Summary – The year 2022 can be described as a year of exceptional fluctuations. It commenced with a continuation of the COVID-19 safety measures and an increase in investments in technology that facilitate remote work. It taught us some valuable lessons on how to adapt, modify, and make the most of opportunities in line with evolving trends, which will be beneficial in 2023.
To say that 2022 was a year of extremes is an understatement. The year started off with continued COVID precautions and heavy investments in technology that enable remote work. In fact, many companies were outright panic buying – not only in the technologies, but also the staff to make it all possible. A severe talent shortage took hold across all industries like software engineering – from warehousing to logistics; people and businesses continued to stockpile hard-to-get items that were scarce because of supply chain shortages. It was a feeding frenzy and companies were scrambling to hire, procure and feed a very healthy economy.
Yet, fast forward to the second half of 2022, and things changed drastically. The giddiness of the first half of the year gave way to a more somber cautious outlook as businesses took a more deliberate, discerning approach to tech investments, and new hires as the economy slows down and businesses come to grips with a changing reality and a possible recession.
The year offered up many lessons on how to pivot, adjust and optimize opportunities based on changing trends that will be well-served in 2023. Consider some of the following:
Good Tech Talent is Hard to Come By So Nurture It
Throughout 2022, including the high profits of the first half of the year to the economic slow-down near the end, one constant was a continued tech talent shortage. This may seem contradictory to the lay-offs announced by big tech firms of late, yet as Lily Mok of Gartner said, “though big tech is cutting staff, the need to innovate remains. There is no slowing down in terms of transformation.” And, according to Gartner, there will continue to be a shortage of tech talent across the globe in 2023.
In 2023, it’s important to nurture existing talent and remember that how employees are treated – in good times and bad – is remembered. By offering fair compensation, opportunities for growth and continued training, along with good work-life balance, the strongest employees are always available.
The right technology is always in style
Despite a changing economy, investments in technology will continue in 2023, yet weighed against tighter KPIs: Will they help companies become more productive, boost efficiency and reduce costs? These key benefits will really be the only thing that is considered, yet they most definitely will be considered.
As Rick Villars of IDC said, “technology and IT is not about where we cut – technology is where we invest to help the rest of the business navigate the recession.” An appreciation of technology is well established across all types of businesses and is not going anyway anytime soon. So as long as tech providers build the right solutions that provide bottom-line value, there will always be a market.
We all have an obligation to ensure data privacy
Issues around privacy of personal information was a focus of governments, businesses and consumers in 2022. Yet, despite legal actions against Facebook, Twitter and Google, no real headway was made for data privacy standards. We can expect to see more legislation regarding data privacy to take hold within more states, as well as the federal government in 2023. Yet all organizations that leverage data to reach customers or build AI solutions must make their data usage more transparent and build ethical AI solutions that avoid bias in decision-making. In 2023 all AI will need to be explainable AI.
A key challenge is that the data needed to train AI algorithms must be vast and come from multiple sources, which can make it difficult to ensure its privacy, so AI developers need to turn more to synthetic data, which doesn’t violate personal information, to train algorithms.
A good experience always leads to loyal customers and users
As many companies learned the hard way when costly digital transformation projects failed miserably or never really took off, digital transformation is impossible without a human-centric approach.
Companies will take those lessons into the new year, and we can expect to see digital transformation projects begin and end with the actual users and their needs. Journey mapping, storytelling, prototyping and other design activities will remove some of the risk in software and AI development and help companies keep customers and employees happy by more accurately meeting their needs.
As we rode the roller coaster ride of 2022, perhaps the biggest lessons learned were how to be flexible, pivot when necessary and hold steadfast to that which remains true despite the climate. We can’t be completely sure of what the new year will bring to business, but these lessons should be able to serve us well along the journey.