Skill shortages, rising cyber threats, increasing regulation, cloud and AI will all be on the agenda in 2022
In 2022, the new hybrid way of working will continue and – although we all hoped that the COVID-19 hangover from 2020 might end during 2021 – we still find ourselves in the grips of the pandemic with the latest Omicron variant. This means we will continue to feel the impact on investment and business decisions going into 2022 as ‘COVID nervousness’ prevails. That said, all the technology initiatives that we thought were important 12 months ago are still just as important, if not more relevant today, to continue to develop a more digitised business ecosystem.
A backdrop of ever-growing and persistent cybersecurity threats
This new business ecosystem is emerging against a backdrop of ever-growing and persistent cybersecurity threats and the determination of cyber criminals to disrupt without conscience isn’t going away in 2022, therefore we will likely see renewed emphasis on security technology and related processes – particularly as part of supply chain due diligence.
The UN COP26 Summit held in the UK during the first two weeks of November has certainly brought climate change issues under the spotlight. The increased Government concern about the environment is refocussing us all on how to reduce the negative impacts our businesses have on the planet. Businesses must be seen to be taking positive action and customers are going to be adding more requirements on suppliers to have sustainability plans and targets. But there are positives to take from such initiatives as not only will they lead to environmental benefits, but there are also cost savings and reputational reasons for focusing more on sustainability goals. Additionally, we will see Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives as they apply to the use of IT become a major issue too.We will see Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives as they apply to the use of IT become a major issue too. Click To Tweet
Chip shortages are pushing organisations to the cloud
After nearly a two-year hiatus, backend infrastructure update projects will become key as IT teams aim to move forward with projects to maintain and update their environments. Companies will need to look back over the last 18-24 months to adopt upgrades and technologies they’ve missed or been unable to implement because of the pandemic. However, the scarcity of available hardware, due to the ongoing widely documented chip shortage will only add to the drive to move to the cloud. The chip shortage is affecting many aspects of technology from new cars to TVs to IT. The causes of the shortage include the increased demand driven by home working during the pandemic, the semiconductor factory fire in Japan, increased logistics costs and stockpiling by organisations. The time needed to bring production back up to the levels required may take us to the second half of 2022.
The pandemic has led to cloud providers pushing out a variety of user workstation solutions and again as the shortage of chips drives up the cost and limits the availability of hardware, so this leaves businesses struggling to find new systems to run the updated environment, so we will likely see more workstation virtualisation. That said, Microsoft Azure cloud technology has certainly matured and shown its worth throughout the pandemic and this technology is now ready to ease the burden of buying high-spec hardware for servers and desktops every few years.
An industry-wide shortage of IT talent
But as IT teams urgently aim to catch up, they are also facing an industry-wide shortage of talent. The IT skills and in particular cybersecurity skills gap is well-documented. The latest data from the 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study estimates that an additional 700,000 professionals have joined the cybersecurity sector, but that the gap between the number of additional professionals needed to adequately defend organisations and the number currently available stands at 2.7 million. This is clearly a huge gulf between the people available and the quantity that are needed.The cybersecurity skills gap currently stands at 2.7 million people. Click To Tweet
Automation and AI will replace many manual, repetitive tasks
Additionally, the stresses of the pandemic have prompted employees across all industries to re-evaluate their relationship with work and the IT sector is as susceptible as any other to key personnel deciding to choose another path. Demand for skilled staff is high and wages are increasing and, as the pandemic eases, this is unlikely to change. Companies will need to work hard to attract and keep good people, and it is going to take more than just incentives and salaries to achieve this. IT teams will want to work with the latest and most innovative technology for fear of going stale and businesses are going to need to invest both in technology and the people that maintain that technology.Consultancies such as Northdoor are standing by ready to provide skilled staff to customers that don’t have the depth or breadth of skilled team members to complete modernisation projects. Click To Tweet
Consultancies such as Northdoor are standing by ready to provide skilled staff to customers that don’t have the depth or breadth of skilled team members to complete modernisation projects. This will also lead to more automation to lift the burden of repetitive and mundane tasks from skilled employees and instead allow them to flex their talent in more interesting areas. Here we will see greater adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to replace these manual skills.
This is all set against a backdrop of new and increasing compliance regulations aimed at IT service provision. We may see some relaxation of regulations at a government level as we move away from EU rules that are seen as restrictive or onerous.
Pandemic uncertainty is hindering investment
Overall, the ongoing uncertainty the pandemic has caused is going to continue to have influence over the coming months and I don’t think anyone is brave enough today to predict an end. However, when life and work does return to a new pre-pandemic normal, we should hope to see a swift return to investment as businesses bounce back and invest to achieve leadership and competitive advantage.