This is the time of year that predictions begin. Person of the Year, Future State of the Economy, Gartner’s Strategic Technology Trends, and more.
I don’t know how often people look back to see how accurately trend predictions turn out. I for one would like to take a peek back just to see if the most recent predictions were accurate, or if they were a complete miss. I also have an eye on the WIFM (What’s in it for me?) implications, or the human side of the trend. Within the context of this blog, “me” is defined as the business, user and customer.
Gartner increased their trends count from nine in 2021 to 12 in 2022. In my last blog, I took a look at hyperautomation, which will continue as a significant trend for years to come. Others catching my eye right now are cloud-native platforms, composable applications, autonomic systems and total experience.
I like to think of trends with two sides: 1) the technology itself and 2) the impact to the human. Technology revolves around the innovation side of the equation, with software development and deployment. The human side speaks to circumstance and effect – needs that are driven by remote work, capabilities that workers seek to automate or digitize, and goals that businesses have to accelerate change and increase efficiency.
For businesses, considering the trends, recognizing their value and adopting technology to move forward with the tide of change is critical for innovation to impact and support operational growth.
“Cloud first” has been the mantra for many companies pushing for customers to adopt their technology via the cloud. It includes the deployment of the software and storage of information in the cloud. Cloud-native platforms, however, are developed specifically for the cloud in segments or “microservices,” in containers that enable them to be portable.
What this means is that an application in a cloud-native environment is easier to deploy and enables easy updates from the provider. For the customer, it means they can have seamless updates and often more opportunities to scale the application as their needs grow.
Bottom line: Cloud-native applications give business users greater agility over the long term. Businesses that offer a cloud-native platform will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Microservices in containers can be separated from their foundation and reused in new applications. These are called composable applications. I equate composable with modular – being able to unhook a piece and re-hook it somewhere else in a new configuration. It’s the opposite of an all-inclusive package; modules can be removed and improved, then redeployed for a new application.
Picture a modular home. When you build a home that is composed of modules, the home is constructed faster than a traditional one, where each element, from foundation to frame to roof is created from scratch.
Using modules to build a structure has been around for about four decades. It was only a matter of time to take this physical construction to software development. According to Computer Weekly, the functional blocks of an application can be decoupled from the complete application. “These individual component parts can then be more finely tuned to create a new application that is ideologically, if not functionally, greater than the sum of its parts.”
Bottom line: With containers of composable applications built on microservices building blocks, they can be reused to build new applications more easily. With this architecture, the speed of development increases, making every user happy to get what they need more quickly.
According to Garner, autonomic systems exploit continuous learning and dynamic adaptation to provide superior automation of tasks and business processes in complex and dynamic environments. IT leaders should exploit their capabilities while managing challenges like nondeterminism.
This makes me think of intelligent software robots, or bots, that use artificial intelligence to learn. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots are the new worker bees of technology, taking more tedious tasks off the plates of individual workers.
Organizations take one step further into reducing development time and improving their efficiency with smart bots. Smart bots use artificial intelligence to learn from its environment. They can collaborate with humans and learn from them. The evolution of autonomic systems has only just begun.
Whether it’s the view from business leadership, users, customers or the IT team, continuous improvement means a better experience for all. Digitization and automation improves the work-lives of users by giving them tools to reduce their tedious work and enable faster, more reliable processes, in turn making business leaders happy with great productivity. Customers reap the benefits of all when they are served more quickly.
RPA alone has layered more innovation on top of the traditional automated workflow to make users even happier. This radiates throughout an organization, with users now able to better serve customers – improving CX, and accelerating productivity – to give the business an edge.
Racing to the future
We always look for greater efficiencies and technology to drive innovation and deliver an overall better experience for all business constituents. It’s this human side of the equation – from the leadership level to the customer level – that should be driving all of the above.
With technical innovation changing the way software is built and deployed, businesses can upgrade their business tools. As users, we see continuous improvement of the platforms, applications, and tools that we use that impact the speed and efficiency of how we work. Gartner’s Trends highlight more areas to watch in the 2022 list, identifying where we can expect businesses to be impacted.
As we individually witness the effect of the progress of innovation, we can predict one thing – standing still is not an option while everyone else is racing toward a new future. Businesses need to rethink their technology and adopt new strategies and tools to keep pace with the benefits of change and drive growth and success for their operations.