Another year with the pandemic playing in the background. These are a few of my forecasts for what is likely to show up as trends across industries.
Acquisitions will stagnate
In 2021, global M&A activity reached new highs aided by low interest rates and high stock prices. In 2022, we will see that momentum shift. Larger acquisitions will be few and far between as company valuations continue to rise.
Only established, cash-rich companies will have the money required to make new purchases. The higher purchase threshold will make it harder for medium- and small-sized companies to grow and evolve, giving the advantage to larger, established firms.
A.I. and entry-level jobs
The talent shortage will leave many jobs unfilled, making way for the advancement of A.I. and automation to fill new roles. We have seen technology begin its takeover in the service industry with the introduction of robotic waiters during the pandemic.
In 2022, we will see A.I. and automation capable of filling positions in other hard-hit sectors like finance, healthcare, legal and software. These developments will mostly affect entry-level positions, making it harder for recent graduates entering the workforce to gain job experience in the future.
CI/CD will stabilize
The Bill Gates memo in 2001 became the industry standard in how to design, develop and deliver complex software systems – and today it feels like there has been no standard since then. IT teams and developers fell into habits of adopting “known” technology systems, and not standardizing in new spaces, like continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD).
In 2022, we’re going to see a shift towards more stability and standardization for CI/CD. IT leaders have an opportunity to capitalize on this high-growth and high-valuation market to increase deployment activity and solve the “day two operations problem.”
Tech labor market
The COVID-19 economy – and the subsequent Great Resignation – certainly made its mark in the tech industry. As we continue to see turnover and lower employee retention, tech salaries will begin to grow in 2022 to incentivize talent to stay.
I see this causing an interesting dynamic, presenting bigger challenges, especially to the folks in the startup and VC world. The bigger tech giants are the ones who can meet the high dollar demand and deliver benefits for a competitive workforce.
It will be interesting to see what this does for innovation, which tends to come from the hungry startups where people work for very little for a long time. We could very well see a resurgence of tech talent returning to the “old guard” companies to meet their needs for stable (and large) salaries, forgoing the competitive, hard-knocks of startups that could cause a skills and talent gap that lasts for years to come.
With increased focus on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulating data protection and privacy in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enhancing privacy rights and consumer protection for Californians, other states and countries are facing pressure to enact comprehensive data privacy legislation.
As this continues in 2022, I expect we’ll see much more focus on data sovereignty clouds to keep data within nations or within a certain physical location. This is a far more specified cloud model we’re starting to see in EMEA with Gaia-X.
Some will see this as an obstacle, but once implemented, this will be a good thing as it puts consumer privacy at the core of business strategy.
Containers will become mainstream
Businesses wrongly predicted that employees would return to the office, as normal, in 2021. Instead, remote working continued, and companies were forced to develop long-term remote working strategies to ensure efficiency, sustainability and to retain employees seeking flexibility.
This remote work strategy demanded cloud-based solutions, resulting in an explosion of cloud service adoption. To meet this moment, containers will become mainstream in 2022, making the generational shift to cloud much easier and more streamlined for organizations.