2022 saw big advances in AI so this is naturally a big focus for us in the Lab. And we can’t ignore the impact of an economic downturn, and the increased focus on environmental sustainability.
Prediction 1: The rise of AI tools will promise productivity gains, but will stall before realising them
Several AI tools attracted the attention of people outside the tech community in 2022. These tools have the potential to augment employees with AI, to boost their skills beyond their natural capabilities.
The most recognised examples include:
- The ability to ask questions to a chatbot – which has an enormous knowledge base and ability to keep the context of the conversation – using ChatGPT
- The ability to generate art based on a text description, using Dall-E, Stable Diffusion, or Midjourney.
- The ability to create code based on a text comment using GitHub Copilot.
Play with one of these tools for a while and you will see what the excitement is all about. In the Lab we have enjoyed generating art with varied success!
However, there are several issues to overcome before they are legitimate and truly useful workplace tools. The main issue is around the training material – both GitHub Copilot and Stable Diffusion are being sued over their misuse of input code and art respectively (since they haven’t got permission from the original creators to use their work in the training datasets). Another issue lies with ChatGPT, which confidently answers your questions with no reference or evidence. It has been known to give completely incorrect and nonsensical answers!
Watch this space – things look very exciting. We will certainly be keeping a close eye on how this area develops.
Prediction 2: Organisations will look to technology to help minimise the impact of the economic downturn
With the recession predicted to remain for the whole of 2023, organisations will be looking more than ever for cost savings and efficiencies. In this scenario, technology is often promoted as part of the solution, and for good reason. Process automation typically results in cost savings of over 40% (ref Forbes). And in one survey, 55% of organisations said that by moving to cloud computing their IT budgets were reduced by at least 30% (ref OpsRamp).
We believe organisations can be vulnerable to falling into the trap of thinking tech-first rather than problem-first. Taking a problem-first approach will lead to thinking about answering the important questions. For example: What skills do we need to understand this problem fully? What tried and tested solutions are available to us? How will we know when we’ve succeeded?
Once a business problem is identified, then solutions can be investigated. With a focus on efficiencies and cost savings in 2023, solutions will probably either involve automation and integrations, or will involve cleaning and making the most of an organisation’s data, or most likely a combination of the two.
Prediction 3: Sustainability will be high on the agenda for many organisations
The research we undertook in 2022 through customer interviews, showed that organisations are at different maturity levels regarding their sustainability knowledge and goals. Regardless of the maturity level though, all customers we spoke to had ongoing sustainability goals for their organisations to achieve and we believe that this will continue to expand.
The biggest challenge we found was collecting the relevant data to calculate and report on. Technology departments can help here with investigating ways to automate data collection if possible, or at least ensuring that data doesn’t need to be double-keyed or held in dozens of spreadsheets. The need for reporting on ESG (environmental, social and governance) activities and measures will only increase, eventually becoming regulatory, so we foresee an increase of interest and activity in this topic in 2023.
At the Gartner IT Symposium I attended in November 2022, technology was viewed as playing a key role in various automation and optimisation solutions. This will make systems more energy efficient, and therefore reduce emissions. The opening keynote highlighted that responsible investment is a key goal for many organisations, and that there is often what they termed a “2 for 1” opportunity available to support both sustainability and financial outcomes at the same time, something that will be valued in the current economic climate too.
What do you think?
We’d love to hear if any of our predictions are on your agenda for 2023 or, if not, what technologies you are thinking about for the coming year.
“How Much Is Intelligent Automation Saving You?”, Forbes
Five Trends Reveal The Emergence of Cloud-First Enterprises report, OpsRamp
SWZD The 2023 State of IT Report: https://swzd.com/resources/state-of-it/