10 tech predictions for 2022

IT and tech leaders look at the road ahead and predict what's next for hybrid work tools, cloud, AI, and more
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the trouble with future-proofing

As we embark on a new year, how can what we’ve learned help us in 2022? If the past two years have proved anything, it is the importance of rapid adaptability in the face of uncertainty. In 2021, CIOs focused on operational agility more than ever before. To prepare for the unexpected and adapt to whatever 2022 holds, companies must further accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and prioritize specific technology trends. To keep navigating this level of change, CIOs know they need to start by focusing on talent retention and relationships.

“The labor challenges we faced in 2021 aren’t about to ease up, so the key to building the best team is retaining your talent," says Rich Theil, CEO, The Noble Foundry. "You have to make the environment one they love to work in. Develop better ways of working, introduce more fun, and be a lot more intentional about relationships and you’ll thrive in the new year.” 

[ Where is your team's digital transformation work stalling? Get the eBook: What's slowing down your Digital Transformation? 8 questions to ask. ]

What else are digital leaders setting their sights on for the year ahead? Let’s dig into 10 predictions for 2022, from CIOs and tech leaders.

1. Hybrid cloud adoption grows in the hybrid work era

“With companies committing to hybrid work environments, leaders have to rethink priorities and consider balancing between scale, speed, privacy, and security. Businesses and customers need more flexibility than legacy data center environments or pure public cloud solutions can offer."

"That is why many companies are considering significant new investments in a hybrid cloud option. In 2022, we will see more acceleration adoption of hybrid cloud as it delivers excellent agility to grow and support remote employees, enabling companies to pivot as business demands evolve and change in an uncertain world.” -Jamshid Rezaei, CIO, Mitel

[ Want advice on leading hybrid work? Read What is a hybrid work model? and Hybrid work model: 5 advantages. ]

2. New hybrid workforce tools emerge

"Many of the collaboration platforms added great functionality in 2021, enabling them to address the remote workforce and the in-office workforce. As we evolve into the hybrid workforce of the future, I think we will continue to see tools add functionality to try and make communication and collaboration as smooth and as efficient as possible. Workforce enablement goes well beyond collaboration. We also need to address the support of the remote worker."

"To that end, we are seeing a new breed of tools emerge that are based on AI and machine learning. These tools can identify, alert, and sometimes, heal issues before the remote worker even knows there is a problem. While we have seen a consolidation of tools and platforms, I believe the hybrid approach to workforce enablement will continue to be the right approach for the foreseeable future.” -Jeff Ton, Strategic IT Advisor, InterVision

[ Leading CIOs are reimagining the nature of work while strengthening organizational resilience. Learn 4 key digital transformation leadership priorities in a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. ] 

3. More choices for multi-cloud deployments 

“The cloud has become the primary location for software vendors to store their data over the last few years. Many have even moved their applications to cloud platforms. The trend I am seeing now and what will continue in 2022 is software vendors investing in multi-cloud deployments. Organizations will not want to be locked into a single cloud vendor due to regulations like GDPR and organizations wanting localized data.” -Charles Caldwell, VP of Product Management, Logi Analytics

4. Kubernetes and AI/ML get together for next-wave applications

“While we have already seen a wide variety of applications running in containers, we are beginning to see more organizations bring their mission critical, stateful applications to Kubernetes. Databases, event-driven messaging, and mission-critical applications are expected to move to Kubernetes to take advantage of the scalability, security and portability that Kubernetes brings to all applications. But amongst all the applications running on Kubernetes, one area that stands out is AI/ML."

"As Data Science becomes a critical role within nearly every company, the ability to improve and enhance many types of applications grows. From improving customer interactions to making better decisions with data, to things like modeling autonomous vehicles, AI/ML is impacting nearly every aspect of modern business. And Kubernetes brings the perfect platform capabilities to AI/ML - scalability, access to GPUs, workload portability and much more. We have already begun to see organizations do great things with AI/ML on Kubernetes, and we expect the next-generation of applications to completely change industries.” -Brian Gracely, Sr. Director Product Strategy, Red Hat OpenShift

[ Want to learn more? Get the free O'Reilly eBooks: Kubernetes Operators: Automating the Container Orchestration Platform and  Kubernetes patterns for designing cloud-native apps. ]

5. Expanded use of analytics in digital transformation

“Much of 2022 will be about laying the groundwork for expanded enterprise transformation initiatives. CIOs and their teams should be ready to identify the most viable business cases for applying the power of data and analytics. If your organization aims to drive large-scale digital transformation, as opposed to piecemeal initiatives based on a single use case, it is necessary to take an integrated approach to employ data and analytics to maximize value. Time spent in Q1 thinking through the roadmap of initiatives and identifying and pursuing synergies will be critical in achieving impactful outcomes.” -Rajan Sethuraman, CEO, LatentView Analytics

6. Open source experimentation grows

“With the wide rollout of 5G, we can expect more video and faster delivery speeds across all digital services. The pressure to modernize and reimagine your digital capabilities will continue to accelerate next year from cloud adoption to machine learning and AI. AI will begin to emerge as a differentiator for businesses as AI-powered hyper-personalization becomes more mainstream. I also expect that more and more experimentation will be done on open source software. Savvy CIOs should familiarize themselves with open source in their environments and be willing to contribute back.” -Vikas Gupta, SVP Sales Operations, Persistent Systems

7. Diversity and inclusion efforts expand on tech teams

“According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2026, the shortage of engineers in the U.S. will exceed 1.2 million, while Gartner’s research indicates that 63 percent of senior executives say that the shortage of software engineers remains an area of great concern. One way businesses will look at navigating this shortage in 2022 is through diversity and inclusion. Computer programming education and training investments in underrepresented people and communities, combined with access to apprenticeships and internships, networking opportunities, and more can fundamentally change the way engineering teams look while also reducing the shortage of engineering and technical talent.” -Christine Spang, Co-founder and CTO, Nylas

8. More emphasis on tech skills, less on degrees

“The increasing quality and accessibility of affordable online learning has put technical skill development within reach for nearly anyone, meaning organizations that are stuck in the mud with yesterday’s mindset of mandating lofty educational requirements will miss out on acquiring talent.” -Josh Hamit, Vice President & CIO, Altra Federal Credit Union and member of ISACA Emerging Trends Working Group

9. Decentralized databases and edge computing gain popularity 

“Companies are going back to the drawing board to make up for the time, and business, they lost during the pandemic. CIOs have their tasks cut out for them, as they look to create resilience and future-proof tech teams while keeping up with business needs. We will see companies update legacy tech stacks for flexibility; and adopt trustless, permissionless systems that do not require central governance. Decentralized databases and edge computing will gain popularity as teams look to decrease response times and save bandwidth.” -Sachin Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, HackerEarth

10. Augmented reality rollouts increase

Augmented reality will keep finding its way into new use cases. In the next year, expect to see it integrated even more into sales and training spaces, where the reality of hybrid work as the new normal has transformed the way we collaborate and learn. As opportunities for the growth of AR present themselves, decision-makers must know what problem they’re aiming to solve, rather than simply hoping trendy tech will work for them. Thoughtful implementation (including proper education and training) will be the difference between succeeding with AR.” -Gary York, CEO, Help Lightning

[ How can automation free up more staff time for innovation? Get the free eBook: Managing IT with Automation. ] 

Katie Sanders
Katie Sanders is the Content and Community Manager for The Enterprisers Project, seeking contributors who have expertise that can be shared with an audience of CIOs and IT leaders. She has always been interested in building relationships and connecting people.