The report looks at four key areas, including everything from cloud computing to hybrid work environments.
Deloitte’s 2022 Technology Industry Outlook was released today, detailing the four areas expected to be most important from a technology perspective this year. Many of the aspects examined by the firm explore the workforce and how technological advances will change the way employees work.
Cloud computing enables everything-as-a-service
With the cloud quickly becoming the preferred platform for enabling everything-as-a-service (XaaS), many are finding it important to digital transformation and finding solutions when working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deloitte found in the report that many industries are shifting to a service-based IT process via the cloud with some utilizing a hybrid-, multicloud focus to optimize important aspects of a business, like costs and optimizing organizational structure and compliance. The XaaS model additionally looks at how revenue is identified and forecasts new potential revenue streams. With XaaS becoming key for certain industries during the pandemic and moving forward, technology companies need to find a way to expand while coordinating their cloud-based services and data from a single platform or dashboard.
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“Companies used to have to pay for these really expensive assets that depreciated and they used to have to understand how to run them, protect them, secure them and maintain them,” said Paul Silverglate, vice chairman and U.S. technology sector leader at Deloitte. “The as-a-service model has all of that co-sourced or outsourced to another person. We’re at a point with the cloud where that is now a trustworthy, reliable source that allows you to do this and enables so many other things to happen with 5G and things of that nature. When you can share information very quickly without latency, that allows so many different applications to happen.”
Security is also a major concern when working with cloud and multi-cloud setups, with application and infrastructure security ranking as some of the most important aspects of the new setup along with data management and availability. Risk management is also key in a multi-cloud environment, as service providers can supply customers with system and organization controls reports to help build risk assurance but the key to doing this lies in clarifying where network security responsibilities lie between the provider and user organizations.
Supply chain development
While supply chains were unsurprisingly interrupted, the chip shortage that has plagued users of PC’s, laptops, gaming systems, smartphones and data center infrastructure were the hardest hit by the pandemic when coupled with the issues stemming from shipment and order delays. Some laptops and PC’s saw lead times as long as 20 weeks, which was seven to ten times higher than pre-pandemic, while high-end smartphones ranged between four and eight weeks as of third quarter 2021.
“There is such a huge demand for semiconductor products in all kinds of things, like automotive applications and consumer applications in addition to tech applications,” Silverglate said. “The manufacturing of semiconductors happens all over the world in different places with geopolitical things going on. It’s really complex to understand where those elements are, then you throw in COVID disrupting different work environments and it creates really significant challenges with the supply chain.”
Deloitte does anticipate a bit of relief in that area later this year, but longer lead times may not have the supply chains fully untangled until some time in 2023. Now armed with two years of data on cause of these supply chain issues, tech companies should start preparing for certain contingencies, like another COVID-19 outbreak, as seen with the delta and omicron variants. Deloitte anticipates that companies will start integrating granular visibility across tiers along with incorporating advanced technologies such as 5G, robotic automation, blockchain and artificial intelligence to assist with supply chain issues that may arise in the future.
The hybrid workforce
Due to the pandemic, the way companies approached in-office work has changed, but so have employee expectations of their employers. With more experience utilizing a hybrid workforce, tech companies are expected to evolve their cultures, accelerate experimentation with collaboration solutions, and develop better approaches to managing tax implications. Hybrid work from remote and in-office perspectives have become necessary for businesses in the tech industry to survive and grow. Employees need to be able to work anywhere and anytime, while maintaining a collaborative, intuitive and accessible workplace environment. Tech companies are in the process of trying to balance that at-home working experience with the needs of the organization those employees are working for at the same time.
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Company culture was a large topic as well, with Deloitte noting that organizations are needing to quickly adapt to the needs of their employees from a collaborative perspective. Flexibility rules with in-office and work-from-home environments need to be clearly established, along with the ability to access the necessary tools for workers to be successful while also able to work together with their colleagues. Another major recommendation was that respecting employees and their individual sensitivities will allow workers to complete tasks in a timely manner while also allowing employees to feel safe in the workplace.
Sustainability in tech
Another area of concern relates to the reduction of carbon emissions and recognizing the threat of climate change. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte and mentioned in the report, eight out of 10 tech executives are concerned about climate change, and most of those surveyed agreed it was time to act. With the tech sector being responsible for 2% to 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the concern of sustainability becomes a factor to consider for tech companies with electronic waste. Deloitte added that it expects tech giants will continue to be top global buyers of renewable energy in 2022.
Some tech companies are already beginning to tackle the e-waste problem by using recycled materials in products, design changes to promote recyclability and easier repair to expand the lifespan of products. Deloitte said it expects tech companies to take several steps to reduce and mitigate the causes of climate change, like using satellites for environmental monitoring or using data analytics to decrease energy consumption in the production processes. The report said greater transparency is needed from within tech companies moving forward with regards to sustainability and that these companies will begin creating and implementing their own initiatives to reduce their carbon footprints.