IT teams can be forgiven for feeling a little weary these days. With the constant drumbeat of digital transformation, the remote work scramble, multiplying cybersecurity threats, talent shortages, and supply chain disruptions, the last two years have been a virtual onslaught of one problem after another.
Technology continues its rapid advance, but as we move toward the potential wonders of ubiquitous computing, aka ubicomp, legacy infrastructures remain an obstacle to its full achievement. Even in a field accustomed to continuous innovation, tech professionals have encountered unprecedented challenges during recent “interesting times.”
And now, another pressing question: What’s next for IT in 2022?
Privacy and big data
Ubicomp is here. From a data perspective, integrating omnichannel information flow is high priority for 2022. Key to modernizing data architectures is a concept called data fabric, which is a new approach to data management. Not surprisingly, AI tools form the backbone of putting this idea into practice.
Data fabric is the next evolution that will blend all the legacy databases built for each use case. For example, imagine an overlying architecture that can bring together all the platforms currently at use in your enterprise:
- Document databases for end-user transactions.
- Graph databases for tracking relational data.
- Online analytical processing (OLAP) databases for data warehouses and analytics.
- Relational database management systems (RDBMSs) used for structured transactional data.
- Search engine and location-based databases.
Data fabric connects people, technology, and processes in an integrated web of ubicomp. The idea is to apply continuous analytics over all metadata assets to support actionable business decisions. It’s a reengineering of decision-making processes throughout the enterprise that makes all data relevant on the ground. With AI tools, a data fabric architecture can flag problems and provide insight before the impact is felt by a customer. This trend will accompany privacy-enhancing computation to add security to the processing of personal data by allowing actionable decision-making without compromising compliance.
Cloud-first is the new normal. Public clouds will continue to replace the local legacy data centers as a more agile, cost-effective approach in volatile markets. The cloud is no longer just for midlevel companies seeking scalability; it is evolving into the best choice for enterprises and government organizations. What will be interesting is the increasing democratization of tools, like blockchain, in this space. The back-seat driver of cloud adoption, of course, is the IT labor shortage affecting cybersecurity talent. The cloud, as many CIOs would argue, is safer than a legacy onsite data center.
Another trend for 2022 is that cloud will move to the edge. The latest data predicts by 2025, more than 50% of the information we process will occur outside the cloud or a legacy data center. Many trends are pushing us toward data nearer to the local customer, from internet of things (IoT) adoption to low latency requirements for gaming, regulatory data flags tied to geographic boundaries and even our dispersed workforce. With 5G and Web 3.0 deployed, edge computing will normalize this year. Watch for new partnerships to emerge between third-party vendors and enterprise organizations seeking a holistic solution for their dispersed work environments and architectures.
Get ready for hyperautomation, AI engineering toward autonomic systems, and generative AI. All of this is possible in a cloud-first world where machine learning is democratized. Automatic machine learning, or AutoML, will help organizations leverage these tools in ways that surpass human talent. Like the no-code/low-code trend, attempts to leverage machine intelligence to automate computing are aimed at enhancing human power. During this period, watch for early stage and narrow AI tools to expand toward mass adoption. While AI is still in its infancy, the next step is narrow AI, in which these tools move into noncritical enterprise functions, such as call centers, eCommerce, or IT infrastructures using robotics process automation.
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