The past year was filled with unprecedented disruptions that led many organizations to shift gears and take detours. The pandemic has changed the phrase “business as usual” forever. Achieving business excellence, implementing continuous improvement, and becoming more agile is possible only if enterprises notch up their cross-domain digitalization capabilities. IDC predicts that nearly $7 trillion in investments will be dedicated to the IT sector between 2019 and 2022, driving digitally enhanced offerings across industries. Digital transformation will also require businesses to embrace new risks with adaptability and a strategic technology outlook. According to PEX Network’s 2021 report, 73% of organizations believe that the pandemic has pushed them to accelerate transformation with all things digital. As a result, companies are formulating survival and sustainability plans around proven technologies that help navigate challenges in the new pandemic economy.

In this light, McKinsey’s unique methodology helps identify the ten most relevant tech trends for companies and executives to strengthen their capabilities. These will provide the competitive edge in amplifying venture investments, patent filings, and performance. Here’s an overview of the McKinsey Tech Trend Index.

Some of these technologies may not be leading-edge, but converging them with massively faster computation can propel new product and service functionalities for startling breakthroughs and reinventions in sectors like healthcare. This blog outlines how leveraging the top tech trends paves the way for rapid innovation and significant ROI through greater visibility on process performance, risks, and compliance. The tech trends driving disruptions can be segmented under technical maturity, industry impact, and momentum. “Technical Maturity” groups technologies based on three implementation stages: fundamental research, market entry, and industry adoption.“Industry Impact” defines the industries and the horizontals where these technologies are utilized. Finally, “Momentum” includes low, medium, and high growth levels for each tech trend over the past 3 years.

Mutually reinforcing these cross-industry or industry-agnostic technologies will position organizations on the fast track to exponential growth through the following transformational disruptions.

  1. Hyper-automation (RPA and IIoT) deploys self-learning and rapidly reconfigurable robots that drive efficiencies beyond routine processes to include less predictable ones and increase productivity with assured quality. Automation technologies will induce workforce and workplace reconfiguration where employees will need constant reskilling to work on mainstream and highly-specialized tasks alongside machines. McKinsey predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of work activities could be automated, which would spur effective changes to the business functions, labor costs, and public policy.
  2. Everything Virtualized (Digital Twins & 3D-4D Printing): It will dematerialize processes and apply advanced simulations to shorten development cycles for robust solutions. For example, visual simulations of optimized prototypes will help in design, integration, and product development. In addition, with virtualization, digital enterprise efforts will include strategizing operations in a simulated environment.
  3. Seamless Connectivity (5G and IoT): It will offer enhanced speed and network coverage in a location-agnostic manner. New business models for services like remote surgeries will emerge to offer exceptional customer experiences.
  4. Distributed Infrastructure (Cloud and EDGE Computing): It will ensure IT infrastructure and services ubiquity while reducing on-premise infrastructure costs. The democratization of infrastructure will enhance software and talent development. These technologies will enable ‘always on’ interaction on multiple devices and sensors to fuel real-time, on-demand, and anywhere/anytime data streaming with better compute/command/control.
  5. Next-generation Quantum computing will lead to new use cases such as molecule-level simulation. In addition, it will shape cross-industrial disruptions that lead to the hyper-personalization of products and services like in the areas of Cybersecurity and Autonomous Vehicles.
  6. Applied AI (Computer Vision, NLP, and Speech Technology) will equip customers for rapid development cycles and machine-assisted decision-making.
  7. Effortless Programming with Software 2.0, DataOps, and MLOps will reduce coding complexities while scaling data-driven software development.
  8. Trusted Architecture (Zero-trust security and Blockchain) removes process intermediaries where establishing mutual trust is crucial. As a result, it will help reduce infrastructure overheads, transform robust security frameworks/business models, and rethink regulatory oversight. In addition, the creative combinations of relevant tech trends, as demonstrated below, will lead to long-term digital transformation across industries.
  9. Automation and Productivity Transformations across value chains will materialize through next-level Process Automation, Distributed Infrastructure, High-speed Computing, Applied AI, and No-code Programming. For example, “Grid Sharing” creates a virtual power plant of thousands of EV batteries managed in the cloud with AI managing the power load.
  10. Hyper Connectivity and Applied AI are shaping the next-generation customer experience. Data blending from multiple sources is utilized in novel-risk scoring and claims processing, with chatbots handling customer acquisition. Digital retail stores combine data cloud connectivity with RFID and Data-Lake Analytics for replenishment and customer experience evaluation.
  11. RPA and AI-enablement fortify Product Research and Development in the digital simulation of molecular properties to formulate sustainable materials.
  12. New Business Models, Products, and Services leverage RPA, futuristic connectivity, and virtualization to help monitor, collect and relay real-time environmental and usage data for real-time continuous optimizations.

Evaluating Risks for the New Technology Horizon

Implementing ground-breaking technologies will require understanding and addressing these five risks to heighten strategic technology adoption initiatives.

  • Data ethics and regulatory compliance risks that surround the use of private consumer data foster data-driven decision-making.
  • For AI systems that self-learn and evolve, ethical and legal issues impede quicker adoption. Thus, business actions need to safeguard societal values with an enterprise-wide awareness of societal duty.
  • Robust process controls spanning monitoring, operationalizing data ethics, and risk mitigation may involve human biases that change the implementation equation.
  • Companies continuously face data compliance and user privacy violation risks when collecting customer data, thus requiring seamless and robust monitoring and transparent policies when reporting on non-compliance.
  • Customers want to know where their data goes, who sees it, and how they use it. Therefore, operationalizing solutions need continuous proactive legal advice and support to help organizations meet critical data/privacy/security obligations.

Technology Adoption Wishlist for 2022 and Beyond

The following technology trends will top the adoption wish list of growing enterprises for coming years.

  • Developed cross-domain and integrated solutions to provide hyper-intelligent automation across disparate data and spanning IoT, EDGE, and Cloud technologies.
  • No/low-code solutions for AI/ML, simulations, and scalable XR/MR for frictionless reuse across applications.
  • Auto-generation of advanced and accurate metadata with auto-correction capabilities will be crucial in supporting effective hyper-automation solutions.

Will your organization make most of these trends to achieve optimized performance, rapid innovation, and market leadership? Start by talking to one of Radiant Digital Ventures’ technology strategists today.