You may see analyst predictions as meaningless, unless you find yourself choosing between an apple and an orange at a scarcely provisioned continental breakfast buffet. So it goes with the selection of strategies to fulfill an ever-increasing set of digital transformation requirements from a scarce IT budget.

I have here the seeds of Intellyx’s 2021 retrospectives and 2022 predictions. Unlike most other pundits, we try not to state obvious observations as predictions, and we score ourselves on last year’s crop of conjectures.

Predictions from 2021

Appreciating Sir Issac Newton’s theory of gravity, I collected three apples that fell on Jason Bloomberg’s head for his 2021 Intellyx prediction set. Let’s see if they had gravitas.

First off, a dramatic counter-cyberattack against Russia in response to attacks like the SolarWinds hack. 

This one didn’t bear fruit–If anything, the rate of exploits and breaches in IT continued apace, crowned in December with the revelation of the widespread log4j vulnerability. 

We did see preventative effort and innovation from vendors attempting to ‘shift security left’ in the DevOps lifecycle to make it a developer concern, and open source collaboration toward wiring zero-trust, least privilege fundamentals into the underpinning componentry of microservices-based applications.

Second, the massive Bitcoin-Tether Ponzi collapse didn’t happen yet–but all the conditions needed have intensified tenfold. Times of economic uncertainty and a mistrust of institutions drove celebrity shills and unsuspecting marks to throw down real money for magic blockchain beans.

With over half of crypto exchange activity now circulating through stablecoin shell games, this failure is not a question of if–but when–the rug gets pulled.

Last, the pandemic and recession ending with a bang instead finished with a series of sputters and pops, as an inability to truly shake COVID-19 put a damper on economic relief and constrained global business operations. 

But in terms of IT, the wait-and-see period of 2021 gave way to an explosion of innovation and consolidation, especially in cloud-native, edge, and AI technologies, showing no signs of slowing down. 

Better still, workers in the digital economy made the greatest gains in 2021, as collaborative lessons, work-from-anywhere capabilities and a serious talent shortage meant many IT employees could afford to job-hop and demand better salaries and flexible working conditions from employers.

Predictions for 2022

First, a great weeding out of vendors. Overvaluations in the space will gradually give way to more responsible ways of evaluating the potential success of any vendor. Enterprises will become wiser about ROI metrics and refine their selection criteria to fit their desired architectural goals.

Vendors that can demonstrate value for paying customers will be poised to accelerate, while the fortunes of runners-up in each category will decline, resulting in layoffs and surprise fire sales.

This does not mean startup activity will decrease in 2022. Volatile conditions offer the most fertile ground for sprouting innovation to improve agility at scale and meet customer needs.

Observability will branch out into many forms. This solution category has consumed aspects of software performance, security, testing, development, issue resolution, planning – and all of the data and infrastructure supporting it.

Observability is no longer just for SREs obsessed with production. It must process data feeding ITOps, network analytics and AI learning tools, as well as assisting developers with many aspects of legacy modernization and migration. What specific kind of observability is needed for the work at hand?

Supply chain management will start to enter the IT mainstream discussion. Coordinating the many moving parts of SCM has always been a dark art beyond IT, even for the people running the cogs of supply chains — manufacturers, logistics providers, warehouses and retailers.

Even though software is just a bunch of bytes, responsible orgs will consider software and hardware supply chain dependencies in every architectural aspect of planning and provisioning digital capabilities.

Real global supply chains will also become the #1 growth market for edge computing and IoT. New combinations of device and sensor data will flow into tracking, analytics, AI-based forecasting, production planning and multi-party networks to modernize legacy SCM networks and ERP systems (many haven’t changed much since the nineties).

The Intellyx Take

I could have easily predicted that cloud adoption would grow, or another massive breach – but that would be like opening a fruit stand that sells store-bought fruit.

What will remain constant this year is change, and the determining factor of an organization’s survival will be its reaction speed for applying new technology to meet the chaos that change creates.

To make it in 2022, organizations must value people more than ever to negotiate change, and listen to the experiences of employees, partners and customers – above the preferences of their own executives and shareholders. Success is there for the picking.