What will 2022 have in store for us? Though unfortunately we can never be sure 100% (if there’s anything the past two years have taught us), I sure have some damn good (educated) predictions for you. When it comes to digital transformation, at least. Discover six important digital transformation trends for 2022 to keep an eye – or even better, get working – on this year!
Why you should invest – and be invested – in digital transformation
Everything about digital transformation ultimately comes down to one big, or let’s say huge, purpose: the survival of your business. But if that isn’t convincing enough, there are more than enough benefits you can obtain from successful digital transformation. Such as an increase in productivity and profitability, improved employee retention, better allocation of resources, and much more.
The true end-goal of digital transformation is to become a true digital business, which entails more than just implementing (new) technology. It’s about shaping your organisation to thrive in today’s, and tomorrow’s, digital world.
Digital transformation trends 2022
Now let’s get into our predictions for the 2022 digital transformation trends!
Trend 1: Uniting data and un-silo-ing information
Imagine you’re in a room with a lot of doors. Behind each door there’s a file cabinet containing different information. To reach it, you can easily go through the door, and open the file cabinet. But… wouldn’t it be easier to have all cabinets directly accessible from the same room though?
That’s exactly what’s happening now with a lot of digital workspaces. Many organisations are working on creating one place to access their applications. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great. But it should be a (first) step as it does mean you still have many different places where information is stored, creating information silos, and which may cause information to be overlooked.
By now, IT is evolving past the application portal. Meaning that many organisations are now taking the next steps to unite their information as well. This means taking the most important information from the applications and making it instantly accessible in the same place. Kind of like wheeling all those file cabinets into the same room.
Trend 2: The rise of cross-functional and fusion teams
The line between IT and business is blurring. And in this day and age, that’s not surprising. Just look at how technology has infused our everyday lives: it’s plays such a big part in almost everything we do. It just makes sense that technology will play a bigger part in every part of business as well. And not just in a supporting role.
Organisational boundaries are blurring
In fact, many organisational lines are fading. More and more organisational leaders are realising that most projects and initiatives are not, and shouldn’t be, the sole responsibility of just one discipline.
To be the best you can be at what you do, every part of your business should be optimised and aligned with each other. Every person, team, department or branch should be completely interconnected and in tune with the company’s goals and identity.
Enter: cross-functional and fusion teams
If people from just one department are responsible for a project that concerns other departments as well, one way or another, do you think that’s the smartest way to go about it? If you want to optimise your customer journey, don’t you need input from people involved at every step? If you want your company to be one well-oiled machine, shouldn’t all gears run smoothly together?
In a digital business (meaning: a business in today’s digital world), there needs to be more focus on creating project teams that are a diverse mix of roles, knowledge and skills. This stimulates the rise of fusion teams. Gartner describes a fusion team as follows:
“A multidisciplinary team that blends technology or analytics and business domain expertise and shares accountability for business and technology outcomes.”
Driven by outcomes
This means that projects will no longer be centred around which department happens to be leading it. They start with goals, the ‘why’ this project needs to happen. The first question to ask is: what do we want to achieve?
Trend 3: Hyperautomation continues
This one may sound familiar, because we mentioned it in our trends for 2021 blog as well. But we don’t see the importance of this trend declining any time soon, so it’s definitely worth mentioning again this year.
You may be familiar with the saying “there’s an app for that”. Because if you can think of it, there probably is. People are dealing with more and more applications, tasks, systems and information to process each and every day. And opening a different app for each and every task or specific piece of information (hey, we just discussed this!), is not very efficient.
Free up time and resources
With this comes the added pressure of the digital world: everything needs to happen faster, smarter, better, and more personalised than ever.
So besides uniting data and tasks, another solution to keep up is hyper automation: the process of automating as many processes as possible. Any tedious task that can be eliminated, each repetitive manual action that can be taken out of people’s hands.
This gives the opportunity to design processes to go faster, smarter, and with less (or basically no) room for human error. Which frees up time for actual humans to work on more important things.
Trend 4: The hybrid workforce is here
To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of hearing about how remote work is ‘the new normal’. And frankly, I don’t agree. Yes, it has become the new standard for many people and for a long time, for reasons I do not need to mention yet again. But slowly but surely, the world is opening up again. And with that, changes are happening.
I’m not saying that now that offices around the globe are opening up again, people will massively return to the office – not at all. In fact, I think our take on working remotely has been changed for good. I just don’t think we’ll all massively be doing so.
Work where you need to, when you need to
I believe that we will see a major increase in flexibility in regards to where and when people will work. That being a mix of working in the office, at home, maybe even from co-working spaces, and being able to work more flexible hours.
Catering more to the individual
A hybrid way of working is more human-centric than office-centric. This means that it’s designed around the different ways people need or like to work, instead of designing one great office that everyone goes to.
This allows for a more personalised work experience, which gives people more freedom and can ultimately lead to more productiveness and more happiness at work.
Trust is key in order to make this hybrid form of work successful. Therefore, the focus will be more on a person’s output, than on how many hours they stay in the office.
New ways of working need new ways to work, and connect
The same as with remote work, you can’t just digitise a bunch of processes and call it a new way to work. Because the truth is, it probably won’t.
Simply digitising things to make them accessible anywhere and anytime can in fact be damaging. Terms like digital fatigue, always-on phenomenon and information overload come to mind. And as much as we try, those digital Friday afternoon drinks over Teams are just not the same.
So what to do? A different way of working requires a different approach. Different than we’ve seen before. New processes and experiences need to be created in order to cater to the hybrid workforce.
Circling back to the remote workforce: it will be bigger
I know I said I don’t think working remotely will be ‘the next big thing’. However, I do think a larger part of the workforce will in fact work remotely. Just not full-time. As many of us may have experienced over the past two years, it doesn’t really matter that much where you work.
So why not take that job with that awesome company on another continent, without actually moving there? When it comes to choosing an employer, or an employee for that matter, the world is not as big as it used to be, and the pool just got a lot bigger.
Trend 5: Working on the holistic experience
Your product is used by customers. Employees create the product. Maybe even use their own product themselves (we do at Workspace 365, at least). So maybe your employees are also sort of your customers. Customers interact with employees. And all of this falls under the one big umbrella that is your company. So, why should there be any inconsistencies between these experiences? A little hint: there shouldn’t.
One brand, one experience
Think about it: shouldn’t each and every stakeholder have the same experience when it comes to your brand? Because your brand is your identity, who you are, and that shouldn’t differ per different groups of people.
In times where trust towards companies is low and employee retention is maybe even lower, you need to focus on offering an optimal all-round experience.
Gartner describes this trend as unifying four disciplines: customer experience, user experience, employee experience and multiexperience, to interconnect and enhance them for a more holistic total experience.
And in order to do so, you’re going to need to become a true digital business. You need cross-hierarchical and cross-department collaboration (hey, we discussed this too!). You need information to be easily accessible (yep, mentioned it) and to flow freely through your organisation.
Trend 6: AI and the smart workspace
This last one suits nicely after several of the other points I mentioned before. Let’s list some important ones:
- People have a lot (a LOT) of information to process every day
- People have many different applications and information sources to work with
- Uniting apps and information in one place can help
- Manual processes are vulnerable to human error
- Automation supports people in completing tasks
What’s going to be really important and related to all of these points, is the smart workspace.
We’re in the cloud. So what now?
For years, the main hot topic has been the transition to the cloud (and if you’re still working on this, we can help! That’s kind of our thing).
The next step from this was to go from an application portal to a united workspace. As I mentioned, it’s important to unite your applications and information in one place and make them easily accessible. We’ve already been working hard on this for a while with Workspace 365, with for example Micro Apps and the Activity Feed.
Make it smart, so people don’t have to be
The next big thing I predict, is the step from a united cloud workspace, to a smart workspace. A workspace that, with the help of AI, can predict behaviour, help make decisions for you and show the right information at the right moment. For instance by only showing you the applications that are available on the device your on at that time.