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Predictions: Page 3

Skills 

Alex Dean, Co-founder and CEO of behavioural data platform, Snowplow 

The battle for data talent hots up 

This year will see a squeeze on data talent, especially data engineers. Prompted by Covid-19, which forced organisations to understand their customers better and deliver digital offerings rapidly, companies will battle to secure the services of the most highly skilled data practitioners.  At the same time, the number of data roles and specialisations will increase significantly, driven by architectural changes in the data stack. Job titles such as data product manager, data governance manager, data/information steward, machine learning operations manager and artificial intelligence operations manager will become commonplace within large organisations. 

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Customer experience 

Brian Atkinson, Vice President and General Manager EMEA, Five9 

Empathy through disruption 

With supply chain issues still a cause for concern, there must be a continued focus on empathy as part of the customer experience. Organisations may not be able to exert control over many of the variables affecting the supply chain – chip shortages and port blockages, for example – but they can return to the six pillars of customer experience, in particular empathy, personalisation and effort. 

This means clear and regular communication, flexibility and understanding i.e. choosing not to stick to rigid returns policies at a time like this or offering customers personalised options when disruption does hit. For example, if a customer has ordered a new car and it is known that chip delays will delay delivery, can they be asked whether the cruise control option they selected is essential or just a nice to have, in which case would they be happy to accept a different model sooner? 

It’s not about delivering the impossible, but about having the data and tools we need to be able to communicate empathically and provide options and flexibility. Technology can help identify these opportunities and deliver feedback on how that flexibility was received by the customer, helping to power the next experience, for the next customer. 

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Richard Walters

Automation 

Richard Walters, CTO, Censornet 

Automation will replace the 24×7 security analyst
A lack of cybersecurity skills and budget mean the 24×7 security analyst for the mid-market will be automation. The sophistication of automation to manage security event alerts will be critical to risk reduction. Pre-agreed cyber response rules and the ability of automated defences to act autonomously will be critical in stopping attackers in motion. 

There will be a shift from best of breed point solutions to cyber platforms where cyber defences consolidate multiple threat defences. The decline of point solutions has been triggered by mid-market organisations now using 30 to 50 point products to protect their data. Finding this array of technology either too costly or too complex to manage, organisations will seek to rationalise costs and better protect their organisation by shifting point solutions to a platform. 

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Paul Speciale

Storage 

Paul Speciale, Chief Marketing Officer, Scality 

AI/MLOps becomes standard part of storage products
The exponential growth of data coupled with an ongoing skills shortage is driving the need for increased automation in storage systems management. The integration of AI/ MLOps into large-scale data processes will increasingly emerge to help administrators offload and automate processes – and to find and reduce waste and increase overall storage management efficiency. MLOps can monitor and provide predictive analytics for common manual tasks including capacity utilisation, pending component failures and storage inefficiencies. Higher value tasks can include determining application IO and performance patterns, to automatically adjust Quality of Service (QoS) and the underlying resources to deliver the required service levels. 

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Data Protection 

Sovan Bin, Founder and CEO of Odaseva, an enterprise data platform for Salesforce 

Proof of data protection is essential 

Last year, organisations were asking themselves: ‘Are we protected in our data?’ Now, we are seeing a huge shift towards organisations saying: ‘How can we prove that we are protected?’ Rather than just ticking a box that they have a backup system, organisations are looking to optimise their RTO (recovery time objective) – how long it takes to recover data after an issue. In 2022, more and more large organisations will start to take their RTO objective seriously, doing quarterly testing on these timings. 

This, in turn, is helping organisations comply with the governance frameworks that they’re working within. People need to prove to their business networks that they have a backup – they can’t just assume that the cloud provides it all. They need to show that data is secure and recoverable, and how fast they can recover it. 

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Software 

Will Hale, Northern European Leader, monday.com 

The year of no-code and (very) low-code working
Low-code and no-code are not new concepts – they have been around for over a decade in some shape or form. Historically, the application of code to products has been the territory of IT or at least people/teams with some technical experience. However, in recent years the opportunity to use no-code and low-code tools has opened up to include regular business users. The likes of WordPress or Canva, for example, produce high quality content that requires no technical skill. 

Low-code and no-code builds are set to become even more mainstream in 2022. In the world of work, teams will no longer buy pre-fab tools and platforms, but instead choose those that give them the flexibility to design the workflows and processes they want, customised to the nature and breadth of their work and teams. The ability to work their own way will allow teams to define the next generation of distributed work. 

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