Six Tech Trends that Will Impact the Future of Business

Which technologies and trends will have the most impact on business, society, and culture over the next two years?

This was the question posed during a recent Crenshaw webinar featuring Deloitte Consulting’s chief futurist, Mike Bechtel, and Chief Technology Officer for Government & Public Services, Scott Buchholz. Through Crenshaw’s partnership with Deloitte, we hosted Bechtel and Buchholz, coauthors of Deloitte Insights’ Tech Trends 2022, to summarize findings from their research.

We learned during this webinar about technology trends that are likely to go from nascent to scale over the next two years and how these trends may affect Crenshaw’s clients. A big-picture way to think about these trends is they are all about advancing and optimizing the enterprise.

Six specific trends are:

  1. Data sharing will become easier. Data is called the new oil, an asset with tremendous value. However, to date, data has been an “illiquid asset” that resides in various silos, but this is changing as data and databases move to the cloud. With data in the cloud, we are seeing an “internet of data” where the friction for sharing data within and between organizations is dramatically reduced.

    The other factor making data easier to share is a type of encryption allowing data from multiple sources to be married together to yield new insights, while still protecting the data. Essentially, organizations will be able to have their cake and eat it too by realizing the benefits of sharing data more easily without compromising the security of their sensitive data. This will give rise to new products, services, and business models.
  2. Cloud-based business process solutions will emerge for specific vertical industries. In the cloud’s early years, solutions were industry-agnostic, with broad appeal. For example, Salesforce offered a cloud-based customer relationship management solution for everyone.

    SaaS companies are now creating modularized, vertical-specific solutions. As Mike Bechtel said, “The big takeaway isn’t that cloud is here, or that business processes can be delivered better by somebody outside my organization, it’s that business processes in my sector—those that I decide aren’t the key to my business strategy—can too.”
  3. Blockchain is finally ready for business. Blockchain is not new; it has been discussed for the past decade with lots of pilots and proofs of concept. Now, in the past six to twelve months, the number of use cases involving blockchain has exploded, showing that blockchain is poised to be broadly adopted. Blockchains are becoming accepted as the repository for trust, with numerous applications across industries.
  4. The IT function is disrupting itself by automating at scale. For years, the IT function has been so focused on reinventing the business that IT hasn’t reinvented itself. The result, said Scott Buchholz, is that “most IT organizations today look a lot like the cobbler’s children that have no shoes . . . IT hasn’t taken the technologies it has used on behalf of the business and used them internally for IT.”

    In contrast to the internal IT function, external cloud providers have been nimble in reinventing technology, processes, and ways of working that use automation. Enterprise IT leaders are learning from cloud providers and are now disrupting how IT works.

  5. AI and ML are coming to cybersecurity. Most senior leaders know that the frequency, diversity, and sophistication of cyber threats continue to rise. Organizations are responding by throwing bodies at the problem. Current cybersecurity tools detect a problem and alert a human to act. But humans simply can’t react fast enough to keep pace with the threat environment.

    What will happen over the next few years is enterprises will use AI and will empower computers to automatically take protective actions at scale.
  6. Managing technology will increasingly be a physical responsibility. The number and use of smart devices are rapidly increasing. There are robots in restaurants and hospitals, drones doing inspections of farms and bridges, and a new generation of moving computers that interact with humans in increasingly sophisticated ways.

    These new fleets of smart devices must be managed, secured, connected to networks, maintained, and supported. People must be trained on how to work with these technologies and gain insights from them. These responsibilities will fall on the IT function that will require new skills.

These six trends are not futuristic science fiction or low-probability lottery tickets; they are real-world uses of technology that are already underway and are primed to have broad application in the near term. Now is the time to understand these technologies and their implications and to consider strategic investments. As Scott Buchholz said, “The investments of today are the tailwinds of tomorrow.”

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