What Will 2022 Bring?
Online's CTO and co-founder, Tim Siemens, shares his predictions on the major trends to watch for in 2022 including the Metaverse, Cybersecurity, Cloud, No-Code/Low-Code, and Data & AI.
For the last 10 years, we are seeing almost every new digital initiative, or newly developed application, adopt a “Cloud-first” approach; essentially building applications using Cloud-native architecture. Cloud-native architectures take advantage of the Cloud platform services to enable scaling, maintainability, and security.
Organizations are moving faster and faster into the Cloud. Legacy information systems, and the systems that they have built over the last few years on-premises, are now being pressured to move to the Cloud.
- The traditional way of taking these legacy systems and moving them into the Cloud is often referred to as lift and shift. You can lift and shift a web-based application that is hosted in the data center and move it to the Cloud so that it’s running on infrastructure in the Cloud, using a very similar architecture to what existed in the data center.
With the abilities now for development within the Cloud ecosystem including advantages such as rapid development, increased security and scalability you get out of it the resulting systems are better able to connect and deliver value in the digitally-connected world.
Be ready to do the bulk of your development in Cloud-native form. Think hard about lifting and shifting and rather consider redeveloping that system into a Cloud-native architecture. You may be surprised.
Over the last two years, most organizations successfully transitioned to a remote-work model. As the new model of work becomes the norm, we need to look closely at the security implications that may have been overlooked or not fully recognized as this shift took place e.g., consider how documents are now shared or where documents are stored. These security concerns require companies to look most closely at their data and information assets to determine what risk might exist, and how that risk might best be addressed.
There are a lot of security tools in the marketplace that address different parts of a security stack and though these tools do their job very well, they do not necessarily integrate easily. We are seeing a major trend to address this challenge with vendors working to get the tools to integrate by using APIs.
Single vendors are acquiring smaller vendors and are starting to integrate those offerings. Bigger vendors are integrating other smaller security offerings through APIs and enablements in a more open fashion. The whole direction is to try and get to a point where companies have fewer management access points so that your security team can monitor, manage, detect, and deflect security incidents more quickly without having to dive into each one of these separate siloed systems.
Look for the large cybersecurity tool providers to increase the integration of their own toolsets into one management environment to provide a more holistic security management solution.
Data & AI
With the increase in digitalization, we are seeing more and more need and use of data. This data has been collected by those who have been building the systems that collect this data, whether it be the base level data of a transactional system or the telemetry associated with browsing habits or traversal habits of application. There is a huge amount of data out there now right now. So where should this data be housed? In the past, there was a real mix split between data being housed on-prem (private data centers) or in the Cloud. Today, organizations are actively looking to move their data into the Cloud so that they can take advantage of Cloud services around scaling, storage, and the platform services for doing the data analytics.
This leads to discussions around artificial intelligence. Large portions of artificial intelligence revolve around having large amounts of good, clean data from a variety of sources. Cleaning that data and housing it in your own facility is quite difficult and actually does not maximize your spending. Rather, putting the data into the Cloud and taking advantage of all the data cleansing tools available with Cloud vendors, and coupling that with the machine learning services that the Cloud vendors have, is an additional benefit for companies to enable their movement into more AI-based systems.
Be prepared to take advantage of the AI & Data services that Cloud vendors are providing. Leverage the tooling to automate the data science process to ease your transition and increase your productivity.
In the '90s, Microsoft Access was used by business users to create departmental systems representing what might have been considered the first generation of no-code/low-code solutions. Though not necessarily built to the standards of traditional application developers, these departmental systems served a business function and delivered value over the years.
Lately, there has been a resurgence into tools such as Microsoft Access. These tools are more sophisticated, offering advanced automation, but like Microsoft Access, they allow business users/technologists to do large portions of the development.
- If your organization is looking at using the new Cloud-enabled generation of no-code/low-code application development platforms, you will need a mix of business technologies, an understanding of the business problems to be solved, and an ability to define and create elements of those solutions.
- A key to success is coupling these business technologists with the rigor of application developers, data analysts, and those with an understanding of information technology. If you can bring these two streams of experience together, you will get a force multiplier.
Systems will be created quickly, in a correct fashion that helps push the enterprise forward by offering value to your customers and partners.
Look very closely at no-code/low-code and what it can do for you. It may mean that you will have to restructure to enable your business technologists to start delivering products but if you strategically couple that with your IT resources you come out with a force multiplied result.
After being in incubation for 10+ years, the Metaverse has officially arrived. We are watching many of the biggest names in tech make announcements and investments around their initiatives in the Metaverse. Facebook recently rebranded their parent organization to Meta, as they shift their focus to creating a virtual world that will enable us to interact, work, and create content online.
To prepare for the shift to the Metaverse, organizations must enter the collaboration space. Many tools in the Metaverse replicate, replace, or enhance the 2D experience of tools such as Microsoft Teams. Be prepared to work and collaborate with your team.
When it comes to certain buying experiences, customers will still want to go to a physical store to look at and try on products. Physical stores provide human interaction with sales associates that understand your needs and can make accurate product recommendations.
If you are looking to move into the retail side of Metaverse, it will be important for you to consider how you can augment the reality space you are in, so that your customers are able to try on products, ask questions, and have an appealing and beneficial buying experience. If you are able to offer a virtual storefront at scale, then you will be able to reach hundreds, even thousands, of customers who can try on and buy your products at any given period.
You have every right to be skeptical about the Metaverse but you're doing yourself a major disservice if you do not look closely at the opportunities presented by the arrival of Metaverse components.
Check out the video below to see Tim discuss each trend, and how it might affect you!
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