While the year is inevitably drawing to a close, it’s time to take a peek into Sofokus’ imaginary crystal ball and see what digital business trends 2022 brings us. We will also be summarizing the highlights of the past year and mentioning a few emerging phenomena that are still in no hurry to be adopted.

The past year was a breakthrough in two ways

“Next year it will happen”, has been said about digitalization for the last ten years. But now it has finally happened. Even those organizations who had, for one reason or another, put their digital projects on the back burner are now making a splash. Compulsion is the best muse. Today, we can say without reservation that digital has become a parlor trick at every table.

Another issue that had been predicted for several years – the global shortage of development resources – began to materialize in earnest this year. This change, too, was accelerated by a sudden pandemic-driven surge in enthusiasm for digital business, which resulted in the market sucking up all the free digital business developers. To be precise, the market overheated to the point where the leading recruitment strategy for many players was to “buy” developers from competitors.

Of course, other interesting things happened in the market, such as the consolidation of Product-Led Growth as one of the hailed go-to-market strategies in the SaaS industry. However, the accelerated increase in demand for digital services and the resulting shortage of talent affected virtually all organizations in one way or another. For example, many promising start-ups faced almost insurmountable difficulties in finding experienced developers to join their ranks. Similarly, we witnessed surprising career changes and respectable career leaps from junior to senior developers.

To sum up, 2021 was a little reminiscent of 2001, when the market sucked the school benches dry with its over-promises until the bursting of the IT bubble was followed by the cleaning up of several bankruptcies. The difference is, of course, that today’s talent (and those who want to be) are at best delivering significant and growing business value. Twenty years ago, digitalization was still in its infancy and digital investments were not yet delivering the same impact.

Digital Business Trends 2022 – Make your businesses more adaptable

More interesting than the past year is a look at the crystal ball. I picked out a few digital business trends 2022 that are particularly relevant for organizations planning to develop their capabilities in a meaningful way in the coming two years.

  • Citizen Developers. With too few senior developers in the world and a too slow of a pace of training new ones (compared to market needs), new approaches are direly needed. One growing trend is the development of tools that can be used by people other than experienced developers. This wave of so-called no-code and low-code developers is a hot trend, and several early-stage start-ups have already been sold to the big players in the industry. The bold are already predicting the end of the demand for software talent, but I prefer a more realistic world where new tools and environments bring together all levels and types of talent around the development of the same service.
  • Composable Business. Even if the pandemic had not struck, organizations would still have been under increasing pressure to adapt quickly enough to market changes. So-called micro-pivoting capabilities are beginning to appear on the Christmas wish list of more and more organizations. One solution to this challenge is the paradigm of the Composable Business, which does for traditional software development what electric cars did for internal combustion engines. Roughly summarized, the basic idea of Composable Business is to package business capabilities and connect them together through APIs. This creates core IT architectures that can be flexibly adapted to meet specific needs.
  • Vertical Cloud solutions. The cloud market is seeing a similar movement, where business capabilities are packaged to meet the needs of a particular vertical (business area). In verticals, cloud solutions are part of a new wave of development that avoids reinventing the wheel, accelerating business transformation capabilities and freeing up time for people to focus on what matters.
  • Ecosystems. The focus on ecosystems is a trend that has been going on for some years now and will be boosted in the coming year by the need for organizations to adapt more quickly. Composable Business and Vertical Cloud solutions are concrete models where ecosystem thinking is embedded: both rely heavily on API-first thinking and more efficient use of existing resources.

In summary, 2022 is the starting point for an era of digital adaptation. The non-technically savvy will be able to harness digital as an increasingly effective business development tool, and the pace of change in pioneering organizations will increase significantly.

Interesting, but in the department trend: “Don’t get too excited yet”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the trends that are currently on the rise. These are good to be aware of, but not necessarily worth investing in yet unless you have something more strategic and far-reaching in mind.

  • Metaverse. It is hoped that the move to Metaverse will be as big a leap as from analogue to digital. I am inclined to believe this prediction, as the concept of Metaverse bundles all experiments in augmented and virtual reality, further blurring the boundaries between the real and digital worlds. Moreover, the big players are currently racing to see who will own Metaverse. For example, the familiar remote tool Teams will be a very different experience in a few years’ time.
  • Web3. Web 3.0 is a vision of the future of the internet, where people interact on decentralized, almost anonymous platforms rather than depending on technology giants like Google and Facebook. So far, it is an ideology that is easy to want to believe in, but for which there is little evidence other than blockchain technologies and NFTs, which can be exploited without Web3.

My interpretation is that Metaverse and Web3 are like two horses in the same race. They both promise a future of the same kind, but the former front is pursuing its own commercial interests and the latter wants to take the Internet in a freer direction. Of course, both futures can also emerge side by side. In any case, it’s a long journey, so I recommend that you keep an eye on what’s going to happen to trends in the coming years.

Next year will also celebrate humanity

Amidst all the digitalization and streamlining, it is a relief to think that humanity is taking on a new value. “The reality is that organizations are automating soul-crushingly repetitive tasks, freeing humans to focus on more interesting, higher-value problems. If anything, humans are only becoming more precious to their employers,” says Deloitte on technology trends for 2022.

We also strongly believe that the true power of digital will only be achieved when bits and emotions shake hands. The harbingers of the New Normal will invest heavily in new models of organization and maintenance of the work-like balance. New technologies will unleash human innovation in a more inclusive way. The digitalization of business is becoming a more shared thing in organizations.

Thank you for 2021 and a peaceful Christmas season to all our readers!