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Businesses’ need for more choice and control will define 2022

Businesses’ need for more choice and control will define 2022

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Thanks to the pandemic, business leaders now have more of an understanding of what’s required of them to drive their organisations forward. Jonathan Bridges, Chief Innovation Officer, Exponential-e, discusses how organisations can take back control of factors such as their green footprint, multi-cloud environments and flexibility this new year.

The past two years didn’t pan out quite how anyone expected them to. Yes, the pandemic has forced businesses and individuals to become more digitally savvy, but there is still a long way to go. Digital Transformation journeys will define the year ahead for most organisations, as has been the case in previous years. But this time, these journeys will be more focused on preparing for and capitalising on the long-term changes that the pandemic has catalysed.

Thankfully, most businesses have developed a better understanding of the technology that is required to drive their companies forward than they had 12 months ago. However, this does mean that many are seeking more choice of and control over the solutions available to them, which will not only impact their Digital Transformations in the year ahead, but also influence how technology partners and providers will operate accordingly.

That notion will underpin many of the trends we expect to see this year. From a greater need for control over green footprints and increased demand for transparency from suppliers around sustainability, to the increasing need to finally experiment with technologies like 5G to encourage greater innovation, there’s a lot on the horizon for 2022.

Taking back control

Many businesses, understandably, have felt out of control in recent years; unable to take hold of the many moving parts within their organisations, especially when it comes to technology, thanks to the ongoing uncertainty and disruption caused both by the pandemic and the likes of Brexit. Now for their own sakes, many are feeling the need to take the bull by the horns and take back control. We can expect to see this materialise in several ways.

Taking control of our green footprint

Businesses, like most consumers, are feeling a greater need to control, manage and reduce their green footprints. Every one of them has a role to play in helping to meet the country’s climate change goals, and both customers and stakeholders now expect organisations to have their ducks in a row when it comes to hitting sustainability targets. Having clear initiatives and processes in place which govern how they work with external providers is therefore a must, and in 2022, this will have a big impact on the choices businesses make when it comes to outsourcing to third parties, including cloud providers.

These businesses are also mindful that the volume of data they are generating is growing exponentially, and the introduction of new platforms can increase energy consumption even further. Striking a balance between innovation and sustainability is a case of finding the right balance. Digital pathology processes in healthcare for example are expected to generate data growth of multi petabytes per year, which is highly energy consuming, but industry must digitise to continue driving healthcare innovation and improve patient care. Expect healthcare organisations to opt for partners that can deliver sustainable transformation, with this in mind.

Some businesses will also increasingly look to re-patronise their data from public cloud platforms back into owned data centres, as a way of taking back control over their data and reduce their carbon footprints. So cloud providers will likely concentrate on delivering data projects in a more sustainable fashion to maintain customer loyalty.

Taking charge of cloud consumption

The pandemic brought with it a mad rush to put data into the public cloud, but in 2022 more businesses as well as government organisations will realise their rushed cloud strategies aren’t giving them the outcomes they require. We can therefore expect to see more businesses seeking to be more selective in which applications and workloads they move to the cloud, as part of a more informed and intelligent multi-cloud strategy.

As part of this, it’s very likely that 2022 will see increased demand for technology that enables the more agnostic use of different cloud platforms, allowing businesses to better control the movement of their data and choose the environments – whether on-premises or in the cloud – that suit their needs.

Seeking more choice

Beyond seeking more control over their tech stack and data and accelerating their Digital Transformation plans at record pace, businesses have had their eyes opened to the different solutions available to them. Yet few have had the time to properly mull them over and make informed decisions as to which are best for the business – something that is about to change.

Choice leads to innovation

Many of the technologies implemented over the past two years are those that businesses require as a basic necessity for operating in the digital world. In 2022, technologies that so far have been more a figment of our imagination will start coming to fruition. In particular, we are likely to see more practical applications of 5G as businesses seek more consistency and choice through 5G-enabled applications such as intelligent predictive analytics and maintenance. This will be especially impactful for industries like construction, where we’re likely to see 5G used to improve productivity through the introduction of tools like connected drones, which take videos of building sites to provide live assessments of progress and safety.

Flexibility cannot flop

The need for more choice will not only affect businesses, but individuals. Employees now expect flexible working as a basic requirement of most traditionally office-based roles. This means businesses must make a success of hybrid working in 2022 to keep their businesses productive in the long-term.

As a result, more investment into unified communication solutions is likely this year in order to piece the distributed workforce together, enable better remote collaboration and allow for more seamless communication across platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google Meet.

Successful hybrid working strategies will also require employers to be more imaginative in how they use physical office spaces. Businesses need to remember that the traditional ‘banks of desks’ structure is a thing of the past – or should be. Employees now require spaces to re-ignite innovation and encourage cross-pollination and collaboration across the entire business. Meeting rooms for example will need to be redesigned to cater for the hybrid meeting format, to make sure all those on calls are able to contribute to and benefit from such meetings equally.

To be continued...

The pandemic has inspired – and in many cases, compelled – businesses to become more digitally savvy in their use of technology. In fact, many are being forced to accelerate Digital Transformation journeys that had previously seemed far out of reach to align with changing priorities. The following months look set to herald a more democratised approach to technology and we look forward to seeing how it, and the above predictions, really do pan out.

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