As 2021 rapidly nears its end and organisations continue to navigate the changes caused by the pandemic, we must also look ahead to 2022. Global Banking and Finance Review spoke with industry experts to get their thoughts on what the coming year may look like.
Banking, Finance and the Economy
“Open banking focus will shift from standards to value generation. Since open banking was originally introduced in the form of regulation, the focus of these regulated regions has understandably been on compliance; as a result, open banking has often been painted as a compliance exercise,” explains Eyal Sivan, Head of Open Banking at Axway. “However, two things are changing: first, regulated players are looking to generate a return on their initial investments; and second, market-driven regions are beginning to adopt open banking in absence of regulation. These two factors will fundamentally shift the focus of open banking over the next year, from regulatory compliance to the generation of real value. Expect banks and other players in the financial ecosystem to demand solutions which tie open banking to their existing assets and capabilities in order to deliver on business-driven initiatives.”
Hugh Scantlebury, Founder & CEO of Aqilla adds that “UK PLC is very much suffering right now from what I’ve come to call economic long COVID. Lockdowns have lifted, and the vaccination programme is going well. But there’s still lots of disruption across the economy as the result of the pandemic. Looking back at this year, it’s been hard — and continues to be difficult — for many businesses to trade in the way that they used to. And the after-effects of Brexit have compounded many of the problems, particularly in relation to labour supply.
“While it’s not always possible to deal with all these problems directly, businesses can take back control of some aspects. They can start using solutions that provide real-time information on resource location, supply chain logistics, and finances. They can begin 2022 with a resolution to use software to deliver cost of sale analysis, cash flow updates, and broader financial intelligence that improves efficiency. This is particularly important to keep in mind against the backdrop of rising energy prices and the knock-on effect this could have on supply chains.
“Although it’s always been the case, it’s worth reiterating at the end of a challenging year that timely access to this kind of data and knowing how to intelligently interpret it will mean the difference between success and failure. That’s why, during 2021, the accounting and finance function in most businesses has continued to shift from a purely transactional-based role to a much more analytical one.”
Governance, Analytics and Automation
“The pandemic exposed ill-prepared boards and forced all boards to work remotely, relying entirely on digital tools to carry out their duties. The new work reality is a mix of virtual and in-person, and the move to digitise will continue to be a priority in 2022 as new variants are surfacing,” notes MarKeith Allen, SVP and GM at Diligent Mission Driven Organisations. “Modern Governance should be viewed as an integral part of a digital strategy rather than an add-on. It is crucial to create the clarity and accountability that is needed for a successful digital transformation process. As the digital and governance landscapes are rapidly changing, so is the need for technology that delivers beyond the basic online repositories of board data.
“Board portals must evolve into holistic governance, risk, audit, and compliance platforms that enable transparency and connectivity between leaders, boards, and employees. Moving into 2022, we’ll see increased adoption of modern governance initiatives like ESG and tools that support better decision making. Moving into 2022, we’ll see increased adoption of board portal solutions that put innovative leaders at the helm of an intuitive environment that improves efficiency, collaboration, communication, security and board governance.”
“For the next 3-5 years, I expect there will be a heavy drive to automation, outsourcing/managed service and out-tasking expertise around data projects,” predicts Michael Queenan, Co-Founder and CEO of Nephos Technologies. “There is an expectation gap from CEO/CFO’s where they want to be driving the types of projects to provide better customer insights, new product launches and increase revenue per customer. However, to do that you need better data management (analytics/governance/security) and the resources just don’t exist in most organisations to do that well, so I think a move to outsourcing or out-tasking these projects will become the only way to go. The problem with that, is that there aren’t a large number of providers of those types of services in the market right now. That is why I think a big prediction for 2022 is the increase in “Managed” data solutions.”
Rich Pugh, Chief Data Scientist at Ascent furthers, “As businesses plan for 2022, organisations that have championed data science practises – despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic – will perform better than those who chose to furlough their data and analytics teams. 2022 is likely to be the year of the ‘reckoning’ where some companies will pay the price for holding back on innovation.
“The chasm will have widened between companies that have embraced data to become smarter and more digitally nimble relative to their counterparts that find themselves in a changed landscape with an outdated business model. The world has shifted and they will find themselves left behind. Those companies who kept the pedal down on data and analytics, and invested in AI and machine learning to support their data-driven business model, will emerge as leaner, smarter, more engaging businesses.”
“I think we’ll see the use of operational performance analytics become more of a priority in 2022, with an emphasis on organisations understanding data in real time,” agrees Simon Gould, Chief Product Officer at Totalmobile. “As they start to use analytics in the workforce management environment to understand the past, they will gain insight into what’s going to happen in the future. That’s where the real value lies, as with knowledge comes power. There’s often lots of generalisms in workforce management – organisations need greater understanding of how individual employees can perform their job, because different people will be able to do the same task at different rates. Combined with scheduling solutions, this type of data analysis will help ensure that all workers are being used to their full potential, whatever that may be.”
Sascha Giese, Head Geek™ at SolarWinds adds that, “The explosion in data available to public sector organisations has made the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) a critical advantage, but the talent and resources required to build solutions in-house is still prohibitive. Ultimately, a machine is faster than a human—or even a group of humans—which means shifting to AI/ML services also allows for cost savings, something that is vital across the sector. Yes, purchasing or subscribing to an AI service and integrating it doesn’t come cheap, but it’s still far more efficient than a team of 20 data analysts.
“In 2022, we’ll start to see AI and ML featured more prominently in organisations’ IT environments through the adoption of off-the-shelf AI/ML services. As organisations look to strengthen their security postures in response to the evolving threat landscape, for example, they may look for security tools leveraging AI/ML to perform tasks. Meanwhile, offerings from cloud service providers, like Amazon® SageMaker® or Google® TensorFlow™, will similarly see widespread growth by reducing the barrier to adoption and implementation for tech pros.”
“The global tech talent shortage will only increase the number of companies adopting a ‘low code, no code’ approach to software development,” begins Agnes Schliebitz-Ponthus, Senior Vice President of Product at Fluent Commerce. “Low and no-code platforms will help to fill the gap, shifting the responsibility for app development from expensive programmers and engineers to business subject matter experts. Gartner says that as many as 75% of large enterprises will be using four or more low-code toolsets by 2024. With budgets under extreme pressure, we’re going to see more companies adopting a ‘low code, no code’ approach in 2022. At Fluent, we launched Fluent Order Management Experience (OMX) earlier this year, our new low-code platform for order management.”
“One of the big shifts we’ve seen over the last 18-months is a widespread move to a cloud-first mindset and this has laid the foundation for many of the key training and development areas businesses will need to focus on in 2022,” adds Don Mowbray, EMEA Lead, Technology & Development at Skillsoft. “The most effective approach is to look at role-based learning journeys that help learners build skills in more than one platform. The first step is identifying the skills you need in all aspects of the role – from deployment and migration to security. Then, it’s about applying these on both an individual platform basis while also incorporating the implications of a multi-cloud environment. Teams will need to be able to think critically across several cloud infrastructures – asking, for example, which workloads work best in which environment, or how they can backup critical data most effectively.
“For many organisations, this will represent a step change in cloud infrastructure management in 2022. Skills development will be central to this shift. Companies will need to build durable and resilient skills, and this can only be achieved with hands-on learning. Any business investing in new cloud services and platforms in 2022 should first invest in training – giving learners the ability to develop and practice their skills in a safe, non-production environment first.”
Ian Rawlings, RVP EMEA at SumTotal reflects: “In 2021, we saw how developments like hybrid working dramatically reshaped the work environment and redefined how organisations approach learning and development. With workers, managers, and business leaders all feeling the pressure to upskill and reskill, organisations began rethinking their L&D models in a bid to foster lifelong learning cultures that allow employees to quickly build, develop and transform their skills – often on their terms.
To build the high-performing workforce of the future and demonstrate to employees that their development and advancement matters, in 2022, we expect many organisations will go ‘all in’ when it comes to enabling more predictive and personalised learning journeys that motivate and encourage professional development and improve employee engagement.
By leveraging the power of emerging technologies, they’ll be able to actively tune learning content to each individual’s current role and future needs. Delivering up learning events and follow-ups that seamlessly extend the learning process for employees while delivering actionable insights that can be used to inform individual development plans and succession planning.
He concludes: “One thing is for sure, in 2022, predictive learning is set to infuse corporate L&D programmes with the consumer-grade adaptability that enables organisations to prepare for the future and deliver a more enriching learning experience for all.””