Gartner, Inc. announced its top 12 strategic technology trends for 2022 and beyond. Analysts presented their findings at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2021, held virtually for the second year in a row, due to the pandemic. Gartner Research Vice President David Groombridge emphasized that just as 2020 and parts of 2021 found companies focused on survival, the future will focus on a return to the path toward growth. Just as survival required more creative use of technology, the path to growth will also emphasize creative use of technology, not so surprisingly. Gartner’s strategic technology trends for 2022 and beyond are:
- Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Data Fabric
- AI Engineering
- Autonomic Systems
- Decision Intelligence
- Composable Applications
- Cloud-native Platforms (CNPs)
- Privacy-enhancing Computation (PEC)
- Cybersecurity Mesh
- Distributed Enterprise
- Total Experience (TX)
Automation is a critical ingredient for digital transformation. Hyperautomation suggests a faster path to identifying, vetting, and automating processes across the enterprise. Gartner noted that areas to focus on in order to best accomplish this include improving work quality, hastening the pace of business processes, and fostering nimbleness in decision making.
Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Gartner notes an increase in interest and investment in generative AI in the past year. Generative AI references algorithms that enable using existing content like audio files, images, or text to create new content. Gartner predicts that in the next three and a half years, generative AI will account for 10% of all data produce compared to less than 1% at present. Case examples offered included supporting software development more generally, assisting companies in finding candidates to fill talent shortfalls, and identifying drug candidates more readily.
Gartner defines data fabric as a design concept that serves as an integrated layer (fabric) of data and connecting processes. This fosters resilient and flexible integration of data across business users and platforms. The upshot is that it can reduce data management efforts substantially while dramatically improving time to value.
The staying power and lasting value from AI investments have been mixed across many companies. An issue is that some companies deploy an AI model once and expect that value will accrue in perpetuity, Gartner notes that sustained efforts and model evolution must be driven to gain more from these investments. Groombridge noted that AI engineering adoption should lead to three times more value for AI efforts.
Although it is early days in the life of autonomic systems, the next half-decade should yield increased value from it. “Autonomic systems with in-built self-learning can dynamically optimize performance, protect [companies] in hostile environments, and make sure that they’re constantly dealing with new challenges,” Groombridge noted. This trend anticipates greater levels of self-management of software.
Decision Intelligence (DI)
Decision intelligence aims to model decisions in a repeatable way to make them more efficient and to hasten the speed to value. It anticipates doing so through automation that enhances human intelligence. Gartner predicts that in the next two years, one-third of large enterprises will use DI for better and more structured decision-making.
The idea of composable applications highlights that the functional blocks of an application can be decoupled from the overall applications. The component parts can be more finely tuned to create a new application that is of greater value than its monolithic predecessor. Gartner notes that companies that leverage composable applications can outpace their competition by 80% regarding new feature implementation.
Cloud-native platforms (CNPs)
Gartner believes that cloud-native platforms, which leverage cloud technology’s essence to offer IT-related capabilities as a service for technologists, will provide the foundation for most new digital initiatives by mid-decade.
Privacy-enhancing computation (PEC)
Privacy has been an increasingly important concern and priority across the business landscape. Privacy-enhancing computation can protect a company’s and its customers’ sensitive data, protecting the confidentiality of data. Gartner hypothesizes that this is a pathway to maintain customer loyalty by decreasing privacy-related issues and cybersecurity events, and it believes that roughly 60% of large enterprises will leverage these practices by 2025.
Cybersecurity mesh is a form of architecture that provides an integrated approach to security IT assets no matter their location. It provides a more standardized and responsive approach to cybersecurity by redefining the perimeters of cybersecurity to the identity of a person or a thing. This is a pathway to reduce the financial implications of cyber incidents by 90% in less than two years, according to Gartner.
Gartner is a believer in the value of the hybrid approach to work, believing that those who enable it fully will achieve 25% faster revenue growth than peer companies who do not. This model allows employees to work in a geographically distributed fashion, opening up new pathways for talent acquisition.
Total experience (TX)
The pandemic has certainly led to an evolution, and in some cases a revolution in customer and employee experience, especially as it pertains to the digital versions of each. By managing each effectively, enterprises should drive better outcomes. Gartner suggests that natural silos relative to innovating around the customer, employee, and user experiences must be broken down so that a more holistic approach might be achieved.
Peter High is President of Metis Strategy, a business and IT advisory firm. He has written two bestselling books, and his third, Getting to Nimble, was recently released. He also moderates the Technovation podcast series and speaks at conferences around the world. Follow him on Twitter @PeterAHigh.