As 2022 begins, it's normal to think about changes and trends. Technology moves fast, so change may seem inevitable. Gone are the days where your entire organization ran on a series of servers in a back room, with your entire IT department making changes directly in production. Now we have the cloud, CI/CD pipelines, red/green deployments, DevOps workflows, agile methods, SaaS services and all those new paradigms. Worse still, it seems like every few months there's new tools coming out to do each of these things in a slightly more efficient way, and of course your employees may be clamoring to get access to these latest tools. So what are the trends we'll see in 2022? What should you prepare for, and is there a good reason to embrace those trends?
There's an old saying of "don't fix what isn't broken" which basically means not to embrace change for change sake. The first thing to keep in mind is that a new trend, a new paradigm or tool, doesn't necessarily make sense for your particular situation. Changing how things are done in any organization introduces overhead. The bigger the company, the more overhead. You need to pay for the new application or service, deploy a proof of concept, spend time integrating it with your existing workflow, train employees with the new tool, and all of these things may take a significant amount of time and money. So if there isn't a clear, important value added, you may want to consider whether any new tool even makes sense at all.
That isn't to say you should resist all change. There's true benefit in embracing a modern workflow, but often it should be a decision taken after all the concerned actors get an input. The decision to introduce a new IT tool will likely greatly impact your IT staff, and possibly even other workers. They should therefore be involved from the very beginning to see whether it makes sense for them, and not be a managerial decision forced down from the top. Once you identify the right tool for the job, chances are the overhead of implementing this change will go a lot smoother.
The trends of 2022 will in many ways be a continuation of what we've seen in the last couple of years. This includes things like AI, big data, everything going to the cloud, automation, and so on. Many studies already show that big data has produced massive shifts to pretty much every industry, allowing companies to greatly refine their offerings based on a greater understanding of their clients behavior, and I think this will be something to keep a close eye on. AI is not new at all, but it's still a somewhat more niche technology that will continue to expand as it becomes easier to use with SaaS services. And of course new companies hardly even need a datacenter anymore, with the cloud being a fully mature platform to run your entire business.
But no such post would be complete without talking about what was all over the news this last December, and that's the metaverse. In truth, most organizations won't see any impact from the metaverse in 2022. That isn't to say it's something to completely dismiss either. The concept of the metaverse simply means the ability to live your life, or conduct activities, as an online avatar in a virtual world. This can take many different forms, from a massively multiplayer online game like World of Warcraft, to a virtual chat room like VR Chat, to the ability to have business meetings or play a round of golf virtually and everything in between. We're incredibly early days in the metaverse, and I don't think many companies are going to start outfitting their meeting rooms with expensive VR headsets. However, this will almost certainly become an extremely profitable field for the companies that are able to embrace it and bring breakthrough technologies that will make sense to users. Worth keeping an eye on it.