the powerful technology tools set to propel the most important digital trends of the new year.
Enterprises have already taken notice of the need for automation and cloud-based tools. A report from SWZD found that 50% of all business workloads are expected to run in the cloud by 2023, up from 40% in 2021. The budget for cloud-based technologies now accounts for over a quarter (26%) of IT spending in 2022.
The business landscape is shifting from surviving to thriving. In this eBook, we examine nine top digital trends that will shape the new year—and why enterprises need to prioritize transformative technology investments to establish (or regain) competitive ground.
9 top digital trends
Although many overlapping trends will define enterprise tech in the new year, here are some key digital forces driving the evolution of business in 2022.
1. Codeless Architecture
You’ve heard of—and almost certainly take advantage of—Serverless Architecture, but fewer people are aware of Codeless Architecture. This will change beginning in 2022.
Just as Serverless empowers organizations to tap into the power of the cloud without ever seeing an actual server, Codeless allows organizations to build complex business software without ever writing, managing, or upgrading a single line of code.
Perhaps the notion sounds familiar? Indeed, the industry has long been promised the ability to separate application design and function from the code underneath, but true codeless development has remained just out of reach. No more.
What’s allowed this new paradigm to finally become a reality? Two main forces: the ubiquity of cloud functionality and the proliferation of common digital & security protocols. This “groundwork” has enabled a new generation of no-code platforms to completely abstract application development away from the code underneath.
In recent years, a number of ascendant trends have made it possible to take a purely declarative approach to development. This is a key change because it:
- Accelerates development cycles of new custom software: Organizations can take a declarative, rather than procedural, approach to development and easily build workflows across the entirety of their organization.
- Lowers management costs: Currently, the lion’s share of IT budgets are dedicated to managing years—or even decades—of legacy code. With Codeless, this work can be “outsourced” to the no-code provider. Just as a cloud provider can upgrade or replace physical servers without the end-user experience ever being affected, a no-code platform can upgrade various technological elements without its clients ever knowing the difference.
“I think the opportunity space with Codeless Architecture is one of those technology disruptors that’s going to impact a lot of folks,” commented Donald Burgess, Deputy CIO, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services during a recent webinar. “Successful CIOs are no longer going to worry about inevitable technology transitions and evolutions.”
- Click here to learn more about Codeless Architecture
According to Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist for Salesforce, the future of next-generation business applications is scalable, connected, and composable.
Built from business-centric, modular components, composable applications not only make it easier to use (and reuse) code, they unlock value by accelerating time-to-market for new software solutions.
Composability allows enterprises to remove, swap, and pair software components at will. These modular components mean that you develop the application once, with the ability to reuse the components across multiple projects, multiple times. Upgrades are made in one central location—fix it everywhere by fixing it once. This is a paradigm that supports rapid, secure, and efficient changes to your application.
The same trends discussed earlier that allow enterprises to embrace codeless (ubiquitous cloud functionality and common technology protocols) are also allowing companies to take a composable approach. Indeed, both Codeless and composability are closely intertwined.
Hyperautomation (a term coined by Gartner) is the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools, or platforms to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many processes as possible—an initiative that often proves key to honing a firm’s competitive edge.
In a press release earlier this year, Gartner’s research vice president Fabrizio Biscotti claimed that hyperautomation is no longer an option. “Organizations will require more IT and business process automation as they are forced to accelerate digital transformation plans in a post-COVID-19, digital-first world.”
By embracing the hyperautomation mindset, companies can tap into new levels of operational efficiency, unlock process bottlenecks, and rapidly move to address changes in the marketplace.
4. Hybrid workforce as the "new normal"
The state of work is still very much in flux. Even as labor markets tighten, more employees are prioritizing working from home as they opt to stay out of the office for health reasons.
Moving into 2022, it will prove essential for growth-driven enterprises to accommodate a hybrid workforce by adapting internal systems and processes to meet the needs of distributed employees.
Recent research suggests that:
- 83% of workers view a hybrid work approach as ideal
- 63% of high-growth companies have hybrid work models already in place
- 25-30% of the US workforce will continue working from home one or more days a week after the pandemic
To increase collaboration for your entire technology team, cloud-based processes and systems can help your organization transform faster in the race to empower remote employees.
As companies continue to reinvent the future of work, John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, forecasts that “Enterprises will increasingly build new technologies and software, rather than buy and implement them.”
5. Evolving security threats
The increase in people working digitally from home ushered in a dramatic rise in cybercrime. Still, even without hybrid work, legacy systems remain inherently vulnerable. Most major industries, from government and banks to healthcare, continue to deal with outdated, code-based systems that pose a security risk. Consider that:
- COVID-19 was credited with a 238% rise in cyberattacks on banks in 2020
- Data breaches in the healthcare industry increased 58% that same year
- 20% of tech professionals witnessed an increase in application-targeted attacks in 2021
Enterprises must rapidly transform away from vulnerable legacy systems, as the exhaustive manual effort of coding is causing security to slip through the cracks. The average total cost of a data breach in the United States in 2020 was $8.64 million. Data encryption, role-based access control (RBAC), and single-tenant deployment in a private cloud will keep your application secure.
With cyberattack prevention and the protection of sensitive data more important than ever, it’s not surprising data experts are expecting the focus will remain very much with security issues in 2022. If an enterprise is leveraging microservices (as noted in trend two) to build and manage their critical software, then it would be easy to adjust to new security challenges as they arise.
6. Increased use of cloud-native platforms (CNPs)
As the pandemic dust settles, cloud-native platforms (CNPs) and technologies are emerging as critical to processes that may have been lagging in digitization.
Gartner predicts CNPs will serve as the foundation for more than 95% of new digital initiatives by 2025—up from less than 40% in 2021.
Designed to thrive in a dynamic, virtualized environment, cloud-native systems leverage cloud computing’s core competencies by making broadscale use of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) infrastructures.
Common outcomes include:
- Faster application time-to-value
- Reduced costs for increased agility
- More streamlined architecture maintenance
7. Rocketing user expectations
As we discussed earlier in this guide, today’s competitive advantage is frequently driven by an ability to meet or exceed digital demand for fast, responsive, frictionless experiences.
According to McKinsey, industries across regions experienced an average of 20% growth in “fully-digital” users in the six months ending in April 2021.
But while new adopters had little choice but to embrace digital channels that were often newly built and less than satisfying, organizations will need to shift their focus to improving digital experiences if they want to hold on to those new users going forward.
The solution brings us back to the first trend. Codeless Architecture is an excellent solution for meeting this challenge.
By changing out the need to write or edit lines of code for a visual UI, for example, going codeless makes it dramatically easier for developers to build, maintain, and improve digital applications.
Not only can your company rapidly develop enterprise-grade, but web-based applications to address evolving customer demands—the cost of innovation and experimentation is also greatly diminished because projects can get ramped up quickly.
8. Increased competition for tech talent
Knowledge worker shortages have long been a problem for many enterprises. However, with newer technologies advancing faster than some organizations can train teams to keep up, the demand for tech skills is expected to rise even higher in the coming year.
Skillsoft’s annual report shows that 54% of IT decision-makers have openings they can't fill, while 3 out of 4 IT teams face critical skill gaps.
Fortunately, a digital ecosystem based on Codeless Architecture is well-suited to address tech skill challenges in a couple of impactful ways:
- Developers at any level can get up and running faster. While many modern coding languages can take a year to learn (and several to master), developers and business users alike can become proficient in a matter of weeks.
- The platform takes on much of the development “heavy lifting.” This means even the newest developer can produce work equal in quality, and with significantly fewer bugs, versus developers working in code.
9. Integrating disparate business ecosystems
With the number of data and application silos surging in the last decade, a return to competition in 2022 will make weaving a flexible, cohesive data “fabric” (or integration) across platforms a renewed priority.
Siloed data hurts organizations by increasing technical debt and creating hard-to-scale architectures. They also make it difficult for companies to build custom, efficient data-driven experiences and services for end-users.
Codeless Architecture, meanwhile, makes it easy for organizations to break silos down (by stitching disparate data and legacy systems together with new applications) and create an integrated ecosystem.
Because they no longer have to code integration endpoints—nor code how data should be sent back and forth—enterprises can drive faster development times based on rapid data migrations from both external and internal systems.
Even as the pandemic converted a distant digital future into a present-day push (digital transformation efforts were accelerated by three to four years, according to McKinsey), transformation trends continue to dominate the 2022 predictions landscape.
For the first time ever, according to IDC’s Futurescape report, we’re seeing a majority of enterprise organizations (at 53%) embracing company-wide digital transformation strategies—a 42% increase from just two years ago.
Equally compelling, however, is the forecast that by 2023, 60% of enterprise intelligence initiatives will be business-specific and purpose-built on a foundation of development technology.
Dmitry Satanovsky, Senior Manager, Deloitte sums up the adoption of such technology this way:
"The comparison between Unqork and conventional development comes down to four things: simplicity, time-to-market, access to talent, and cost. With conventional development, there's a lot that needs to be done before you even get started. With Unqork, you have none of that. You can start building and delivering business value right away."
Want to find out how Unqork can help position your enterprise organization to harness the next digital wave? Get in touch and let’s set up a demo.