Fuelled by digital transformation and a heightened focus on cyber security and data protection, 2021 has seen a significant increase in activity across the Irish technology landscape.
Emerging technologies such as Intelligent Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Edge Computing, Blockchain and Virtual Reality continue to mature and gain enterprise adoption. Data Analytics has become a core competency and driver of data platforms and public cloud adoption. A growing digital economy and strong government support is leading to increased investment in technologies along with evolving enterprise operating models driven by market shifts and COVID-19.
Technology companies are at the forefront of industry transformation, as traditional models continue to be disrupted. The technology sector is constantly evolving and expanding to encompass diverse businesses with increased industry convergence and digital adoption. Disruptive trends are driving structural changes in the way organisations operate. Over the course of the year, we have seen a range of triggers that are driving major transformation programmes in the Irish market:
- Customer demands are evolving, with a major focus on sustainability.
- Millennials are accelerating the adoption of tech-enabled products and services.
- The pace of innovation requires the reskilling of employees and transformation programmes are being undertaken to make organisations more agile, and to optimise their operations.
- Digital ecosystems are emerging with a focus on developing digital platforms and industry-specific technologies.
- Mindsets have shifted with a new and deep understanding of technology, with many using disruptive technologies to enable digital sales and distribution channels.
- Supply chain disruption and optimisation impacted nearly every organisation, both around the world and in Ireland. Organisations are reimagining their supply chains to build in resiliency, sustainability and an increased focus on security and data protection.
- There is increased competition with a growing technology start-up ecosystem offering digital services and solutions driving a need to generate digital revenue opportunities and new service delivery models.
As we close out 2021, we see a number of key trends emerging for 2022
Sustainability as a transformation driver:
Sustainability has evolved into a key priority for the technology profession. In recent months, we have seen sustainability emerge as the new driver of transformation, similar to digital, driven by the need to meet emerging challenges along with rising importance and visibility across society.
The sustainability landscape is complex with multitudes of standards and metrics and the ecosystem is ever evolving. As this focus area gains more priority, changes will occur within the technology sector. Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions in particular will evolve to include ‘sustainability’ reporting and ratings. For example, their power consumption, the percentage of renewables that they use, etc.
The business case for new technology implementations will also include sustainability as a significant input into these key decisions. Total Impact of Ownership will assume a weighting similar to Total Cost of Ownership in decision matrices and designs.
Investors and capital markets are weighing environmental sustainability more heavily as part of ESG (environmental, social and governance) analysis of investment opportunities. Organisations must show how they are delivering a positive contribution for society and not just meet financial performance metrics. KPIs will include specific reference to energy consumption, carbon output and climate ethical work practices. We expect that the phrase “verifiable claims” will be key for executives in 2022 as they seek to deliver the transparency demanded by their stakeholders. Initial conversations post-COP26 have highlighted the role for Blockchain and the capability it can deliver for immutable evidence across an end-to-end supply chain.
A renewed focus on Business Resiliency:
Organisations continue to struggle to fully protect themselves against the multitude of emerging cyber threats. Many of the world’s biggest and most technologically advanced organisations have suffered cyber events. The reliance on third parties in the supply chain has been a particular challenge. Proactive and predictive supply chain management with technology at its core has emerged.
Organisations can no longer assume that users, systems or services operating from within the security perimeter should be trusted. Technology companies need to embrace digital trust to develop consumer confidence and competitive advantage. They need to embed privacy and risk management into their products and offerings and ensure integrity, transparency and accountability are designed into their systems.
Organisations are taking a proactive approach and continuously monitoring all levels of their systems to enable them to react to threats effectively. They are planning and preparing for a breach with many organisations now using cloud hosted services to assist in reacting to a breach. It forms a key part of their security defence within a comprehensive structure involving people, process and technology.
Cloud-supplied security offerings are providing a cost-effective solution with lower cost of entry. The “pay per user” and “pay as you go” cloud model facilitates full enterprise level security capability to organisations that were previously priced out of the market. These offerings will continue to evolve, with Artificial Intelligence being built into technology platforms rather than being provided as an “add on”. AIOps will be embedded into IT Operations to assist with reducing, simplifying, optimising and automating a wide range of tasks and processes needed to deliver effective IT incident identification, management, and resolution.