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Monday, 31 January 2022 10:47

Six trends that will shape Australian businesses in 2022

By Pieter DeGunst, Tecala
 Pieter DeGunst, Managing Director, Tecala Pieter DeGunst, Managing Director, Tecala

GUEST OPINION by Pieter DeGunst, Managing Director, Tecala: After struggling through constant lockdowns and disruptions throughout 2021, Australian businesses
are determined 2022 will be a much better year. This year we‘ll see organisations moving towards living with COVID and forging ahead with their plans for growth.

In most cases, early in the new year is a good time to review the technologies and processes that were put in place when the pandemic first arrived. With many having been deployed in a very short space of time, it’s worth ensuring they are actually meeting ongoing business requirements.

Six key trends that will shape technology strategies during 2022 are:

  • The rise of intelligent business practices:
    Many businesses may be aware of the concept of process automation projects, however in 2022 they will realise the intrinsic business value of investing in automation capabilities. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has delivered some significant benefits, yet it’s reallyonly one component of what can be achieved.

          The concept of Intelligent Business Practices (IBP) will come to replace straight process automation, further boosting productivity and lowering operational costs. The             focus will be on identifying which processes are still holding an organisation back and how they can be streamlined and fully automated.

         To achieve this, it is important to examine more than just the RPA tools that might be used. Each business practice needs to be evaluated to ensure it is delivering the             most value in the most efficient way possible. Only then should it be automated.

  • Application integration will continue at speed:
    Within most businesses, there remain applications and data sets that operate as silos. Shifting information from one to another tends to require tedious manual steps that are time consuming and increase the chance of mistakes being made.

    During 2022, businesses will look to integrate these components to create a more cohesive and efficient infrastructure. For example, integration could allow data to readily flow from a CRM platform into a finance application while also being shared with an HR system. All this can occur in an automated fashion and without human intervention.
  • The creation of the data steward:
    Having access to consistent and reliable data has become a critical requirement in business. Having multiple sources stored in different locations can make it all but impossible to achieve the goal of having a ‘single version of the truth’ In 2022, growing numbers of businesses will create the role of a data steward whose job it is to ensure data is managed, stored, and provided in a consistent way.They will act as a gatekeeper who ensures that multiple versions of the same data are not created and everyone is working from the same set. As a result, consistency will be significantly improved and strategic decisions will be made on the most accurate and up-to-date data available.         
  • Adoption of AI and ML will accelerate:
    To date, much of the discussion around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) has tended to be hypothetical and future focused. People tend to talk more about whether the technology will replace humans in the future rather than what practical applications it has right now.

    During 2022, these conversations will change. The focus will shift to examining how the AI and ML tools already on the market can be put to use to add real business value.

    Examples include deploying bots that can automatically examine business contracts and alert staff to conditions that might require closer attention. Other tools will be able to automatically match incoming invoices with purchase orders and issue them for approval, significantly streamlining the accounts payable process.

    As the capabilities of AI and ML continue to evolve, expect to see more and more opportunities for their deployment.
  • Security will remain front and centre:
    Ongoing high-profile breaches has kept IT security a significant concern for all businesses, and this won’t change during 2022. With the threat landscape continuing to evolve, sufficient effort needs to be made to ensure infrastructures are as protected as possible.

    During the year, it will be worth undertaking a comprehensive review of all measures currently in place to confirm they are delivering the level of protection required. Security needs to be approached holistically rather than simply by investing in point solutions that try to prevent particular threats.

    Some businesses may also consider making use of a managed security services provider. These technology partners offer extensive security experience and can remove much of the complexity of managing measures internally.                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Work from home moves to work from wherever you are:
    The COVID pandemic served to normalise the concept of home working, and this will continue throughout 2022. Many businesses are planning right now what their hybrid model will look like, where staff spend some time in the office and the remainder at home. The important focus should be to ensure your team is productive and efficient no matter which location they are working from on a given day.

While 2021 was marked by uncertainty and disruption, 2022 is expected to be a much better time for Australian businesses. Through being aware of these trends, and taking them into account when formulating plans and strategies, businesses can be best placed to grow during the year ahead.

 

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