3 tech trends to look out for in 2022

At the beginning of each year, many of us are pausing to reflect on the bigger picture and set strategic direction for ourselves and our businesses in the year ahead.

Specifically, within the technology space, preparation for opportunity is a large decider of success for short- and medium-term ambitions. This awareness means we’re able to recognise shifts in critical areas like talent, new technologies, costs, and practices. As we enter the first quarter of 2022, this is a look at some of the bigger themes likely to present opportunities for all of us working in technology businesses or departments.

1.The platform strategy: A year of reckoning

For a few years, the buzz has been about transforming your organisation into the mall, or the marketplace rather than the vendor. Whether for customer volume, access to data at scale, or for competitive leverage in the push to displace rising competition in a digital market, there is a bow-wave of contenders in every industry talking about “platform strategy” in the boardroom (and the server room!)

Some early success stories generated even more frenzy, even into the largest traditional enterprises. Most are still on the journey, with substantial investment into the organisational and technology changes required to underpin it.

2022 is shaping up to be something of a turning point. This could very well be the year where we will discover whether these strategies will really deliver on their promises of “owning the customer rather than the service”. At the very least, we will collectively be grappling with understanding – brought on by lessons from early feedback.

The tactics tried so far will be teaching management teams the real place for platform thinking. There is clearly value there, and this year we’ll all be validating and refining where platform belongs in our business plans. Somewhere between a complete business model shift and purely an IT platform strategy for architecture and teams.

2. Ways of work: Adaptation and acceptance

Just when industry felt like it had reached maturity in scaled agile engineering practices, waves of lockdown have introduced several new dimensions for our teams – both positive and negative.

Most large engineering, digital and IT departments simply had to go remote. As this protracts, some teams become further and further distributed, in many cases this includes outside of cities, states and even countries.

We can argue about potential new definitions of “face-to-face”, but clearly when the principles of the Agile Manifesto were written, “The most efficient and effective method of

conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation” meant in-person, at a whiteboard, with all of the communication bandwidth a scenario like that offers.

While most ceremonies can typically function just fine on a video call, and we’ve seen productivity largely increase because of it, over time there will be widening relationship gaps to solve. 2022 surely will be the year our industry solves this out of necessity.

Interestingly, the remote nature of things like project tracking and reporting have driven up the reliance on tooling. This year we’ll see the results of 18 months of innovation at Microsoft, Atlassian, AWS and the open-source community – and how these tools will empower teams to close some of these new communication and collaboration gaps.

We need to show specific sympathy for colleagues in non-technical roles, whose day is not largely filled with independent tasks like coding, querying, or configuring. These folks rely more on interactions with people internal and external to the organisation, and risk being pushed further away from engineering teams – the opposite of what we’ve been pushing for.

Ultimately, 2022 promises to be the year many of our new approaches to recruitment, culture and operating processes will have been battle-tested enough to feel comfortable.

3. Cloud cost optimisation

Over the last two years, practically every scenario we can think of has been solved for by cloud and SaaS providers. All legacy and modern components for compute, data and mobility exists for us to either build on, or migrate to. These services are also now proven, and between AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and the bevvy of private cloud providers, there is little reason left to run an internal data centre.

This means most organisations are in a state of full or partial migration of on-promise workloads, and more than likely an intention to leverage cloud tech for new digital endeavours. Looking at this scale, 2022 could well be the year cloud costs take centre stage.

As the newness of each migration fades, and the breadth of deployments grows, there is mounting pressure to aggressively manage costs. There are endless avenues for runaway costs on every platform

The ease of provisioning new services and simplified auto-scaling are primary culprits here, as seemingly simple options can result in bill shock. Bills which are hard to understand, invisible or badly named arrive across a complex set of tenants/subscriptions. Dozens of orphaned services, once used for storage or testing creates a fear of switching off something that isn’t known or well named.

There is plenty of choice, control and configuration available – but this means inevitable complexity – which requires different and deeper skills for a cloud ops and management team.

Clearly costs are going in one direction: up. So it’s likely that we’ll see some difficult conversations when it comes time to renew annual consumption commitments on large enterprise agreements. Almost undoubtedly there will be growing demand for cloud cost rationalisation work to tighten things up post-migration. There could well be quite a (governance-focused) reaction to reign in cloud spend.

Looking ahead

As you’re compiling a strategy for your teams, have a look at some of these slower-moving trends and consider whether you’re in a good position to defend or capitalise on them. Are your business and product stakeholders growing distant from engineering teams again under a prolonged remote operating model?  Are you comfortable with the level of prudence and structure in your cloud tenants – and if you’re moving towards a platform-centric architecture, do you have the means to really evaluate the value it should start rewarding you with this year? 

As usual in this industry, it is hard to predict even a few weeks ahead, but some awareness and preparation is good exercise for the tactical decisions to be made as 2022 plays out – good luck!

If you are looking for guidance on your 2022 technology roadmap, get in touch with us.

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