Nov 11 2021

The 4 Trends That Will Guide IT Decisions in 2022

After two years of uncertainty, some things about business technology are finally becoming clear.

The past two years have been the strangest, most challenging and most exhilarating of most technology leaders’ careers. They jammed about three years’ worth of digital transformation into the last three quarters of 2020 alone.

This year was characterized by uncertainty: When will we be past the pandemic? When we will be able to move our workers back into offices full time? When will we return to “normal”?

I don’t know all the answers. But I see four high-level trends in business technology shaping up to affect 2022 and beyond.

1. The Era of Permanent Hybrid Work

IT leaders that threw together remote work environments on the fly last year are slowly realizing that remote work is likely to become a permanent fixture of their organizational cultures. Indeed, experts now argue that hybrid work, which involves a mix of onsite and remote work, is the likely model moving forward for most organizations.

That is something few had considered in March 2020; at that time, many expected a disruption of a few weeks or months.

Click the banner below to explore different the technologies that work together to enable hybrid work.

For IT leaders, this shift raises some questions: Is the organization’s current remote work environment built for the long term, or will upgrades be required to its collaboration technology and its security tools and strategy? How will new employees be onboarded with technology and trained on security policies? How will physical offices be designed to keep people safe while also maximizing collaboration?

2. How To Empower Employees From Anywhere

One reason hybrid work is here to stay is that workers themselves are newly empowered. Many workers seem to be rethinking what matters most to them when it comes to their careers.

The “Great Resignation” has disrupted many industries, but it also presents  an opportunity: Those businesses that build attractive workplace cultures will have a big advantage in the competition for talent. Deploying workplace technologies that put employee collaboration and ease of use at the core is a vital part of creating such a culture.

3. Hybrid Work Requires a New Security Approach

If distributed workforces are a permanent feature of modern business, organizations will have to adjust their thinking around security. Most organizations have recognized for several years now that authenticated identity is the new perimeter.

The pandemic, however, forced businesses to accelerate their plans for adopting zero-trust security principles. That’s because zero trust places identity at the center, which is vital in the world of remote work.

The result: 76 percent of organizations are implementing a zero-trust security model, according to Microsoft’s latest “Zero Trust Adoption Report.”

MORE ABOUT ZERO TRUST: Watch experts discuss how these principles can defend your environment.

4. Supply Chain Problems Will Continue

At some point, kinks in the supply chain that have slowed the economic recovery and frustrated businesses and consumers worldwide will get resolved. Predictions about when that will happen, however, should be taken with a grain of salt. Businesses should expect supply chain disruptions to continue well into 2022.

Some businesses in need of endpoints have found themselves struggling  to get them in a timely fashion. It’s tough to grow if you can’t equip new employees with basic tech.

We’ve talked previously about how businesses should respond: Order early and work with a partner that can help you source the devices you want or a satisfactory alternative. Also, make use of your partner’s options for reserving endpoints just for you and for helping you secure financing for preordered devices.

Businesses such as retailers, meanwhile, will need high-level data analytics, edge computing technologies and other solutions to help them manage their own supply chains as effectively as possible. Some disruption is inevitable, but the businesses that minimize shortages and ensure customers get what they want when they want it during these challenging times will win lasting consumer loyalty.

The world has changed. To seize the future, businesses must move with the current, not wait for things to return to the way they used to be. 

Dzmitry Dzemidovich/Getty Images