Transform It Forward: 2022 Outlook and Digital Transformation Predictions

Digital Transformation Predictions

What does the future hold for digital transformations? There’s no easy way to predict what’s on the horizon for 2022, but in the most recent episode of Transform It Forward, my fellow panelists and I gave it our best shot.

In a special panel episode, I sat down with my colleagues Vince Padua, EVP, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at Axway and Brian Pagano, Chief Catalyst, VP of Catalysts at Axway, to discuss our key predictions in technology, AI, finance and more for the year ahead. 

We touched on everything from cloud technology to APIs, offering our thoughts on what the next few months could have in store. As expected, the episode resulted in some pretty fascinating insights that give us a glimpse into the near and distant future of tech.

Rapid acceleration of growth across industries

If 2021 proved anything, it’s that the rate of change is accelerating more quickly than ever before. This means that the stakes are much higher than in previous years, and there’s a lot riding on this year’s innovations.

Enterprises today are looking to maximize overall business outcomes and productivity on a global scale. Automation is playing an increasingly central role in business practices everywhere. 

One of the key predictions we touched on during the panel was the acceleration of AI and machine learning (ML) across industries.

“Certainly when we talked to customers, almost all of them are piloting or are in production with some form of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. We all certainly leverage it in our day-to-day lives. But I think some of that spending is shifting from the traditional ways in which software and technology has been put into the emerging patterns and maybe what are to be the new platforms for the next decade, which will include things like AI and ML,” —Vince Padua.

The experience era

One of the key words of 2022 and beyond will be “experience.” Businesses are placing a strong emphasis on the experience of their customers, but also the experiences of their own internal teams, in order to maximize outputs.

Brian noted that in 2022, businesses of all industries would be wise to invest their dollars into the overall experience of both customers and employees. He commented that this strong focus on employee experience and engagement will ultimately help to take us from the great resignation to the great retention. 

As we forge ahead in this fast-paced era of growth and innovation, talent retention, culture building and upskilling will be essential.

The API economy will continue its rapid growth

When it comes to assisting with the adoption of new technologies and increasing productivity, APIs will continue to play a critical role. While APIs aren’t new, we’re still only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of the power they can help us unlock across industries.

However, companies will need to become laser focused on their value-add and increasing productivity. Simple, intuitive design will be key for APIs in 2022.

“It’s kind of a lingua franca that doesn’t depend on a particular technology or a particular programming language or the experience of a particular development team at a third-party developer. As long as you’ve designed it right with really, really good design for consumability, then yes, APIs are basically your open for business sign.” —Brian Pagano.

Living in the cloud

In addition to APIs, the cloud will continue to play an essential role in the tech world this year and beyond. While it can be challenging to implement new technologies like the cloud, it’s a non-negotiable for enterprises who are hoping to stay competitive in 2022.

“Cloud is absolutely critical. It is a real headache. It is a new muscle memory that has to be learned for companies. But it’s just a supporting technology here so that you can produce and provide a good experience.” —Brian Pagano.

Moving to a multi-cloud, hybrid ecosystem will continue to be the next natural step for most businesses in the near future. Although the cloud is certainly nothing new, many companies are still late to the game in fully adopting this technology.

The human factor

Overall, one of the main focuses for the business world in 2022 will be reconnecting with the human element. The customer experience has shifted massively and quickly over the past two years as buyers adjusted to a virtual-first world. Now, businesses are working hard to find their footing and communicate effectively with the people they serve.

“How to communicate, how to provide better experiences, how to compete against entities that look different than the entities you’re used to competing against. To me, that’s kind of the big story of 2022.” —Brian Pagano.

Key takeaways:

It was great chatting with Vince and Brian about what’s on the horizon for 2022. Here are some of the key insights that stood out to me from the episode:

  1. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past couple of years, it’s that change is the only constant. The rate of change has been accelerating recently, so in 2022, we can expect to see more major revolutions happening across industries. The stakes are higher than ever before, so staying agile and adaptable to change will be crucial, no matter your role, function or industry.
  2. Although our reach is broader than ever before in history, productivity has been declining steadily in recent years. In the future, AI, machine learning and automation will continue to play an increasingly crucial role in our society. As a result, we will continue to see companies investing in automation to replace or augment low-level tasks in 2022.
  3. One of the key words of 2022 will be “experience.” Due to the rapid pace of the digital evolution, enterprises of all shapes and sizes are struggling to attract and retain skilled talent. With the great resignation of 2020, and soon the great retirement, companies are increasingly focused on retaining talent by prioritizing the overall employee experience. 
  4. The API economy will continue its rapid growth in 2022. However, the challenge will be designing APIs in a consumer-friendly format that people can understand. Staying nimble enough to change along with the disruptions that will inevitably hit us in the future will be key. For CIOs, it will be important to consider the business focus and the function first, especially when it comes to APIs. 
  5. Our digital lives today are completely intertwined with AI. In 2022, we will continue to see more investment in the application of machine learning to augment B2B interactions such as processing invoices, predicting inventory needs, and more. Although the complexity of the B2B ecosystem has made this shift more complicated, the great reset brought on by the pandemic has resulted in more investment into this area.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

And if you missed previous episodes, catch up here.

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EVP - CMO - Paul French has 20+ years of successful experience in direct sales, front-line sales & marketing management, product marketing, and business & product strategy. Success in executive management in sales, marketing and operations in roles at companies that range from angel-funded start-ups, to Global, Public Companies. Entrepreneurial, with experience with Public and Private company strategy and M&A, Innovation, Business model changes, P&L ownership, building and leading teams, and delivering measurable results.

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