What 2022 Holds: A Do-From-Anywhere World Pushes the Limits

Technology continues to be more essential, more distributed, more hybrid and more multi-cloud than ever before. In 2022, IT hits new thresholds.

2021 proved that technology continues to be more essential, more distributed, more hybrid and more multi-cloud than ever before. In a do-from-anywhere world, IT spending continued to hit new thresholds and customers’ digital transformation journeys accelerated. In 2022, I believe we will see four themes fast-tracked and at the forefront of the CIOs agenda.

A data-centric culture

From our earliest civilizations, humanity has created cultures built on equal parts judgement (evaluating the available information) and intuition (taking your best guess). Now, with massive investments in intelligent, autonomous technology infrastructure, our world is increasingly data driven. Increasing amounts of data are produced, harnessed by AI and ML and autonomously used to improve functions and operations of every facet of our society. By 2025, Gartner expects that 70% of organizations will have operationalized AI architectures. We are at a tipping point, as our understanding of how to control data, protect data and unleash the power of data becomes culturally ingrained. Within organizations, a culture of data sharing, new behaviors and increasing data literacy will help us move beyond the “data paradox” and reimagine processes and outcomes. This is the Data Era, and we are evolving into a data-centric culture.

The multi-cloud future is now

The IT world understands the benefits of the cloud. But as cloud models mature, it isn’t public cloud or private cloud – it’s multi-cloud. Next year, more than 90% of enterprises are expected to deploy workloads on a mix of private clouds, public clouds, SaaS and existing infrastructure. The multi-cloud future is now, and the architects of data management, artificial intelligence and machine learning will depend on seamless access to multiple clouds. Those who can access multiple clouds, with the right workloads on each cloud, will have a strategic advantage. A consistent cloud experience wherever technology is deployed and developed – whether in data centers, in the public cloud, or at the edge- will be the strategic data control point for the multi-cloud world.

The great decentralization

The Age of Edge Computing is just beginning. And with the growth of the edge, the pendulum continues to swing towards a more distributed environment. We’ll have more data, more locations and more edge use cases than ever before – from rugged and remote locations to retail stores and factory floors. IDC expects the number of new operational processes deployed at the edge to grow from less than 20% today to 90% by 2024. Customers recognize the potential at the edge, but struggle to extract value as they face constraints in security, connectivity and cost. We will see massive investment and innovation in highly distributed, automated and intelligent technologies as edge platforms are rapidly developed and deployed.

From corporate statements to corporate impact

The pandemic brought us many things – challenges, changes and new innovations. Above all, it offered us opportunity to reflect. Our customers and employees have had the chance to think about what is most important to them and will expect company involvement and a collective approach to making an impact, even as they face challenges and headwinds to their businesses. In fact, 90% of companies on the S&P 500 index now publish a CSR report. This accelerates accountability for progress, as annual ESG targets and audited updates go from “nice-to-have” to an established best practice and a driver of company value. We will see a push in many areas – corporate sustainability, climate change, circular economy, working conditions, diversity and inclusion, meeting employee needs for workplace flexibility and more – as companies take action and stakeholders hold them accountable.

By now, we’ve learned that we can make educated guesses on what’s to come, but we certainly can’t expect anything. “Expect the unexpected” could still be a common motto in 2022. However, as with any new year, we have the opportunity to start with fresh optimism. And as a tech optimist myself, my judgement and intuition is telling me we have a lot to be hopeful for.

Jeff Clark

About the Author: Jeff Clarke

Jeff Clarke is vice chairman and co-chief operating officer for Dell Technologies responsible for running day-to-day business operations, shaping the company’s strategic agenda and setting priorities across the Dell Technologies executive leadership team. In partnership with Chuck Whitten, Jeff directs the Infrastructure Solutions Group and the Client Solutions Group, and manages Global Operations including manufacturing, procurement and supply chain. Jeff is also responsible for setting the long-term strategy and leads planning for emerging technology areas such as Cloud, Edge, Telecom and as-a-Service. Jeff joined Dell Technologies in 1987 as a quality engineer. Since then, his remit has grown to lead the company’s biggest transformations that resulted in Dell Technologies No.1 worldwide share positions in many of its core infrastructure and PC products. He’s also passionate about Dell’s social impact agenda and plays an active role in advancing Dell’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, employee resource groups and 2030 moonshot goals. Prior to joining Dell Technologies, Jeff served as a reliability and product engineer at Motorola, Inc. He serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Council for his alma mater, the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1986.