In January 2020, companies had plans, thoughtful road maps to guide organizations, technology and lives through the months to follow – up until COVID-19 punched the entire world in the mouth, rendering useless many of these best-laid plans. Seemingly overnight, a strange, historic event disrupted assumptions and forced us, with a shocking degree of urgency, to become more adaptable and responsive than we had thought possible. This is the 12th time that Deloitte Global has prepared an annual study on future technology trends.
The theme of Tech Trends 2021 is resilience. In the world of technology, this means a stubborn determination to adapt and thrive in the face of change. According to Deloitte’s study, the pandemic crisis has driven change in an important and unexpected way. A growing number of organizations across sectors are accelerating their digital transformation efforts not only to make their operations nimbler and more efficient but to respond to dramatic fluctuations in demand and customer expectation. It was not only the digital transformation that was speeded up but executive level planning discussions about the future of work also squeeze schedules from years into weeks.
Short-term forecast: what can 2021 and after bring in the world of technology?
Key findings of the Tech Trends 2021 study for the next 18-24 months are as follows:
– For enterprise technology, aligning corporate strategy with technology strategy. The future of critical core systems must be addressed, including cloud options for digital nonnatives. The so-called ‘low-code’ and ‘platform-first’ strategies to juice legacy assets. The planning of supply chain transformation is also of key importance.
– In the field of data, the industrialisation of artificial intelligence (AI) is the future, with machine learning operations (MLOps) solutions and, consequently, developing new approaches to managing data for machine, rather than human consumption. Emerging trends in cybersecurity is a key issue.
– For human and machine interaction, we look at emerging trends in the future of the workplace, digital experiences, and technology that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Long-term forecast: what’s ahead in the next decade?
Based on the technology trends of the past 12 years, development has three phases: the first phase in the 2010s enabled the development of phase two that appeared with its disruptive solutions at the beginning of the 2020s. The third phase is horizont next, the coming decade, shaped by the business and technology strategies of the future: ubiquitous interfaces, seamlessly integrated into the environment that anticipate and meet human needs. Exponential intelligence will be able to recognize and respond to human emotions and understand external environment to perform almost any task. Meanwhile, quantum harnesses the properties of subatomic particles to solve problems that are too complex for today’s supercomputers.
As human-technology engagement continues to increase, the end game is simplicity – transparent and natural interactions. As the ways that machines manage information evolve, the ultimate objective is omniscience – machines that combine insights and understanding to recognize not only correlation but causation. As computation abilities scale, the long-term goal is abundance – the limitless ability to work with, and gain benefits from, technology and information.
Finally, to scale sustainably, emerging technologies must rest on a solid foundation comprising the business of technology, the evolution of the IT function; trust, encompassing risks related to cyber, regulatory, and ethics; and core modernization, the organization’s approach to rejuvenating legacy core systems.
(Dániel Kiss is a Partner at Deloitte Technology Consulting Services in Hungary)
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