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Redefining the technology landscape. What lies ahead in 2022?

Written by Mark Benson, CTO at Logicalis UKI

2021 gave organisations an incredible amount to think about as the pandemic continued, the climate crisis became more urgent and technology that has been discussed for decades became less of a speculation. Problems that have been identified over the last year are going to be given solutions in 2022 through an increase in decisions becoming data driven. See below for my top 5 predictions for the new year.  

Start to expect security breaches 

Cyber security is going to be a major theme for organisations in 2022 The pandemic has proved the tech industry moves and changes at a fast pace, and with that, so do cyber threats.  

Remote and hybrid working models have become increasingly popular because of lockdowns, social distancing, and rising infection rates. As both businesses and employees see the benefits of flexible working, these models will continue throughout 2022 and beyond. However, working from home does come with great risks– one being cybersecurity. A study by Malwarebytes revealed that 20% of security breaches have been at the hands of remote workers since the start of the pandemic, emphasising how important cybersecurity is to businesses despite most employees being away from the office.  

Organisations need to ensure they are prepared for all imminent breaches that may come their way and practice digital resilience from now on. Businesses need to start adapting their cyber security strategy to an ‘when’ model rather than ‘if’. They will undoubtably encounter some sort of threat or attack as the probability is increasing year-on-year as cyber actors become savvier in their approach. Having processes in place for damage control in anticipation will always help companies to remedy these problems at a much faster pace, helping to limit the amount of harm done.   

Data is your most valuable tool 

Data is the new oil – many are now understanding how valuable data truly is. Business leaders will use data to drive their decisions, ensuring each step they take has been critically thought about. Data has the power to help organisations decide which operations need improvement, where they can implement automation, what predictions they can make for the future and more. However, most organisations do not fully understand what insights the data they have generated can actually provide. In fact, 75% of CIOs are struggling to unlock data insights within their organisation. The advantages data offers can only be maximised when businesses begin to understand it. In 2022, there is going to be a greater focus on understanding this data to ensure decision-making processes are efficient and rewarding.  

Automation cannot just be implemented anywhere  

Automation has been a topic discussed by tech leaders for decades, but a lack of understanding and expertise has led to its poor implementation. Many have fallen victim to assuming that the automation of any process will provide excellent results – organisations need to carefully choose where they implement automation to ensure a beneficial outcome. Businesses need to examine all their existing processes and assess their viability as an automated process before any further decisions are made. Linking back to my previous prediction, unlocking, and understanding data is crucial to using automation effectively. Otherwise, automating an inefficient process is much like throwing a dry paper towel on fire – it has either an insignificant effect or can end up making business activity worse.   

A fitting example of optimal use of automation is the increased use of self-service desks now found in most national retailers and airports. Using self-service tills reduces the labour costs felt by employers. This element of self-service in retail spaces was put to great use with the onset of the pandemic, as these machines limited human interaction and encouraged social distancing.   

Poor attitudes towards sustainability could cost businesses  

COP26 has brought the idea of sustainable IT to the forefront – each business decision taken will now be accessed by ESG regulators to ensure decisions uphold the highest environmental standards possible. However, the concept of ‘reusing’ is becoming increasingly difficult as both businesses and consumers constantly seek the newest gadget. That being said, 34% of UK consumers said in 2021 they used brands that have sustainable practices/values to be more ecological themselves. With the level of expertise and the quality of tools we have at our disposal today, the industry is well-equipped to facilitate these ecological moves. This can already be seen with more organisations asking questions about the equipment they are purchasing. Many equipment manufacturers are now recycling components, repurposing them into new hardware, and this trend will continue to gain steam over the course of the next year.  

Like consumers, employees are becoming more driven towards the idea of sustainability. A survey carried out by IBM discovered that 71% of jobseekers prefer companies with positive approaches towards the environment. Therefore, making steps towards becoming more sustainable one-way organisations can retain employees and attract applicants during The Great Resignation. 

Reinventing workplaces will keep organisations on top of The Great Resignation 

The pandemic has affected the workforce in a previously unforeseen way. Employees have taken to the flexibility that working from home offers and have triggered many to reflect on their current employment circumstances. In fact, in the UK, almost one million workers switched jobs in the summer of 2021 as they felt they would find better work opportunities elsewhere. Businesses must now provide flexibility in many facets of work, such as working hours, hot-desking options and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Employees now believe that if the quality of the work they produce either increases or stays the same and deadlines are met, flexible working should not be a problem for businesses.   

In terms of the next generation, they view jobs as new, exciting projects. They approach jobs as a vehicle to achieve their goals and improve their skills until they are in the position to move on somewhere else and the cycle repeats. The next generation has a differing attitude towards loyalty to boomers and generation X. It is now quite common for people to work at a certain organisation for 2-3 years before moving on rather than staying at a company for decades.  

2022 offers a lot of room for businesses to become frontrunners in their industries, however, this is incredibly reliant on how quickly or carefully they grasp this opportunity. For example, poorly choosing processes to automate may slow operations down, whilst promptly moving towards sustainability will help organisations to retain customers and overcome The Great Resignation. Organisations who ignore these topics of discussion may accidentally harm their business growth, falling behind their competitors.