Digital business trends 2023
11 Jan 2023 • Trends & Signals
At the turn of the year, it’s traditionally a good time to take a glimpse into the crystal ball. Let’s dive into the theme of digital business trends 2023, shall we?
2022 in a nutshell
The main theme of the 2022 predictions was the increasing pressure on businesses and other organisations to adapt to market and customer demands at an accelerating pace. I highlight the following observations from the past year in particular:
- The acceleration of digitalisation. It is tempting to summarise the whole year in this one point – so great was the growth in the importance of digitalisation and the acceleration in the development pace. In the post-pandemic era, we no longer have to wonder whether we can hold meetings remotely or whether customers want to be served digitally. While this is of course a combination of many factors (and trends), 2022 can be considered one of the most pivotal years for digital transformation to date.
- The post-digital era. From the perspective of companies under pressure to digitalise, the upside is that leveraging a wide range of new technologies reduces the pressure to reinvent the wheel. The stiff monoliths and the slow, build-from-scratch development are transforming digitalisation towards more composable, modular business solutions and digital platform-based developer environments that can also be operated in a low-code approach. This is the starting point for the digital development era of the 2020s. The era has many different names, such as the post-digital era or NeXT Commerce.
Digital business trends 2023
2023 is marked by a cross-pressure: the ever-faster changing digital needs vs. the need to economise due to the uncertain market situation. In other words, organisations should simultaneously save money and increase their digital maturity. This cross-pressure, combined with technological progress, will further accelerate the emergence of the new digital era mentioned above. This will lead to the several trends such as:
- Platform-as-a-Product (PaaP). You’ve probably heard of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, but what is PaaP? Platform-as-a-Product is a new way of packaging development tools into a digital platform that speeds up development. Such platforms save developers’ time and workload, and allow different types of developers to be involved. In the wake of PaaP comes a range of other trends, including Platform engineering.
- Industry Cloud Platform. Raise your hand if you’re tired of buying a new SaaS service for every single business need. A platform solution tailored to a specific business segment takes the development and deployment of cloud services to a more holistic level. The model makes use of Packaged Business Capabilities (PBCs) and can thus be seen as one of the concrete manifestations of composable business. The Industry Cloud Platform is also a more sophisticated version of the vertical cloud.
- Digital self-service channels. Digital self-service channels are nothing new under the sun, but they will find their way into smaller and smaller businesses. For example, research shows that 75% of Generation Z prefer to shop digitally. In practice, the digital self-service channel is a simple example of the pressure to increase digital transformation (or digital maturity). Customers do not want to wait until Monday morning to get their service needs addressed and prefer businesses that can respond to this demand. On the positive side, opening a digital self-service channel can now be very straightforward.
- The increase in high-speed connections. The rise of modern connectivity technologies (such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6) will facilitate the deployment of more complex services. Increased bandwidth will free up development resources from optimisation to creating something new, and lower the threshold for deploying a wider range of (heavier) platforms and tools.
- Popularisation of AI. The AI breakthrough has been predicted every year for several decades, but OpenAI and ChatGPT made it available to everyone in one fell swoop. It could be said that AI finally has an interface that everyone can use. Simply type a question and the machine will answer. It will be interesting to see how Google, for example, will react to the competition.
2023, the year of digital equality
As a result of the above mentioned trends, one of the great promises of 2023 is equality. In particular, it will improve the lives of these groups:
- Different developer roles will be able to contribute more equally to joint development projects as a result of composability, low-coding and a few other trends. Not everyone needs to be a senior-level software developer, for example, but UI designers and service design professionals can also play a greater role in building great digital products.
- SMEs and startups can access more holistic business digitalisation, beyond just websites and traditional e-commerce, with smaller investments. Thanks to this digital transformation equalisation, a company no longer needs to have corporation-level cash resources to increase its digital maturity.
Wishing you a more equal new year 2023!