Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end – but not the digital story.
This is an unfinished tale with no final chapter in sight, and I have to say, I’m hooked.
While the pandemic threw in an unexpected plot twist and the looming threat of recession has heightened apprehension and suspense, for digital, the only way is forward. And it’s fast-forward for consumers and businesses alike.
In our online lives, we can now experience, share, and do “everything everywhere all at once” (to borrow the title of Kwan’s and Sheinert’s hilarious 2022 movie). The popularity of non-linear video games and the slow decline of linear tv are just two examples of how non-linearity and fluidity are the defining characteristics of our modern-day existence. They’re also hallmarks of the latest approach to successful innovation.
I don’t believe in A-B transformation in digital – it’s now irrelevant and outdated.
The new standard is a continuous and simultaneous process of discovery, decision-making, and delivery that pushes your vision forward and reimagines your product, iteration by iteration. Trust me on this: In a world where the only constant is change, digital acceleration lets you thrive.
To get it right, you need design expertise, quality software, and user feedback, and fuelling this creative engine requires you to complete ongoing market research and stay on top of trends. So to help you become the hero in the next chapter of the digital story, here’s my take on the trends that will drive digital acceleration in 2023.
1. Harnessing the power of AI and automation
Given the current economic uncertainty, I expect business process effectiveness and cost reduction to top the agenda throughout 2023. Now more than ever, you need AI and automation to optimize efficiency, deliver analytics-driven savings, and accelerate growth.
I guarantee, leveraging AI and automation as a core part of your strategy will help you:
- Increase scalability. Bottlenecks caused by a lack of human resources throttle the scalability and growth of many businesses. AI and automation counter this by allowing you to scale up easily, especially if built on a virtual cloud infrastructure. Essentially, the more you automate, the greater the scalability. As a bonus, automation relieves people from repetitive and manual tasks to focus on more creative work, driving innovation and reducing churn and burnout.
- Drive operational efficiency. Augmenting human jobs with AI and automation can facilitate efficiency gains, improve productivity, and eliminate manual errors. Additionally, their reliance on process standardization and data consistency underpins continuous process improvement, which sits at the heart of digital acceleration.
- Enable effective problem-solving. When trained on high-quality data, AI can capture deeply hidden patterns, simulate and identify optimal solutions, and support specialists in arriving at data-backed decisions. What’s more, these insights can pave the way to innovative approaches.
At the same time, companies that neglect AI and automation risk falling behind. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 70% of respondents said their organizations were at least piloting automation technologies in one or more business units or functions, up from 57% in 2018.
2. Adopting low-code and no-code development
I’d argue that once you’ve addressed cost and business process optimization, the next priorities will be agility and efficiency. Low-code and no-code development tools were created for precisely this purpose, and their use is set to rise dramatically in the coming years.
No-code development platforms enable businesses to develop software and applications using WYSIWYG editors and drag-and-drop components. With no coding required, both developers and non-developers can design business processes and fully functioning workflow applications at scale, dramatically cutting the time and money spent on development.
Similarly, low-code solutions provide the same time, cost, and complexity reduction benefits but offer the ability to build more customizable apps with greater functionality. As a result, a growing number of companies are adopting low code development to accelerate innovation and enhance competitiveness.
Gartner predicts that more than 65% of apps will be developed using a low-code visual environment by 2024.
3. Optimizing digital work
Each year, the talent war intensifies, and in 2023, addressing it remains a top strategic priority for business leaders. In addition to a shortage of tech talent, the pandemic has caused many workers to reassess what they want out of their jobs – evidenced by the Great Resignation – placing even greater importance on remote working and the digital employee experience.
Digitally-driven companies are seen as more attractive among employees and candidates.
A strong value proposition in this area could give you a potential edge in the battle of recruitment and retention.
I know organizations are under great pressure to provide a digital suite that keeps pace with employee preferences and expectations, but investing in the infrastructure and processes to power efficient remote and hybrid work will pay off.
I believe that contemporary digital tools, paired with effective online team-building activities, will be essential in 2023.
4. Focusing more on cloud services
I’m sure I won’t surprise anyone when I say that cloud-based solutions and services will remain a key trend for digital acceleration in 2023 and beyond. Moving to the cloud offers a swathe of well-documented benefits, including lower costs, greater reliability, and enhanced security, but to realize the full value of digital acceleration, it’s your not-so-secret weapon.
Cloud services enable agility and a faster time-to-market by making resources available to your developers when you need them, allowing you to react swiftly to changes in the market and drive rapid experimentation. In the same way, they support innovation by offering services ranging from basic infrastructure capabilities to advanced functionality, such as quantum computing and natural-language processing. And efficient scalability lets you easily adapt to changing business needs.
5. Strengthening cybersecurity measures
Considering the risks linked to the current geopolitical situation and the fact that the average cost of a data breach in 2022 reached $4.35 million, I definitely see cybersecurity as a key concern for the coming year.
The volume of cyber attacks continued to rise globally between 2020 and 2021, with a triple-digit increase observed year on year.
There is no slowdown in sight. Threats range from malware and phishing to more sophisticated attacks such as denial-of-service and SQL injection, and high-profile cases continue to make headlines.
Most recently, Australian telecoms giant Optus suffered a massive data breach in which malicious actors exposed private data from 10 million accounts, causing immeasurable reputational damage and pressure on the company’s market share. Similarly, Revolut, Uber, and Samsung have all fallen foul of data breaches in 2022.
This growing number of incidents has led to increased scrutiny from governments, who have responded by introducing regulations and strengthening existing safeguards around technology, cybersecurity, and data privacy. GDPR, CCPA, and PSD2 are just the beginning of this road. For companies that are not yet fully engaged, the next round of regulations will certainly force an increased interest in cybersecurity.
Prioritizing digital acceleration is essential in building resilience
As we head into an uncertain future, I’m convinced that keeping technology at the center of your strategy is crucial. While it may be tempting to pull back on innovation in the short term, it’s a fundamental mistake as your competition likely won’t stand still.
Research from McKinsey reveals that in past crises, companies that prioritized innovation emerged stronger post-crisis, outperforming the market average by more than 30%.
So whether your goal is to grow and dominate the market or reduce costs and hold your ground, digital acceleration is the key.
Leveraging the five trends I’ve covered here will help you to make the greatest impact in your business in the coming year and ultimately thrive as the digital story continues to unfold.