The invisible vectors of change; what to watch for in 2022
The lines between the physical and the digital have all but vanished. Businesses have discovered that blending the two delivers more than the sum of the parts. Today, that fusion is able to deliver personalization at scale without having to bust the bank, create work-from-anywhere a reality with unmatched convenience and safety and network ecosystems to make them more resilient. Underlying this are a set of technology-oriented ideas that call for a broader understanding in 2022.
The experience economy, further fueled by evolution of payments: The recent focus on removing physical contact from user journeys has magnified the value of digital products, services and operations thus scrunching the roadmap to digital transformation. While tech stack modernization is a given, it must be centered on the delivery of fresh and habit-forming experiences. This trend will continue to have a pronounced impact in the way payments are integrated into value chains with significant advances across the dimensions of choice, security and ease-of-use. So, how easily can a new payment process be integrated into your business? The answer depends on the Busness2Developer equation. It calls for a developer-friendly engineering approach that makes it easy for merchants to integrate the payment platform into their ecosystem.
A holistic approach to digital security: The days of slow development have been replaced by rapid release cycles, delivered by globally distributed teams, injecting new code pieces in a collaboratively code base leading to an increased possibility of security vulnerabilities. As a result, mature and scalable DevSecOps is becoming a flywheel for organizations, calibrating their speed to value. As organizations move to build new products or modernize legacy stacks, they need to bring the urgency in their approach to a robust DevSecOps setup if they are to continue their growth trajectory.
SRE – coming through on customer expectations: Closely linked to DevSecOps is Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). Today, a short 10 minute shut down of a consumer/business facing service makes international headlines. Apart from the constant vigilance needed to prevent data breaches, CXOs will increasingly find themselves in the dock if their digital offerings are not reliably delivered. But system failures in the face of large-scale business pivots or even near-routine change management continue to happen. For example, large financial businesses moving into rural markets can find their existing systems are not designed to be fault tolerant in the new context. Service unavailability could affect prospects and customers negatively. This is where SRE, a collection of engineering principles, steps in to provide the means to keep large-scale systems functioning from a user’s perspective while reducing the cost of failure.
The sense of urgency to simplify the core: Many executive leadership of leading enterprises now with private equity ownership structures, will renew their focus on building new markets, products or restructuring a business for faster returns and more competitive operational efficiency. This is driving a strong push towards simplifying the enterprise tech stack which, for many, has become rigid and limiting. These organizations understand that business volatility will not end, and neither will the need to be fast to capture new market opportunities. Organizations have to therefore, be inherently nimble and adaptable. Their ambition should not be ransom to what their current technology architecture and stack can withstand or yield but should rather be empowered by its limitless potential. This means keeping the tech backbone simplified without sacrificing modernization and ease of innovation.
After data (lots of it), what? The race, until now, was to acquire data. Now that practically every organization has got there, the challenge is to leverage the data to solve problems and build competitive advantage. This means applying a whole family of advanced technologies such as fuzzy logic to figure out customer needs, market behavior and ideal product features. Closely related to this is the growing institutionalization of data science. Data wrangling and data workbenches are becoming important—because data scientists and data engineering teams must be served up the right data for them to do their magic.
Unbundling as a strategy: Often, successful businesses thrive on their ability to bundle products and services that customers want. But at the back end, the challenge is quite the opposite: It is to smartly unbundle the value chain to build intriguing new equations and synergies, that weren’t possible earlier. This trend is especially noticeable in financial services. Banks, for example, continue to disburse loans while the loan origination is managed by last-mile partners. This is because a customer today may avail a loan from a specific bank using a third-party app simply because the customer has a prior relationship (or trust) with the third-party app. This behavior is driving organizations to think of themselves, their business models and their underlying technology stacks as ecosystems that need to be interoperable versus striving to be do-it-all behemoths. We’ll see more of this “unbundling” trend shape businesses and the enabling technology in newer ways.
The larger trends and innovations that swept 2021 are determining which enabling technologies will dominate 2022. These technologies will become the steppingstones to a better world and to more resilient businesses.