2022: A bluffers’ guide to what may happen in technology

It’s easy to predict the future at a time of flux in technology, geopolitics, climate crisis. It’s just that you’re likely to be wrong.

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Well, thanks for coming along to this Teams party. You’ll find drinks in the fridge if you bought some, maybe some crackers in the cupboard and, if you tell your kids to leave off Alexa/the Xbox/Spotify, you may even hear what I’m about to say…

It’s been the worst year since… ooh, 2020. Let’s face it, this was the year we were supposed to bounce back but we got the dead cat version of the bounce and maybe soon we won’t even have that. At least the bars are still open for the multi-vaxxed among us.

The funny (read: not funny) thing about 2020 was that tech firms showed they had hides of Teflon, continuing to roll in cash without even stepping into the daylight and meeting customers. ICT is the opposite of aviation where the old joke goes that if the Wright brothers had realised how hard it is to make money, they would have taken a bus rather than flown a plane. The ker-ching keeps on chinging, it seems.

But what of next year, because things can’t get any worse. Can they?

Transformation everywhere

Change is tough but reporting to the bankruptcy courts is no bed of roses either. If you’re working for a company that’s not believing in digital transformation, quit now. Don’t even get your hat from the peg or switch off your PC. Run!

Ever feel everyone’s out to get you? From the ‘China price’ to your entrepreneur kids trying to disintermediate you from their bedroom startup office, it’s a tough world out there so you have to throw everything at digitisation, automation, mobile, AI, UX, CX and EX. Think of it as business’s Hail Mary pass. What have you got to lose? Everything, of course but that all goes anyway if you don’t make the pass. There’s a chance of course that with so many digital transformation Hail Mary passes that your pass gets hit by a rival’s ball but… OK, enough.


It’s the ultimate refutation of the idea that tech moves fast. AI has been around longer than nearly all of us have bestrode the Earth but every dog has its day. For those that saw sluggish results, ran out of funds or didn’t have the people in 2020 and 2021, it’s time to go back in the river and, as a wise man said, the river is never the same. The toolkits, partners and know-how are out there. Still not keen? I refer you back to the previous section.

Look after your people

When you’re thinking in the team meeting about your biggest opportunities and challenges, look around the room (OK, screen). Here they are: your best chance of success but, unless you have a building with a running track on top, gourmet food, a beauty parlour, pet grooming, and child creche, there’s a good chance they are thinking about their next moves. If you want to keep them then show them some love. We can’t all be Google but we can all share a mission, a plan and a modest candy wall. In 2022, it’s going to be more important than ever to recruit and retain, so invest in the best HCM services and learn from the best in class.

Managing multiple clouds

More than 20 years after the c-word was invented we’re still nowhere near best practices on managing multiple cloud platforms. But people don’t want to be locked into a single platform even if that’s a convenient arrangement in many ways. It’s a decent bet that one of the next breakout hits in enterprise tech will offer a way to keep cloud options open and even offer the ability to switch and toggle workloads without onerous skills and management overhead penalties.

Schrems II

We included this last year but Max Schrems’s understandable concerns over data protection will probably bite in 2022. And we all know that means one thing: call the CIO.

Boing-boing: PCs bounce-back

Twenty years ago, even IBM, which invented them, was saying PCs were toast. To be fair, Big Blue backed that up by selling off its PC biz unit to China’s Lenovo in a move that would certainly have had future president Donald Trump frowning. The pandemic brought PCs back into the fold though. They’re the great all-rounder device. If there’s something in your head that you want to do, you can probably do it on a PC. Tablets are handy, smartphones are great but you need a keyboard when it’s time to work. And these days laptops are as cheap as the chips inside them.

Offices are refurbed

If you’re stuck with a long lease, it’s tough, but most progressive companies pursuing hybrid working will be looking at having a leaner workplace infrastructure in 2022. That means re-working spaces for collaboration, networking, hotdesking and, yes, fun while tapping the likes of WeWork for an overdrive capacity. Keeping people (and keeping them motivated) will require creative thinking and new workspace designs.

Hiring goes global

Freed of the shackles of mandating the daily commute, companies can get more creative about who they hire and what they require of those people. For the first time, you can find people from other cities and countries with something like impunity. There will be companies that effectively have no HQ at all and they will save a stack of cash in real estate and rents. How do you onboard., inspire and all that stuff? Well, that’s over to you…

Zoom goes out of the room

It’s pretty clear that Zoom is building a platform that takes the company well beyond the video conferencing world where it has taken leadership. Companies are going to have to place their bets though. Will they buy into a Zoom ecosystem or take advantage of their Microsoft licences and go with Teams?

5G and video

The absence of face-to-face contact has led to a tipping point for enterprise video consumption. Somewhere along the line we crossed the modern Rubicon where skulking on voice wasn’t deemed to be enough of a contribution to the debate. 5G and video go together like love and marriage, a horse and carriage, Mums and Mother’s Pride, eggs and bacon fried… Expect 5G to be rapidly deployed in businesses this year with smart companies proving unlimited tariffs to avoid billing uncertainty and expense claim admin hell.

And finally, the no-go list

As is traditional, which trends won’t fly? Well, AR and VR have been the new 3D printing: all mouth and no trousers. There’s lot of media chat but the money pit hasn’t led to much of corporate interest so far, and why will things change next year?

Happy Holidays everybody and good luck in the New Year.