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2022 Tech Trends

Enabling the digital economy and supporting the CEO for growth.

  • The post-pandemic workplace continues to shift and requires collaboration between remote workers and office workers.
  • Digital transformation has accelerated across every organization and CIOs must maneuver to keep pace.
  • Customer expectations have shifted, and spending habits are moving away from in-person activities to online.
  • IT must improve its maturity in key capabilities to maintain relevance in the organization.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Improve the capabilities that matter. Focus on IT capabilities that are most relevant to competing in the digital economy and will enable the CEO's mission for growth.
  • Assess how external environment presents opportunities or threats to your organization using a scenarios approach, then chart a plan.

Impact and Result

  • Use the data and analysis from Info-Tech's 2022 Tech Trends report to inform your digital strategic plan.
  • Discover the five trends shaping IT's path in 2022 and explore use cases for emerging technologies.
  • Hear directly from leading subject matter experts on each trend with featured episodes from our Tech Insights podcast.

2022 Tech Trends Research & Tools

1. 2022 Tech Trends Report – A deck that discusses five use cases that can improve on your organization’s ability to compete in the digital economy.

The post-pandemic pace of change continues to accelerate as the economic rapidly becomes more digital. To keep pace with shifting consumer expectations, CIOs must help the CEO compete in the digital economy by focusing on five key capabilities: innovation, human resources management, data architecture, security strategy, and business process controls and internal audit. Raising maturity in these capabilities will help CIOs deliver on opportunities to streamline back-office processes and develop new lines of revenue.

Use the data and analysis from Info-Tech's 2022 Tech Trends Report to inform your digital strategic plan. Hear directly from leading subject matter experts on each trend with featured episodes from our Tech Insights podcast.



2022 Tech Trends

Enabling the digital economy

Supporting the CEO for growth

The post-pandemic pace of change

The disruptions to the way we work caused by the pandemic haven’t bounced back to normal.

As part of its research process for the 2022 Tech Trends Report, Info-Tech Research Group conducted an open online survey among its membership and wider community of professionals. The survey was fielded from August 2021 through to September 2021, collecting 475 responses. We asked some of the same questions as last year’s survey so we can compare results as well as new questions to explore new trends.

How much do you expect your organization to change permanently compared to how it was operating before the pandemic?

  • 7% – No change. We'll keep doing business as we always have.
  • 33% – A bit of change. Some ways of working will shift long term
  • 47% – A lot of change. The way we work will be differ in many ways long term. But our business remains...
  • 13% – Transformative change. Our fundamental business will be different and we'll be working in new ways.

This year, about half of IT professionals expect a lot of change to the way we work and 13% expect a transformative change with a fundamental shift in their business. Last year, the same percentage expected a lot of change and only 10% expected transformative change.

30% more professionals expect transformative permanent change compared to one year ago.

47% of professionals expect a lot of permanent change; this remains the same as last year. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

The pandemic accelerated the speed of digital transformation

With the massive disruption preventing people from gathering, businesses shifted to digital interactions with customers.

A visualization of the growth of 'Global average share of customer interactions that are digital' from December 2019 to July 2020. In that time it went from 36% to 58% with an 'Acceleration of 3 years'.

Companies also accelerated the pace of creating digital or digitally enhanced products and services.

A visualization of the growth of 'Global average share of partially or fully digitized products and/or services' from December 2019 to July 2020. In that time it went from 35% to 55% with an 'Acceleration of 7 years'. (McKinsey, 2020)

“The Digital Economy incorporates all economic activity reliant on or significantly enhanced by the use of digital inputs, including digital technologies, digital infrastructure, digital services and data.” (OECD Definition)

IT must enable participation in the digital economy

Consumer spending is tilting more digital.

Consumers have cut back spending on sectors where purchases are mostly made offline. That spending has shifted to digital services and online purchases. New habits formed during the pandemic are likely to stick for many consumers, with a continued shift to online consumption for many sectors.

Purchases on online platforms are projected to rise from 10% today to 33% by 2030.

Estimated online share of consumption
Recreation & culture 30%
Restaurants & hotels 50%
Transport 10%
Communications 90%
Education 50%
Health 20%
Housing & utilities 50%
(HSBC, 2020)

Changing customer expectations pose a risk.

IT practitioners agree that customer expectations are changing. They expect this to be more likely to disrupt their business in the next 12 months than new competition, cybersecurity incidents, or government-enacted policy changes.

Factors likely to disrupt business in next 12 months
Government-enacted policy changes 22%
Cybersecurity incidents 56%
Regulatory changes 45%
Established competitor wins 26%
New player enters the market 23%
Changing customer expectations 68%
(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

This poses a challenge to IT departments below the “expand” level of maturity

CIOs must climb the maturity ladder to help CEOs drive growth.

Most IT departments rated their maturity in the “optimize” or “support” level on Info-Tech’s maturity ladder.

CIOs at the “optimize” level can play a role in digital transformation by improving back-office processes but should aim for a higher mandate.

CIOs achieving at the “expand” level can help directly improve revenues by improving customer-facing products and services, and those at the “transform” level can help fundamentally change the business to create revenue in new ways. CIOs can climb the maturity ladder by enabling new digital capabilities.

Maturity is heading in the wrong direction.

Only half of IT practitioners described their department’s maturity as “transform” compared to last year’s survey, and more than twice the number rated themselves as “struggle.”

A colorful visualization of the IT 'Maturity Ladder' detailing levels of IT function within an organization. Percentages represent answers from IT practitioners to an Info-Tech survey about the maturity level of their company. Starting from the bottom: 13% answered 'Struggle', compared to 6% in 2020; 35% answered 'Support'; 37% answered 'Optimize'; 12% answered 'Expand'; and only 3% answered 'Transform', compared to 6% in 2020.

48% rate their IT departments as low maturity.

Improve maturity by focusing on key capabilities to compete in the digital economy

Capabilities to unlock digital

Innovation: Identify innovation opportunities and plan how to use technology innovation to create a competitive advantage or achieve improved operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Human Resources Management: Provide a structured approach to ensure optimal planning, evaluation, and development of human resources.

Data Architecture: Manage the business’ data stores, including technology, governance, and people that manage them. Establish guidelines for the effective use of data.

Security Strategy: Define, operate, and monitor a system for information security management. Keep the impact and occurrence of information security incidents within risk appetite levels.

Business Process Controls and Internal Audit: Manage business process controls such as self-assessments and independent assurance reviews to ensure information related to and used by business processes meets security and integrity requirements. (ISACA, 2020)

A periodic table-esque arrangement of Info-Tech tools and templates titled 'IT Management and Governance Framework', subtitled 'A comprehensive and connected set of research to help you optimize and improve your core IT processes', and anchored by logos for Info-Tech and COBIT. Color-coded sections with highlighted tools or templates are: 'Strategy and Governance' with 'APO04 Innovation' highlighted; 'People and Resources' with 'APO07 Human Resources Management' highlighted; 'Security and Risk' with 'APO13 Security Strategy' and 'DSS06 MEA02 Business Process Controls and Internal Audit' highlighted; 'Data and BI' with 'ITRG07 Data Architecture' highlighted. Other sections are 'Financial Management', 'Service planning and architecture', 'Infrastructure and operations', 'Apps', and 'PPM and projects'.

5 Tech Trends for 2022

In this report, we explore five use cases for emerging technology that can improve on capabilities needed to compete in the digital economy. Use cases combine emerging technologies with new processes and strategic planning.

DIGITAL ECONOMY

TREND 01 | Human Resources Management

HYBRID COLLABORATION
Provide a digital employee experience that is flexible, contextual, and free from the friction of hybrid operating models.

TREND 02 | Security Strategy

BATTLE AGAINST RANSOMWARE
Prevent ransomware infections and create a response plan for a worst-case scenario. Collaborate with relevant external partners to access resources and mitigate risks.

TREND 03 | Business Process Controls and Internal Audit

CARBON METRICS IN ENERGY 4.0
Use internet of things (IoT) and auditable tracking to provide insight into business process implications for greenhouse gas emissions.

TREND 04 | Data Architecture

INTANGIBLE VALUE CREATION
Provide governance around digital marketplace and manage implications of digital currency. Use blockchain technology to turn unique intellectual property into saleable digital products

TREND 05 | Innovation

AUTOMATION AS A SERVICE
Automate business processes and access new sophisticated technology services through platform integration.

Hybrid Collaboration

TREND 01 | HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Provide a digital employee experience that is flexible, contextual, and free from the friction of hybrid operating models.

Emerging technologies:
Intelligent conference rooms; intelligent workflows, platforms

Introduction

Hybrid work models enable productive, diverse, and inclusive talent ecosystems necessary for the digital economy.

Hybrid work models have become the default post-pandemic work approach as most knowledge workers prefer the flexibility to choose whether to work remotely or come into the office. CIOs have an opportunity lead hybrid work by facilitating collaboration between employees mixed between meeting at the office and virtually.

IT departments rose to the challenge to quickly facilitate an all-remote work scenario for their organizations at the outset of the pandemic. Now they must adapt again to facilitate the hybrid work model, which brings new friction to collaboration but also new opportunities to hire a talented, engaged, and diverse workforce.

79% of organizations will have a mix of workers in the office and at home. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

35% view role type as a determining factor in the feasibility of the hybrid work model.

Return-to-the-office tensions

Only 18% of employees want to return to the office full-time.

But 70% of employers want people back in the office. (CNBC, April 2021)

Signals

IT delivers the systems needed to make the hybrid operating model a success.

IT has an opportunity to lead by defining the hybrid operating model through technology that enables collaboration. To foster collaboration, companies plan to invest in the same sort of tools that helped them cope during the pandemic.

As 79% of organizations envision a hybrid model going forward, investments into hybrid work tech stacks – including web conferencing tools, document collaboration tools, and team workspaces – are expected to continue into 2022.

Plans for future investment in collaboration technologies

Web Conferencing 41%
Document Collaboration and Co-Authoring 39%
Team Workspaces 38%
Instant Messaging 37%
Project and Task Management Tools 36%
Office Meeting Room Solutions 35%
Virtual Whiteboarding 30%
Intranet Sites 21%
Enterprise Social Networking 19%
(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Drivers

COVID-19

Vaccination rates around the world are rising and allowing more offices to welcome back workers because the risk of COVID-19 transmission is reduced and jurisdictions are lifting restrictions limiting gatherings.

Worker satisfaction

Most workers don't want to go to the office full-time. In a Bloomberg poll (2021), almost half of millennial and Gen Z workers say they would quit their job if not given an option to work remotely.

IT spending

Companies are investing more into IT budgets to find ways to support a mix of remote work and in-office resources to cope with work disruption. This extra spending is offset in some cases by companies saving money from having employees work from home some portion of the time. (CIO Dive, 2021)

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Flexibility Employees able to choose between working from home and working in the office have more control over their work/life balance.
Intelligence Platforms that track contextual work relationships can accelerate workflows through smart recommendations that connect people at the right time, in the right place.
Talent Flexible work arrangements provide businesses with access to the best talent available around the world and employees with more career options as they work from a home office (The Official Microsoft Blog, 2021).

Risks

Uncertainty The pandemic lacks a clear finish line and local health regulations can still waver between strict control of movement and open movement. There are no clear assurances of what to expect for how we'll work in the near future.
FOMO With some employees going back to the office while others remain at home, employee bases could be fractured along the lines of those seeing each other in person every day and those still connecting by videoconference.
Complexity Workers may not know in advance whether they're meeting certain people in person or online, or a mix of the two. They'll have to use technology on the fly to try and collaborate across a mixed group of people in the office and people working remotely (McKinsey Quarterly, 2021).

“We have to be careful what we automate. Do we want to automate waste? If a company is accustomed to having a ton of meetings and their mode in the new world is to move that online, what are you going to do? You're going to end up with a lot of fatigue and disenchantment…. You have to rethink your methods before you think about the automation part of it." (Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer, Zoho)

Photo of Vijay Sundaram, Chief strategy officer, Zoho.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: Unique approach to hybrid collaboration

Case Study: Zoho

Situation

Zoho Corp. is a cloud software firm based in Chennai, India. It develops a wide range of cloud software, including enterprise collaboration software and productivity tools. Over the past decade, Zoho has used flexible work models to grant remote work options to some employees.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, not only did the office have to shut down but also many employees had to relocate back with families in rural areas. The human costs of the pandemic experienced by staff required Zoho to respond by offering counseling services and material support to employees.

Complication

Zoho prides itself as an employee-centric company and views its culture as a community that's purpose goes beyond work. That sense of community was lost because of the disruption caused by the pandemic. Employees lost their social context and their work role models. Zoho had to find a way to recreate that without the central hub of the office or find a way to work with the limitations of it not being possible.

Resolution

To support employees in rural settings, Zoho sent out phones to provide redundant bandwidth. As lockdowns in India end, Zoho is taking a flexible approach and giving employees the option to come to the office. It's seeing more people come back each week, drawn by the strong community.

Zoho supports the hybrid mix of workers by balancing synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. It holds meetings when absolutely necessary through tools like Zoho Meet but tries to keep more work context to asynchronous collaboration that allows people to complete tasks quickly and move on. Its applications are connected to a common platform that is designed to facilitate workflows between employees with context and intelligence. (Interview with Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer, Zoho)

“We tend to think of it on a continuum of synchronous to asynchronous work collaboration. It’s become the paramount norm for so many different reasons…the point is people are going to work at different times in different locations. So how do we enable experiences where everyone can participate?" (Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft)

Photo of Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: Microsoft on the ‘paradox of hybrid work’

Case Study: Microsoft

Situation

Before the pandemic, only 18% of Microsoft employees were working remotely. As of April 1, 2020, they were joined by the other 82% of non-essential workers at the company in working remotely.

As with its own customers, Microsoft used its own software to enable this new work experience, including Microsoft Teams for web conferencing and instant messaging and Office 365 for document collaboration. Employees proved just as productive getting their work done from home as they were working in the office.

Complication

At Microsoft, the effects of firm-wide remote work changed the collaboration patterns of the company. Even though a portion of the company was working remotely before the pandemic, the effects of everyone working remotely were different. Employees collaborated in a more static and siloed way, focusing on scheduled meetings with existing relationships. Fewer connections were made with more disparate parts of the organization. There was also a decrease in synchronous communication and an increase in asynchronous communication.

Resolution

Microsoft is creating new tools to break down the silos in organizations that are grappling with hybrid work challenges. For example, Viva Insights is designed to inform workers about their collaboration habits with analytics. Microsoft wants to provide workers with insights on their collaborative networks and whether they are creating new connections or deepening existing connections. (Interview with Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group, Microsoft; Nature Human Behaviour, 2021)

What's Next?

Distributed collaboration space:

International Workplace Group says that more companies are taking advantage of its full network deals on coworking spaces. Companies such as Standard Charter are looking to provide their workers with a happy compromise between working from home and making the commute all the way to the central office. The hub-and-spoke model gives employees the opportunity to work near home and looks to be part of the hybrid operating model mix for many companies. (Interview with Wayne Berger, CEO of IWG Canada & Latin America)

Optimized hybrid meetings:

Facilitating hybrid meetings between employees grouped in the office and remote workers will be a major pain point. New hybrid meeting solutions will provide cameras embedded with intelligence to put boardroom participants into independent video streams. They will also focus on making connecting to the same meeting from various locations as convenient as possible and capture clear and crisp audio from each speaker.

Uncertainties

Mix between office and remote work:

It's clear we're not going to work the way we used to previously with central work hubs, but full-on remote work isn't the right path forward either. A new hybrid work model is emerging, and organizations are experimenting to find the right approach.

Attrition:

Between April and September 2021, 15 million US workers quit their jobs, setting a record pace. Employees seek a renewed sense of purpose in their work, and many won’t accept mandates to go back to the office. (McKinsey, 2021)

Equal footing in meetings:

What are the new best practices for conducting an effective meeting between employees in the office and those who are remote? Some companies ask each employee to connect via a laptop. Others are using conference rooms with tech to group in-office workers together and connect them with remote workers.

Hybrid Collaboration Scenarios

Organizations can plan their response to the hybrid work context by plotting their circumstances across two continuums: synchronous to asynchronous collaboration approach and remote work to central hub work model.

A map of hybrid collaboration scenarios with two axes representing 'Work Context, From all remote work to gathering in a central hub' and 'Collaboration Style, From collaborating at the same time to collaborating at different times'. The axes split the map into quarters. 'Work Context' ranges from 'Remote Work' on the left to 'Central Hub' on the right. 'Collaboration Style' ranges from 'Synchronous' on top to 'Asynchronous' on bottom. The top left quarter, synchronous remote work, reads 'Virtual collective collaboration via videoconference and collaboration software, with some workers meeting in coworking spaces.' The top right quarter, synchronous central hub, reads 'In-person collective collaboration in the office.' The bottom left quarter, asynchronous remote work, reads 'Virtual group collaboration via project tracking tools and shared documents.' The bottom right quarter, asynchronous central hub, reads 'In-person group collaboration in coworking spaces and the main office.'

Recommendations

Rethink technology solutions. Don't expect your pre-pandemic videoconference rooms to suffice. And consider how to optimize your facilities and infrastructure for hot-desking scenarios.

Optimize remote work. Shift from the collaboration approach you put together just to get by to the program you'll use to maximize flexibility.

Enable effective collaboration. Enable knowledge sharing no matter where and when your employees work and choose the best collaboration software solutions for your scenario.

Run better meetings. Successful hybrid workplace plans must include planning around hybrid meetings. Seamless hybrid meetings are the result of thoughtful planning and documented best practices.

89% of organizations invested in web conferencing technology to facilitate better collaboration, but only 43% invested in office meeting room solutions. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Info-Tech Resources

Battle Against Ransomware

TREND 02 | SECURITY STRATEGY

Prevent ransomware infections and create a response plan for a worst-case scenario. Collaborate with relevant external partners to access resources and mitigate risks.

Emerging technologies:
Open source intelligence; AI-powered threat detection

“It has been a national crisis for some time…. For every [breach] that hits the news there are hundreds that never make it.” (Steve Orrin, Federal Chief Technology Officer, Intel)

Photo of Steve Orrin, Federal Chief Technology Officer, Intel.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: Ransomware crisis and AI in military

Introduction

Between 2019 and 2020, ransomware attacks rose by 62% worldwide and by 158% in North America. (PBS NewsHour, 2021)

Security strategies are crucial for companies to control access to their digital assets and confidential data, providing it only to the right people at the right time. Now security strategies must adapt to a new caliber of threat in ransomware to avoid operational disruption and reputational damage.

In 2021, ransomware attacks exploiting flaws in widely used software from vendors Kaseya, SolarWinds, and Microsoft affected many companies and saw record-breaking ransomware payments made to state-sponsored cybercriminal groups.

After a ransomware attack caused Colonial Pipeline to shut down its pipeline operations across the US, the ransomware issue became a topic of federal attention with executives brought before Senate committees. A presidential task force to combat ransomware was formed.

62% of IT professionals say they are more concerned about being a victim of ransomware than they were one year ago. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

$70 million demanded by REvil gang in ransom to unlock firms affected by the Kaseya breach. (TechRadar, 2021)

Signals

Organizations are taking a multi-faceted approach to preparing for the event of a ransomware breach.

The most popular methods to prepare for ransomware are to buy an insurance policy or create offline backups and redundant systems. Few are making an effort to be aware of free decryption tools, and only 2% admit to budgeting to pay ransoms.

44% of IT professionals say they spent time and money specifically to prevent ransomware over the past year. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Approaches to prepare for ransomware

Kept aware of free decryption tools available 9%
Set aside budget to pay ransoms 2%
Designed network to contain ransomware 24%
Implemented technology to eradicate ransomware 36%
Created a specific incident response plan for ransomware 26%
Created offline backups and redundant systems 41%
Purchased insurance covering cyberattacks 47%

(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Drivers

National security concerns

Attacks on US infrastructure and government agencies have prompted the White House to treat ransomware as a matter of national security. The government stance is that Russia supports the attacks. The US is establishing new mechanisms to address the threat. Plans include new funding to support ransomware response, a mandate for organizations to report incidents, and requirements for organizations to consider the alternatives before paying a ransom. (Institute for Security and Technology, 2021)

Advice from cybersecurity insurance providers

Increases in ransom payouts have caused cybersecurity insurance providers to raise premiums and put in place more security requirements for policyholders to try and prevent ransomware infection. However, when clients are hit with ransomware, insurance providers advise to pay the ransom as it's usually the cheapest option. (ProPublica, 2019)

Reputational damage

Ransomware attacks also often include a data breach event with hackers exfiltrating the data before encrypting it. Admitting a breach to customers can seriously damage an organization's reputation as trustworthy. Organizations may also be obligated to pay for credit protection of their customers. (Interview with Frank Trovato, Research Director – Infrastructure, Info-Tech Research Group)

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Privacy Protecting personal data from theft improves people’s confidence that their privacy is being respected and they are not at risk of identity theft.
Productivity Ransomware can lock out employees from critical work systems and stop them from being able to complete their tasks.
Access Ransomware has prevented public access to transportation, healthcare, and any number of consumer services for days at a time. Ransomware prevention ensures public service continuity.

Risks

Expenses Investing in cybersecurity measures to protect against attacks is becoming more expensive, and recently cybersecurity insurance premiums have gone up in response to expensive ransoms.
Friction More security requirements could create friction between IT priorities and business priorities in trying to get work done.
Stability If ransomware attacks become worse or cybercriminals retaliate for not receiving payments, people could find their interactions with government services and commercial services are disrupted.

Case Study: Victim to ransomware

Situation

In February 2020, a large organization found a ransomware note on an admin’s workstation. They had downloaded a local copy of the organization’s identity management database for testing and left a port open on their workstation. Hackers exfiltrated it and encrypted the data on the workstation. They demanded a ransom payment to decrypt the data.

Complication

Because private information of employees and customers was breached, the organization decided to voluntarily inform the state-level regulator. With 250,000 accounts affected, plans were made to require password changes en masse. A public announcement was made two days after the breach to ensure that everyone affected could be reached.

The organization decided not to pay the ransom because it didn’t need the data back, since it had a copy on an unaffected server.

Resolution

After a one-day news cycle for the breach, the story about the ransom was over. The organization also received praise for handling the situation well and quickly informing stakeholders.

The breach motivated the organization to put more protections in place. It implemented a deny-by-default network and turned off remote desktop protocol and secure shell. It mandated multi-factor authentication and put in a new endpoint-detection and response system. (Interview with CIO of large enterprise)

What's Next

AI for cybersecurity:

New endpoint protections using AI are being deployed to help defend against ransomware and other cybersecurity intrusions. The solutions focus on the prevention and detection of ransomware by learning about the expected behavior of an environment and then detecting anomalies that could be attack attempts. This type of approach can be applied to everything from reading the contents of an email to helping employees detect phishing attempts to lightweight endpoint protection deployed to an Internet of Things device to detect an unusual connection attempt.

Unfortunately, AI is a tool available to both the cybersecurity industry and hackers. Examples of hackers tampering with cybersecurity AI to bypass it have already surfaced. (Forbes, 23 Sept. 2021)

Uncertainties

Government response:

In the US, the Ransomware Task Force has made recommendations to the government but it's not clear whether all of them will be followed. Other countries such as Russia are reported to be at least tolerating ransomware operations if not supporting them directly with resources.

Supply chain security:

Sophisticated attacks using zero-day exploits in widely used software show that organizations simply can't account for every potential vulnerability.

Arms escalation:

The ransomware-as-a-service industry is doing good business and finding new ways to evade detection by cybersecurity vendors. New detection techniques involving AI are being introduced by vendors, but will it just be another step in the back-and-forth game of one-upmanship? (Interview with Frank Trovato)

Battle Against Ransomware Scenarios

Determine your organization’s threat profile for ransomware by plotting two variables: the investment made in cybersecurity and the sophistication level of attacks that you should be prepared to guard against.

A map of Battle Against Ransomware scenarios with two axes representing 'Attack Sophistication, From off-the-shelf, ransomware-as-a-service kits to state-sponsored supply chain attacks' and 'Investment in Cybersecurity, From low, minimal investment to high investment for a multi-layer approach.'. The axes split the map into quarters. 'Attack Sophistication' ranges from 'Ransomware as a Service' on the left to 'State-Sponsored' on the right. 'Investment in Cybersecurity' ranges from 'High' on top to 'Low' on bottom. The top left quarter, highly invested ransomware as a service, reads 'Organization is protected from most ransomware attacks and isn’t directly targeted by state-sponsored attacks.' The top right quarter, highly invested state-sponsored, reads 'Organization is protected against most ransomware attacks but could be targeted by state-sponsored attacks if considered a high-value target.' The bottom left quarter, low investment ransomware as a service, reads 'Organization is exposed to most ransomware attacks and is vulnerable to hackers looking to make a quick buck by casting a wide net.' The bottom right quarter, low investment state-sponsored, reads 'Organization is exposed to most ransomware attacks and risks being swept up in a supply chain attack by being targeted or as collateral damage.'

Recommendations

Create a ransomware incident response plan. Assess your current security practices and identify gaps. Quantify your ransomware risk to prioritize investments and run tabletop planning exercises for ransomware attacks.

Reduce your exposure to ransomware. Focus on securing the frontlines by improving phishing awareness among staff and deploying AI tools to help flag attacks. Use multi-factor authentication. Take a zero-trust approach and review your use of RDP, SSH, and VPN.

Require security in contracts. Security must be built into vendor contracts. Government contracts are now doing this, elevating security to the same level as functionality and support features. This puts money incentives behind improving security. (Interview with Intel Federal CTO Steve Orrin)

42% of IT practitioners feel employees must do much more to help defend against ransomware. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Info-Tech Resources

Carbon Metrics in Energy 4.0

TREND 03 | BUSINESS PROCESS CONTROLS AND INTERNAL AUDIT

Use Internet of Things (IoT) and auditable tracking to provide insight into business process implications for greenhouse gas emissions.

Emerging technologies:
IoT

Introduction

Making progress towards a carbon-neutral future.

A landmark report published in 2021 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underlines that human actions can still determine the future course of climate change. The report calls on governments, individuals, and organizations to stop putting new greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere no later than 2050, and to be at the halfway point to achieving that by 2030.

With calls to action becoming more urgent, organizations are making plans to reduce the use of fossil fuels, move to renewable energy sources, and reduce consumption that causes more emissions downstream. As both voluntary and mandatory regulatory requirements task organizations with reducing emissions, they will first be challenged to accurately measure the size of their footprint.

CIOs in organizations are well positioned to make conscious decisions to both influence how technology choices impact carbon emissions and implement effective tracking of emissions across the entire enterprise.

Canada’s CIO strategy council is calling on organizations to sign a “sustainable IT pledge” to cut emissions from IT operations and supply chain and to measure and disclose emissions annually. (CIO Strategy Council, Sustainable IT Pledge)

SCOPE 3 – Indirect Consumption

  • Goods and services
  • Fuel, travel, distribution
  • Waste, investments, leased assets, employee activity

SCOPE 2 – Indirect Energy

  • Electricity
  • Heat and cooling

SCOPE 1 – Direct

  • Facilities
  • Vehicles

Signals

Emissions tracking requires a larger scope.

About two-thirds of organizations have a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When asked about what tactics they use to reduce emissions, the most popular options affect either scope 1 emissions (retiring older IT equipment) or scope 2 emissions (using renewable energy sources). Fewer are using tactics that would measure scope 3 emissions such as using IoT to track or using software or AI.

68% of organizations say they have a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Approaches to reducing carbon emissions

Using "smart technologies" or IoT to help cut emissions 12%
Creating incentive programs for staff to reduce emissions 10%
Using software or AI to manage energy use 8%
Using external DC or cloud on renewable energy 16%
Committing to external emissions standards 15%
Retiring/updating older IT equipment 33%
Using renewable energy sources 41%

(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Drivers

Investor pressure

The world’s largest asset manager, at $7 trillion in investments, says it will move away from investing in firms that are not aligned to the Paris Agreement. (The New York Times, 2020)

Compliance tipping point

International charity CDP has been collecting environmental disclosure from organizations since 2002. In 2020, more than 9,600 of the world’s largest companies – representing over 50% of global market value – took part. (CDP, 2021)

International law

In 2021, six countries have net-zero emissions policies in law, six have proposed legislations, and 20 have policy documents. (Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, 2021)

Employee satisfaction

In 2019, thousands of workers walked out of offices of Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft to demand their employers do more to reduce carbon emissions. (NBC News, 2021)

High influence factors for carbon reduction

  • 25% – New government laws or policies
  • 9% – External social pressures
  • 9% – Pressure from investors
  • 8% – International climate compliance efforts
  • 7% – Employee satisfaction

(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Trust Tracking carbon emissions creates transparency into an organization’s operations and demonstrates accountability to its carbon emissions reduction goals.
Innovation As organizations become more proficient with carbon measurement and modeling, insights can be leveraged as a decision-making tool.
Resilience Reducing energy usage shrinks your carbon footprint, increases operational efficiency, and decreases energy costs.

Risks

Regulatory Divergence Standardization of compliance enforcement around carbon emissions is a work in progress. Several different voluntary frameworks exist, and different governments are taking different approaches including taxation and cap-and-trade markets.
Perceptions Company communications that speak to emissions reduction targets without providing proof can be accused of “greenwashing” or falsely trying to improve public perception.
Financial Pain Institutional investments are requiring clear commitments and plans to reduce greenhouse gases. Some jurisdictions are now taxing carbon emissions.

“When you can take technology and embed that into management change decisions that impact the environment, you can essentially guarantee that [greenhouse gas] offset. Companies that are looking to reduce their emissions can buy those offsets and it creates value for everybody.” (Wade Barnes, CEO and founder of Farmers Edge)

Photo of Wade Barnes, CEO and founder of Farmers Edge.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: The future of farming is digital

Case Study

Situation

The Alberta Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Regulation is Alberta’s approach to reduce emissions from large industrial emitters. It prices GHG and provides a trading system.

No-till farming and nitrogen management techniques sequester up to 0.3 metric tons of GHG per year.

Complication

Farmers Edge offers farmers a digital platform that includes IoT and a unified data warehouse. It can turn farm records into digital environmental assets, which are aggregated and sold to emitters.

Real-time data from connected vehicles, connected sensors, and other various inputs can be verified by third-party auditors.

Resolution

Farmers Edge sold aggregated carbon offsets to Alberta power producer Capital Power to help it meet regulatory compliance.

Farmers Edge is expanding its platform to include farmers in other provinces and in the US, providing them opportunity to earn revenue via its Smart Carbon program.

The firm is working to meet standards outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. (Interview with Wade Barnes, CEO, Farmers Edge)

What's Next

Global standards:

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) has been formed by the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation and will have its headquarters location announced in November at a United Nations conference. The body is already governing a set of global standards that have a roadmap for development through 2023 through open consultation. The standards are expected to bring together the multiple frameworks for sustainability standards and offer one global set of standards. (Business Council of Canada, 2021)

CIOs take charge:

The CIO is well positioned to take the lead role on corporate sustainability initiatives, including measuring and reducing an organization’s carbon footprint (or perhaps even monetizing carbon credits for an organization that is a negative emitter). CIOs can use their position as facilities managers and cross-functional process owners and mandate to reduce waste and inefficiency to take accountability for this important role. CIOs will expand their roles to deliver transparent and auditable reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals for the enterprise.

Uncertainties

International resolve:

Fighting the climate crisis will require governments and private sector collaboration from around the world to commit to creating new economic structures to discourage greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize long-term sustainable thinking. If some countries or private sector forces continue to prioritize short-term gains over sustainability, the U.N.’s goals won’t be achieved and the human costs as a result of climate change will become more profound.

Cap-and-trade markets:

Markets where carbon credits are sold to emitters are organized by various jurisdictions around the world and have different incentive structures. Some are created by governments and others are voluntary markets created by industry. This type of organization for these markets limits their size and makes it hard to scale the impact. Organizations looking to sell carbon credits at volume face the friction of having to navigate different compliance rules for each market they want to participate in.

Carbon Metrics in Energy 4.0 Scenarios

Determine your organization’s approach to measuring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by considering whether your organization is likely to be a high emitter or a carbon sink. Also consider your capability to measure and report on your carbon footprint.

A map of Carbon Metrics in Energy 4.0 scenarios with two axes representing 'Quantification Capability, From not tracking any emissions whatsoever to tracking all emissions at every scope' and 'Greenhouse Gas Emissions, From mitigating more emissions than you create to emitting more than regulations allow'. The axes split the map into quarters. 'Quantification Capability' ranges from 'No Measures' on the left to 'All Emissions Measured' on the right. 'Greenhouse Gas Emissions' ranges from 'More Than Allowed' on top to 'Net-Negative' on bottom. The top left quarter, no measures and more than allowed, reads 'Companies that are likely to be high emitters and not measuring will attract the most scrutiny from regulators and investors.' The top right quarter, all measured and more than allowed, reads 'Companies emit more than regulators allow but the measurements show a clear path to mitigation through the purchase of carbon credits.' The bottom left quarter, no measures and net-negative, reads 'Companies able to achieve carbon neutrality or even be net-negative in emissions but unable to demonstrate it will still face scrutiny from regulators.' The bottom right quarter, all measured and net-negative, reads 'Companies able to remove more emissions than they create have an opportunity to aggregate those reductions and sell on a cap-and-trade market.'

Recommendations

Measure the whole footprint. Devise a plan to measure scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions at a level that is auditable by a third party.

Gauge the impact of Industry 4.0. New technologies in Industry 4.0 include IoT, additive manufacturing, and advanced analytics. Make sustainability a core part of your focus as you plan out how these technologies will integrate with your business.

Commit to net zero. Make a clear commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by a specific date as part of your organization’s core strategy. Take a continuous improvement approach to make progress towards the goal with measurable results.

New laws from governments will have the highest degree of influence on an organization’s decision to reduce emissions. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Info-Tech Resources

Intangible Value Creation

TREND 04 | DATA ARCHITECTURE

Use blockchain technology to turn unique intellectual property into saleable digital products. Provide governance around marketplaces where sales are made.

Emerging technologies:
Blockchain, Distributed Ledger Technology, Virtual Environments

Introduction

Decentralized technologies are propelling the digital economy.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our shift into virtual social and economic systems, blockchain technology poses a new technological frontier – further disrupting digital interactions and value creation by providing a modification of data without relying on third parties. New blockchain software developments are being used to redefine how central banks distribute currency and to track provenance for scarce digital assets.

Tokenizing the blockchain

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are distinct cryptographic tokens created from blockchain technology. The rarity systems in NFTs are redefining digital ownership and being used to drive creator-centric communities.

Not crypto-currency, central currency

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) combine the same architecture of cryptocurrencies built on blockchain with the financial authority of a central bank. These currencies are not decentralized because they are controlled by a central authority, rather they are distributed systems. (Decrypt, 2021)

80% of banks are working on a digital currency. (Atlantic Council, 2021)

Brands that launched NFTs

NBA, NFL, Formula 1, Nike, Stella Artois, Coca-Cola, Mattel, Dolce & Gabbana, Ubisoft, Charmin

Banks that launched digital currencies

The Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Grenada

Signals

ID on the blockchain

Blockchains can contain smart contracts that automatically execute given specific conditions, protecting stakeholders involved in a transaction. These have been used by central banks to automate when and how currency can be spent and by NFT platforms to attribute a unique identity to a digital asset. Automation and identity verification are the most highly valued digital capabilities of IT practitioners.

$69.3 million – The world’s most expensive NFT artwork sale, for Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” (The New York Times, Mar. 2021)

Digital capabilities that provide high value to the organization

E-commerce 50%
Automation 79%
Smart contracts 42%
Community building and engagement 55%
Real-time payments 46%
Tracking provenance 33%
Identity verification 74%

(Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

Drivers

Financial autonomy

Central banks view cryptocurrencies as "working against the public good" and want to maintain control over their financial system to maintain the integrity of payments and provide financial crime oversight and protections against money laundering. (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 2021)

Bitcoin energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions

Annual energy consumption of the Bitcoin blockchain in China is estimated to peak in 2024 at 297 TwH and generate 130.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That would exceed the annual GHG of the Czech Republic and Qatar and rank in the top 10 among 182 cities and 42 industrial sectors in China. This is motiving cryptocurrency developers and central banks to move away from the energy-intensive "Proof of Work" mining approach and towards the "Proof of Stake" approach. (Nature Communications, 2021)

Digital communities

During the pandemic, people spent more time exploring digital spaces and interacting in digital communities. Asset ownership within those communities is a way for individuals to show their own personal investment in the community and achieve a status that often comes with additional privileges. The digital assets can also be viewed as an investment vehicle or to gain access to exclusive experiences.

“The pillars of the music economy have always been based on three things that the artist has never had full control of. The idea of distribution is freed up. The way we are going to connect to fans in this direct to fan value prop is very interesting. The fact we can monetize it, and that money exchange, that transaction is immediate. And on a platform like S!NG we legitimately have a platform to community build…. Artists are getting a superpower.” (Raine Maida, Chief Product Officer, S!NG Singer, Our Lady Peace)

Raine Maida, Chief Product Officer, S!NG, and Singer, Our Lady Peace.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: Raine Maida's startup is an NFT app for music

Case Study

Situation

Artists can create works and distribute them to a wide audience more easily than ever with the internet. Publishing a drawing or a song to a website allows it to be infinitely copied. Creators can use social media accounts and digital advertisements to build up a fan base for their work and monetize it through sales or premium-access subscriber schemes.

Complication

The internet's capacity for frictionless distribution is a boon and a burden for artists at the same time. Protecting copyright in a digital environment is difficult because there is no way to track a song or a picture back to its creator. This devalues the work because it can be freely exchanged by users.

Resolution

S!NG allows creators to mint their works with a digital token that stamps its origin to the file and tracks provenance as it is reused and adapted into other works. It uses the ERC 721 standard on the Ethereum blockchain to create its NFT tokens. They are portable files that the user can create for free on the S!NG platform and are interoperable with other digital token platforms. This enables a collaboration utility by reducing friction in using other people's works while giving proper attribution. Musicians can create mix tracks using the samples of others’ work easily and benefit from a smart-contract-based revenue structure that returns money to creators when sales are made. (Interview with Geoff Osler and Raine Maida, S!NG Executives)

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Autonomy Digital money and assets could proliferate the desire for autonomy as users have greater control over their assets (by cutting out the middlemen, democratizing access to investments, and re-claiming ownership over intangible data).
Community Digital worlds and assets offer integrated and interoperable experiences influenced by user communities.
Equity Digital assets allow different shareholder equity models as they grant accessible and affordable access to ownership.

Risks

Volatility Digital assets are prone to volatile price fluctuations. A primary reason for this is due to its perceived value relative to the fiat currency and the uncertainty around its future value.
Security While one of the main features of blockchain-based digital assets is security, digital assets are vulnerable to breaches during the process of storing and trading assets.
Access Access to digital marketplaces requires a steep learning curve and a base level of technical knowledge.

What's Next

Into the Metaverse:

Digital tokens are finding new utility in virtual environments known as the Metaverse. Decentraland is an example of a virtual reality environment that can be accessed via a web browser. Based on the Ethereum blockchain, it's seen sales of virtual land plots for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sotheby's is one buyer, building a digital replica of its New Bond Street gallery in London, complete with commissionaire Hans Lomuldur in avatar form to greet visitors. The gallery will showcase and sell Sotheby's digital artworks. (Artnet News, 2021)

Bitcoin as legal tender:

El Salvador became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender in September 2021. The government intended for this to help citizens avoid remittance fees when receiving money sent from abroad and to provide a way for citizens without bank accounts to receive payments. Digital wallet Chivo launched with technical glitches and in October a loophole that allowed “price scalping” had to be removed to stop speculators from using the app to trade for profit. El Salvador’s experiment will influence whether other countries consider using Bitcoin as legal tender. (New Scientist, 2021)

Uncertainties

Stolen goods at the mint:

William Shatner complained that Twitter account @tokenizedtweets had taken his content without permission and minted tokens for sale. In doing so, he pointed out there’s no guarantee a minted digital asset is linked to the creator of the attached intellectual property.

Decentralized vs. distributed finance:

Will blockchain-based markets be controlled by a single platform operator or become truly open? For example, Dapper Labs centralizes the minting of NFTs on its Flow blockchain and controls sales through its markets. OpenSea allows NFTs minted elsewhere to be brought to the platform and sold.

Supply and demand:

Platforms need to improve the reliability of minting technology to create tokens in the future. Ethereum's network is facing more demand than it can keep up with and requires future upgrades to improve its efficiency. Other platforms that support minting tokens are also awaiting upgrades to be fully functional or have seen limited NFT projects launched on their platform.

Intangible Value Creation Scenarios

Determine your organization’s strategy by considering the different scenarios based on two main factors. The design decisions are made around whether digital assets are decentralized or distributed and whether the assets facilitate transactions or collections.

A map of Intangible Value Creation scenarios with two axes representing 'Fungibility, From assets that are designed to be exchanged like currency to assets that are unique' and 'Asset Control Model, From decentralized control with open ownership to centralized control with distributed assets'. The axes split the map into quarters. 'Fungibility' ranges from 'Transactional' on the left to 'Collectible' on the right. 'Asset Control Model' ranges from 'Distributed' on top to 'Decentralized' on bottom. The top left quarter, distributed transactional, reads 'Platform-controlled digital exchanges and utility (e.g. tokens exchanged for fan experiences, central bank digital currency, S!NG).' The top right quarter, distributed collectible, reads 'Platform-controlled digital showcases and community (e.g. NBA Top Shot, Decentraland property).' The bottom left quarter, decentralized transactional, reads 'Peer-controlled digital exchanges and utility (e.g. Bitcoin).' The bottom right quarter, decentralized collectible, reads 'Peer-controlled digital showcases and community (e.g. OpenSea and Ethereum-based NFTs).'

Recommendations

Determine your role in the digital asset ecosystem.
  • Becoming a platform provider for digital tokens will require a minting capability to create blockchain-based assets and a marketplace for users to exchange them.
  • Issuing digital tokens to a platform through a sale will require making partnerships and marketing.
  • Investing in digital assets will require management of digital wallets and subject-matter expert analysis of the emerging markets.
Track the implications of digital currencies.

Track what your country’s central bank is planning for digital currency and determine if you’ll need to prepare to support it. Be informed about payment partner support for cryptocurrency and consider any complications that may introduce.

$1 billion+ – The amount of cryptocurrency spent by consumers globally through crypto-linked Visa cards in first half of 2021. (CNBC, July 2021)

Info-Tech Resources

Automation as a Service

TREND 05 | INNOVATION

Automate business processes and access new sophisticated technology services through platform integration.

Emerging technologies:
Cloud platforms, APIs, Generative AI

Introduction

The glue for innovation

Rapidly constructing a business model that is ready to compete in a digital economy requires continuous innovation. Application programming interfaces (APIs) can accelerate innovation by unlocking marketplaces of ready-to-use solutions to business problems and automating manual tasks to make more time for creativity. APIs facilitate a microarchitecture approach and make it possible to call upon a new capability with a few lines of code. This is not a new tool, as the first API was specified in 1951, but there were significant advances of both scale and capability in this area in 2021.

In the past 18 months, API adoption has exploded and even industries previously considered as digital laggards are now integrating them to reinvent back-office processes. Technology platforms specializing in API management are attracting record-breaking investment. And sophisticated technology services such as artificial intelligence are being delivered by APIs.

APIs can play a role in every company’s digital strategy, from transforming back-office processes to creating revenue as part of a platform.

$500,000 was invested in API companies in 2016. (Forbes, May 2021)

$2,000,000,000+ was invested in API companies in 2020. (Forbes, May 2021)

69% of IT practitioners say digital transformation has been a high priority for their organization during the pandemic. (Info-Tech Tech Trends 2022 Survey)

51% of developers used more APIs in 2020 than in 2019. (InsideHPC, 2021)

71% of developers planned to use even more APIs in 2021. (InsideHPC, 2021)

Signals

IT practitioners indicate that digital transformation was a strong focus for their organization during the pandemic and will remain so during the period afterwards, and one-third say their organizations were “extremely focused” on digital transformation.

When it came to shifting processes from being done manually to being completed digitally, more than half of IT practitioners say they shifted at least 21% of their processes during the past year. More than one in five say that at least 60% of their processes were shifted from manual to digital in the past year.

3.5 trillion calls were performed on API management platform Apigee, representing a 50% increase year over year. (SiliconANGLE, 2021)

Processes shifted from manual to digital in the past year

A horizontal bar chart recording survey responses regarding the percent of processes that shifted from manual to digital in the past year. The horizontal axis is 'percent of survey respondents' with values from 0 to 35%. The vertical axis is 'percent of process shifted to digital' with bar labels 'Between 0 to 20%', 'Between 21 to 40%', and so on until 'Between 81 to 100%'. 20% of respondents answered '0 to 20%' of processes went digital. 28% of respondents answered '21 to 40%' of processes went digital. 30% of respondents answered '41 to 60%' of processes went digital. 15% of respondents answered '61 to 80%' of processes went digital. 7% of respondents answered '81 to 100%' of processes went digital.

Drivers

Covid-19

The pandemic lockdowns pushed everyone into a remote-work scenario. With in-person interaction not an option, even more traditional businesses had to adapt to digital processes.

Customer Expectations

The success of digital services in the consumer space is causing expectations to rise in other areas, such as professional services. Consumers now want their health records to be portable and they want to pay their lawyer through e-transfer, not by writing a cheque. (Interview with Mik Lernout)

Standardization

Technology laggard industries such as legal and healthcare are recognizing the pain of working with siloed systems. New standardization efforts are driving the adoption of open APIs at a rapid rate. (Interview with Jennifer Jones, Research Director – Industry, Info-Tech Research Group)

Risks and Benefits

Benefits

Speed Using a microarchitecture approach with readily available services constructed in different ways provides a faster way to get from idea to minimum-viable product.
Intelligence Open APIs have more than ever exposed people to sophisticated AI algorithms that were in the domain of only advanced researchers just a couple years ago. Developers can integrate AI with a couple lines of code. Non-technical users can train algorithms with low-code and no-code tools (Forbes, Sept. 2021).
Resilience If one function of a solution doesn't work, it can be easily replaced with another one available on the market and the overall experience is maintained.

Risks

Loss of Privacy APIs are being targeted by hackers as a way to access personal information. Recent API-related leaks affected Experian, John Deere, Clubhouse, and Peloton (VentureBeat, 2021).
Complexity Using a decentralized approach to assemble applications means that there is no single party accountable for the solution. Different pieces can break, or oversights can go unnoticed.
Copycats Platforms that take the approach of exposing all functions via API run the risk of having their services used by a competitor to offer the same solution but with an even better user experience.

“When we think about what the pandemic did, we had this internal project called 'back to the future.' It kind of put the legal industry in a time machine and it kind of accelerated the legal industry 5, maybe even 10 years. A lot of the things we saw with the innovators became table stakes.” (Mik Lernout, Vice President of Product, Clio)

Photo of Mik Lernout, Vice president of product, Clio.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: Clio drives digital transformation to redefine the legal industry

Case Study

Situation

The COVID-19 pandemic required the legal industry to shift to remote work. A typically change-resistant industry was now holding court hearings over videoconference, taking online payments, and collecting e-signatures on contracts. For Clio, a software-as-a-service software vendor that serves the legal industry, its client base grew and its usage increased. It previously focused on the innovators in the legal industry, but now it noticed laggards were going digital too.

Complication

Law firms have very different needs depending on their legal practice area (e.g. family law, corporate law, or personal injury) and what jurisdiction they operate in.

Clients are also demanding more from their lawyers in terms of service experience. They don't want to travel to the law office to drop off a check but expect digital interactions on par with service they receive in other areas.

Resolution

Since its inception, Clio built its software product so that all of its functions could be called upon by an API as well. It describes its platform as the "operating system for the legal industry." Its API functions include capabilities like managing activities, billing, and contracts. External developers can submit applications to the Clio Marketplace to add new functionality. Its platform approach enables it to find solutions for its 150,000+ users. During the pandemic, Clio saw its customers rely on its APIs more than ever before. It expects this accelerated adoption to be the way of working in the future. (ProgrammableWeb, 2021; Interview with Mik Lernout)

What's Next

GOOGLE’S API-FIRST APPROACH:

Google is expanding its Apigee API management platform so enterprises will be able to connect existing data and applications and access them via APIs. It's part of Google's API-first approach to digital transformation, helping enterprises with their integration challenges. The new release includes tools and a framework that's needed to integrate services in this way and includes pre-built connectors for common business apps and services such as Salesforce, Cloud SQL, MySQL, and BigQuery. (SiliconANGLE, 2021)

Uncertainties

API SECURITY:

APIs represent another potential vulnerability for hackers to exploit and the rise in popularity has come with more security incidents. Companies using APIs have leaked data through APIs, with one research report on the state of API security finding that 91% of organizations have suffered an API security incident. Yet more than a quarter of firms running production APIs don’t have an API security strategy. (VentureBeat, 2021)

For low IT maturity organizations moving onto platforms that introduce API capabilities, education is required about the consequences of creating more integrations. Platforms must bear some responsibility for monitoring for irregular activity. (Interview with Mik Lernout)

Automation as a Service Scenarios

Determine your organization’s platform strategy from the basis of your digital maturity – from that of a laggard to a native – and whether it involves monetized APIs vs. freely available public APIs. A strategy can include both the consumption of APIs and the creation of them.

A map of Automation as a Service scenarios with two axes representing 'Business Model, From an open and public API to a monetized pay-for-use API' and 'Digital Maturity, From being a digital laggard to being a digital native'. The axes split the map into quarters. 'Business Model' ranges from 'Public APIs' on the left to 'Monetized APIs' on the right. 'Digital Maturity' ranges from 'Digital Native' on top to 'Digital Laggard' on bottom. The top left quarter, digital native public APIs, reads 'Platform business model that grows through adoption of free APIs (e.g. Clio).' The top right quarter, digital native monetized APIS, reads 'Platform business model with spectrum of API services including free tiers.' The bottom left quarter, digital laggard public APIs, reads 'Consume public APIs to simplify and automate business processes and improve customer experience (e.g. law firms using Clio).' The bottom right quarter, digital laggard monetized APIs, reads 'Consume paid APIs to provide customers with expanded services (e.g. retailer Lowe’s uses AccuWeather to predict supply and demand).'

Recommendations

Leverage APIs to connect your systems. Create a repeatable process to improve the quality, reusability, and governance of your web APIs.

Transform your business model with digital platforms. Use the best practices of digital native enterprises and leverage your core assets to compete in a digital economy.

Deliver sophisticated new capabilities with APIs. Develop an awareness of new services made available through API integration, such as artificial intelligence, and take advantage of them.

4.5 billion words per day generated by the OpenAI natural language API GPT-3, just nine months after launch. (OpenAI, 2021)

Info-Tech Resources

Behind the design

Inspiration provided by the golden ratio

The golden ratio has long fascinated humans for its common occurrence in nature and inspired artists who adopted its proportions as a guiding principle for their creations. A new discovery of the golden ratio in economic cycles was published in August 2021 by Bert de Groot, et al. As the boundaries of value creation blur between physical and digital and the pace of change accelerates, these digital innovations may change our lives in many ways. But they are still bound by the context of the structure of the economy. Hear more about this surprising finding from de Groot and from this report’s designer by listening to our podcast. (Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2021)

“Everything happening will adapt itself into the next cycle, and that cycle is one phi distance away.” (Bert de Groot, professor of economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Photo of Bert de Groot, Professor of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Listen to the Tech Insights podcast: New discovery of the golden ratio in the economy

Contributing Experts

Vijay Sundaram
Chief Strategy Officer, Zoho
Photo of Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer, Zoho.
Jason Brommet
Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group, Microsoft
Photo of Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft.
Steve Orrin
Federal Chief Technology Officer, Intel
Photo of Steve Orrin, Federal Chief Technology Officer, Intel.
Wade Barnes
CEO and Founder, Farmers Edge
Photo of Wade Barnes, CEO and founder of Farmers Edge.

Contributing Experts

Raine Maida
Chief Product Officer, S!NG
Singer, Our Lady Peace
Raine Maida, Chief Product Officer, S!NG Singer, Our Lady Peace.
Geoff Osler
CEO, S!NG
Photo of Geoff Osler, CEO, S!NG.
Mik Lernout
Vice President of Product, Clio
Photo of Mik Lernout, Vice President of Product, Clio.
Bert de Groot
Professor of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Photo of Bert de Groot, Professor of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Bibliography – Enabling the Digital Economy

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Bibliography – Carbon Metrics in Energy 4.0

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Bibliography – Intangible Value Creation

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About the research

Tech trends survey

As part of its research process for the 2022 Tech Trends Report, Info-Tech Research Group conducted an open online survey among its membership and wider community of professionals. The survey was fielded from August 2021 to September 2021, collecting 475 responses.

The underlying metrics are diverse, capturing 14 countries and regions and 16 Industries.

A geospatial chart of the world documenting the percentage of respondents from each country to Info-Tech's '2022 Tech Trends Report' Percentages are below.
01 United States 45.3% 08 India 1.7%
02 Canada 19.2% 09 Other (Asia) 1.7%
03 Africa 9.3% 10 New Zealand 1.5%
04 Other (Europe) 5.3% 11 Germany 0.8%
05 Australia 4.2% 12 Mexico 0.4%
06 Great Britain 3.8% 13 Netherlands 0.4%
07 Middle East 2.9% 14 Japan 0.2%

Industry

01 Government 18.9%
02 Media, Information, & Technology 12.8%
03 Professional Services 12.8%
04 Manufacturing 9.9%
05 Education 8.8%
06 Healthcare 8.2%
07 Financial Services 7.8%
08 Transportation & Logistics 3.4%
09 Utilities 3.4%
10 Insurance 2.5%
11 Retail & Wholesale 2.5%
12 Construction 2.3%
13 Natural Resources 2.1%
14 Real Estate & Property Management 1.7%
15 Arts & Leisure 1.5%
16 Professional Associations 1.3%

Department

IT (information technology) 88.2%
Other (Department) 3.79%
Operations 2.32%
Research & Development 1.89%
Sales 1.26%
Administration 1.06%
Finance 0.42%
HR (Human Resources) 0.42%
Marketing 0.42%
Production 0.21%

Role

Manager 24%
Director-level 22%
C-level officer 19%
VP-level 9%
Team lead / supervisor 7%
Owner / President / CEO 7%
Team member 7%
Consultant 5%
Contractor 1%

IT Spend

Respondents on average spent 35 million per year on their IT budget.

Accounting for the outlier responses – the median spend sits closer to 4.5 million per year. The highest spend on IT was within the Government, Healthcare, and Retail & Wholesale sectors.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Enabling the digital economy and supporting the CEO for growth.

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  • Call #1 - Identify which trends and practices should be a priority for your organization and discuss current practices that need to be modified.

Author

Brian Jackson

Contributors

  • 475 survey participants
  • Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer, Zoho
  • Jason Brommet, Head of Modern Work and Security Business Group, Microsoft
  • Steve Orrin, Federal Chief Technology Officer, Intel
  • Wade Barnes, CEO and Founder, Farmers Edge
  • Raine Maida, Chief Product Officer, S!NG and Singer, Our Lady Peace
  • Geoff Osler, CEO, S!NG
  • Mik Lernout, Vice President of Product, Clio
  • Bert de Groot, Professor of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
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