Gartner recently published their report “Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2022.” End-of-year summaries and next year’s forecasts that fill inboxes this time of year are often discounted. But this report was significant in that the identified trends suggest a significant shift in the tech culture.
Among the trends identified by Gartner was a shift away from siloed applications where the infrastructure and processes needed to support applications are treated as independent needs toward a networked architecture where data, security, cloud, and privacy needs are managed cohesively across the entire enterprise. The need for such a shift was echoed by multiple speakers at last month’s IoT World Conference. The speakers discussed the need to reimagine existing data infrastructures in order to shift to horizontal platforms that better serve the enterprise. Such a systemic restructuring requires enterprises to adopt a layered structure or a tech stack that compartmentalizes functionality and increases data visibility across the organization. This leads to a more trusted approach to IT by increasing access to data and tools. Ultimately, data utilization and collaboration are improved and the organization increases its return on investment.
Another highlighted trend is based on a movement toward a more dynamic applications environment. The last few years have shown that nimble organizations are better able to adapt to changing business conditions. Organizational agility can only be achieved if the IT organization is able to deliver in the face of evolving requirements if its toolkit includes composable applications, automation tools, business intelligence systems, and configurable artificial intelligence. As IT evolves away from the idea of an all-encompassing application that limits adaptability, they are (1) adopting new systems that treat applications as a series of functional modules that can be restructured as needs change, (2) managing data as dynamic data flows that provide the freedom to rebalance data distribution systems as necessary, and (3) deploying rule-driven systems that allow insight advancement based on derived insights.
Trending data also demonstrate that organizations are moving to embrace technologies that serve to adapt to the desired user experiences. This trend represents a shift away from systems that might improve operational efficiencies if it comes at the cost of the human experience. The days of deploying technologies that require organizational changes or significant employee retraining exercises are coming to a close as organizations embrace systems that enhance desired customer and employee experiences. Technologies are emerging that support the needs of a distributed organizational structure. Tools that emphasize customer (and employee) experiences are becoming expectations rather than desires. And active intelligence systems that are able to process data and directly impact operational processes are supplanting systems that first capture data, mining the data for insights, and then recommend management action.
The trends identified in the report go well beyond references to technology that an organization can purchase and deploy in an effort to achieve incremental process improvement. They represent a new IT philosophy about how data systems are architected, operationalized, and perceived by the organization as a whole.
IT function is continuing to evolve away from its roots as a service function to become an important component of any organization’s strategic mission. Recent events have accelerated this migration in that the strategic objectives of any organization are either enhanced or limited based on the capabilities of the IT organization. The trends identified by Gartner signify an acceleration of this movement. Once these technologies are more fully deployed, the IT function further shifts from the role of being a key strategic advisor to the organization to being a much more active member of the management team. IT is effectively shifting from being a strategic enabler (or inhibitor) of the organization to becoming a primary actor on the stage of future business.