Here on the Transform It Forward podcast, it’s that time of year again when we take a moment to reflect on the past 12 months, and look ahead to what’s coming down the pipe for the new year.
This year has been full of progress, innovation and fascinating new developments in tech. To discuss some of the key highlights from 2022 and what we can look forward to in 2023, I sat down with my colleagues Vince Padua, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at Axway and Brian Otten, VP Digital Transformation Catalysts at Axway.
Transform It Forward with Vince Padua and Brian Otten
In the most recent—and final—episode of the podcast, we went over some of the high points of the past year, and even more importantly, looked ahead to 2023. There’s no telling what exciting innovations we’ll be seeing in the near future, so it’s no doubt a thrilling time to be in the digital transformation space.
Without further ado, here are some of the highlights from our panel discussion. I hope you learn something new or gain a new perspective from the opinions shared during this episode.
Uncertainty is the only constant
As companies continue to confront the realities of rising interest rates, a looming recession and potentially having an entirely new employee base, the 2023 landscape will be an interesting one, to say the least. To kick off the episode, I asked Vince and Brian to share their thoughts on what we can expect to see in the new year.
Vince believes that one of the major themes of 2023 will be similar to what we’ve all been experiencing since the beginning of 2020: uncertainty.
“I think if I were to summarize your question, it would be uncertainty. I think enterprises and businesses, whether in the States or around the globe, are facing a whole lot of uncertainty with the economy, with the way in which we expect to be balancing innovation with cost savings and efficiency, etc. So when we look at how do we coach folks on dealing with uncertainty, it’s in many ways kind of going back to the basics, going back to what got your business to where it is, kind of the roots of whether it’s your product discipline, whether it’s refocusing your strategy and ultimately your vision. But I think the tone for 2023 will be uncertainty.”
Balancing innovation with optimization
Another key theme for 2023 that Brian pointed out will be the need for businesses to balance innovation with optimization. He believes that as companies continue to race for progress and keep up with the rapid pace of innovation, they will also need to balance this speed and agility with a refined eye for quality and optimization.
“Now, we know we’re not completely out of COVID, but I think that has forced a lot of companies to think about how they balance innovation with optimization. So I think one of the big themes is going to be optimizing, whether it’s their cloud strategy, where they thought, ‘well, my first step is migration to the cloud, but now how do I optimize that?’ As they start to see what the real costs of going to the cloud are. And it’s the same all the way through software engineering with platform engineering coming in. So I think the focus is really optimization without sacrificing some of that speed of innovation.”
Vince expanded on Brian’s point, noting that finding creative ways to optimize products, performance and organizations will be important for businesses as they hope to make the most of their investments.
“Optimization is about how do you do better, perform better, given the current constraints that you’ve got, whether the current constraints are resources or your present investment in cloud A, B or C, or some hybrid of those things. And the optimization part is about, ‘we’re going to really work, given our investment, to get the payoffs that we’ve been looking for, whatever that may be, whether that is we’re able to get products to market faster, whether we’re able to reduce our operating expense given the number of users of our products and platforms. But we’re going to do it within the constraints of the investment that we’ve already made. And then the other side of it is the innovation piece, which is about, ‘how do I break out of my current constraints and ultimately do something better?’”
AI and ML will continue to take center stage
Recently, Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer (ChatGPT), a chatbot developed by OpenAI, has made its way into the mainstream conversation as a trending topic. People everywhere want to log in and use it to ask questions, tell a story, write a song, or just converse with a relevant, natural-sounding bot.
Given this fascinating trend, I asked Vince and Brian to share their thoughts on how they think the role of AI and ML will evolve in a mainstream sense over the course of the next year or two. Vince made a great point about how this technology will ultimately have the power to change the way all of us work, play and communicate.
“You hit on what I think is probably, at least in my mind, some of the most exciting technology that I’ve seen in a long time—a decade. As somebody who worked on IBM Watson in the early days, seeing what it can do, it is, in my opinion, indistinguishable from magic. It is really remarkable, and it opens up a whole can of interesting topics… I think it opens up a whole host of very interesting questions as well as the way that it can augment the way any of us do our jobs.”
Brian added that when it comes to AI and ML, the end result will always come back to the data, and more importantly, the context of the data. He predicts that one of the main challenges surrounding AI and ML in the near future will be connecting the huge volumes of data we have at our disposal with the appropriate context.
“It still comes down to the data… Now, it’s not just the data, it’s the context around the data. And one of the pervasive problems of data management over the last 25, 30 years has been, ‘how do we retain that context with the data?’ I think AI and ML gives us that opportunity to kind of go wade back into the semantic data land and try and understand how we can actually get the context along with the insights that AI and ML are giving us. Because really, context is everything, so I think that’s going to be one of the main problems to solve.”
To wrap up our discussion, I asked Vince and Brian to share any other key predictions for 2023 that we hadn’t touched on yet. Brian shared an interesting concept that he believes will be taking center stage in the near future as companies look for smart ways to cut costs and speed up the product testing process.
“One of the things we haven’t talked about is this notion of the digital twin, so that’s being able to take a physical product or process and then having a digital version of it that replicates, which makes it easy for you to test or simulate the impact, the results or the efficacy of that product. I think it’s kind of the evolution in many ways of the Internet of Things, sort of being able to take a thing with sensors and being able to extract all the data without all of the costs and complexity associated with that and having a digital version of it. So I think that’s one thing that’s really, really interesting seeing a lot of companies talking about how they can enable this kind of digital twin framework or set of technologies where they can reduce the cost by doing a lot of that kind of simulation for even physical products in the digital world.”
Overall, there are plenty of exciting trends, innovations and themes to look forward to in 2023. As we move into the new year, it will be important for companies to stay committed to their vision and stay the course despite any challenges they may run into along the way.
To our listeners: this episode marks the very last episode of Transform It Forward ever. I want to take a moment to share my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for your support throughout these past three seasons. It’s been a great ride and we couldn’t have done it without you.
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