Technology Focus in 2022

Technology Focus in 2022

As businesses move into the new year, they will continue to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. The focus will be on digitalization of work spaces and an effort to lower the costs of operations and labor. Effective data management and timely sourcing of data will also be top of the agenda for businesses. But the uncertainty still looms large, and many businesses are yet to recover from the economic stagnation over the past two years. The need of the hour for many is to rebuild their foundations to enable sustainable business operations for the long-term. That means making their processes, functions, and work methodologies agile, robust, and adaptable to changing business environments. Adaptability is the key to business progression and longevity in this fast-paced environment. And technology plays a big role in facilitating agile business. We have already witnessed this, these past couple of years — those businesses that quickly adopted advanced automation in the wake of the social restrictions to ensure continuity of their most critical processes fared well. Many companies invested in new automation technologies to enable work from anywhere, making it possible to continue operations rather than halt them altogether. These companies, it must be noted, also set the stage for what will be the ‘future of work’. A connected enterprise is a sustainable enterprise. Advanced automation has enabled business processes, systems, and functions to be better connected than ever before. Business continuity is assured when the workplace is connected — an invoice received by a company, when digitized and uploaded into an automation workflow, can be processed immediately, validated, verified, and sent for approval to the concerned manager, following which, the payments to the corresponding vendor can be made immediately. An intelligent automation system makes this possible. By providing a single platform, the intelligent automation system helps connect and implement all these jobs. Digitalization of jobs in this way enables companies to ‘work from anywhere’ and continue critical operations even in the midst of any disruptions.

True digital transformation begins with digitalization. While business applications like ERPs and other integrated work management suites have become a staple for many forward-looking companies, both large and small, many have discovered hidden potential in automation for those jobs that support the successful functioning of these ERPs. Document-dependent jobs like invoice processing, sales order processing, medical claims processing, mailroom operations, payroll, etc. are all operations that precede any business management in an ERP system. These jobs have been traditionally manual and paper-based. The past couple of years have seen businesses automate such routine, repetitive tasks that are mission critical to the optimal functioning of a business function in an ERP, with great success. With manual effort, there was always the delay in getting accurate data into an ERP system. Intelligent automation not only accelerates the entire process of getting data into an ERP system, but also bridges the gap in automation that traditionally lowered the rate at which connected processes and functions could be executed efficiently. There will be an increase in the adoption of technologies that facilitate simulation of real-world work scenarios, which will help predict risk and create more autonomous working models. We already see these kinds of technologies play out in the supply chain area, where embedded systems and warehouse bots will scan the factory floor and movement of goods, and send data back, which can be used to create more efficient supply chain management models. Additionally, many companies will focus on software that facilitates the emulation of jobs by robots, which will help replace the need for manual intervention for the more labor-intensive jobs. The adoption of futuristic technologies like smart sutures, tactile virtual reality, digital twins, etc. will not be immediate or evident for some time. Rather, companies will be more focused on those technologies that help develop a sustainable business.

Technology Focus in 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML): Artificial intelligence has done more to enable connected enterprises and is fast becoming a staple for many forward-looking companies. AI bots have replaced many labor-intensive jobs, taking over traditional manual labor in diverse sectors including supply chain, logistics, finance & accounting, insurance, manufacturing, human resources & payroll, banking, etc. This trend will continue as more advanced solutions with a combination of AI and machine learning come into the market. Machine learning elevates the application of software bots to a whole new level by enabling self-learning. Self-learning and near-autonomous working of software bots have become vital tools for many companies looking to lower the dependence and costs of manual labor. In a changing workplace, with a dynamic workforce, these technologies are going to find application in many of the routine, everyday office jobs.

No Code: No code has expanded the scope for digital transformation for many emerging businesses. This technology will be a leverage for business acceleration for many companies lacking the tools, resources, and knowledge for complex programming and writing detailed paragraphs of code, needed to build business applications. No code provides a user-friendly interface to build applications and develop complex programs to execute tasks, without the need for coding. Apart from adding to the diversification of users now capable of implementing various digital transformation initiatives, no code has literally opened up the scope and extent to which advanced automation can be applied to business processes. We will continue to see progress in the adoption of this technology in 2022.

Cloud: cloud is not a new-found technology but continues to make an impact in newer areas of business. Cloud based business solutions have lowered the need for physical workspaces and storage systems, and even the presence of personnel on site — allowing companies to get work done from anywhere. Remote working has been the number one factor for its exponential adoption over the past couple of years, and we do not see this trend slowing down anytime soon.

Embedded Systems: embedded technology and wearable devices will continue to infiltrate the technology sector. Markets and Markets, a research firm catering to B2B clients, predicts the embedded systems market will reach $116 B by 2025. Embedded systems are typically designed to perform specialized tasks, rather than general jobs, and often capture and send back realtime data from connected systems or IoT devices to a central monitoring station. These are often cyber-physical systems that will find great application in the healthcare and insurance sectors.

Data Capture & Data Analytics: data is everywhere, and data drives most business processes. It’s no surprise then that new technological advances will also see a spike in innovative data capture, analytics, and data management tools. From automation of complex document-dependent processes to the harnessing of data using embedded devices, data acquisition, validation, and management will be a big part of the ‘smart office’ in 2022.

As we ring out the old and ring in the new, investments in these digital transformation technologies will be our best bet at recovering from the stagnation of the past couple of years and accelerating business.

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