Hear what our experts predict will be the next big trends in tech
Recent years have brought seismic shifts to the IT world. What will 2023 bring? Here’s what our experts have to say about the year ahead:
Effective intelligent automation, minus the hype
We are seeing increasing maturity in robotic process automation (RPA) implementations which take a more pragmatic and measured approach to business process automation, cutting out a lot of the RPA ‘hype’ of recent years which has led to countless and costly failures, unrealistic expectations and lost confidence.
By learning from past mistakes and a wider recognition in the business process automation community that you need to be able to walk before you can run, organisations are starting to see very effective and robust RPA implementations which have clear cost, efficiency and consistency benefits.
Such successes are being driven by better planning and business analysis up front, more appropriate development environments and processes, and integration with wider technologies to support sensible levels of machine learning-based cognitive automation beyond structured and rules-based processes. Automation will continue to improve its ability to learn, self-correct and make reasoned decisions as ‘intelligent automation’ can be applied to an increasing number of unstructured data types.
Greater focus on quality
The responsibility of setting quality standards and facilitating innovation means quality architects will be elevated in importance, closer to senior business leaders. Centres of Excellence will rise to prioritise and champion quality engineering and its application across the full suite of testing types.
Workers already in testing roles may see their priorities shift towards quality engineering – perhaps even realigning their responsibilities and job titles. While we don’t expect this to be the ‘death of the tester’ (front-line testers will also be an essential part of an organisation’s tech teams) quality will be monitored closer and quality indicators reported on more critically.
Broader automation in testing
Just as advances in automation have broadened the scope and application of RPA in an organisation, so too does it expand its use in the world of testing. We anticipate exploratory testing will be a major beneficiary in improved AI and Machine Learning technology, meaning teams will be able to set up bots to find defects at several points across the software development lifecycle and accelerate the quality assurance process.
AI-driven testing is a field that requires more time to grow but, in three or five years’ time, could yield powerful results. The prospect of AI helping to identify reusable components and skipping unnecessary ones to create test cases more efficiently, improve test coverage, and prevent errors across test activity is enticing. However, we don’t foresee AI-driven testing becoming the dominant or widely adopted approach that other companies are pushing in the immediate future. AI-driven technology remains an exciting realm that businesses want to utilise but, in our experience, frequently rush into which limits their success when positive ROI is critical to win internal stakeholder support.
Increased tech recruitment in retail and the public sector
In 2023 we’re still going to see far greater demand for people with tech skills and an ever-diminishing pool of people able to do the work. Some sectors demand these skills because post-pandemic strategies have made companies accelerate their plans to ensure their survival.
Retail is one sector that we expect to see increased tech recruitment due to the rise of ‘experience retail’. Bricks-and-mortar shops are being constantly evaluated and scrutinised for their cost-effectiveness which has meant increased use of mobile apps, VR, and augmented reality in stores. Fashion companies have been quick adopters of this technology although increased IoT devices such as beacons and smart shelves mean ‘experience retail’ is growing, which suggests a natural increase in tech recruitment to provide and maintain these experiences.
While many companies showed great resiliency over the last two years, it should not be underestimated that the speed they were forced to work at may have resulted in corners being cut. The people already in these organisations were well and truly tested just trying to get things out the door – to make these new systems sustainable, organisations will have to grow their teams.
The public sector also has interesting room for growth. We anticipate that more local authorities will address the pressing need to support growth in their areas by ensuring the right skills are delivered for the right roles. This demands investment to support delivery – a greater pooling of talent and resources not only within the public sector but also as a local commonwealth of digital talent shared in their developing SME community.
In 2023, look for the public sector to strengthen its in-house skills and breed a new generation of ‘hybrid officers’ who can navigate not only their professional requirements but also understand their place in a broader digital world. This will ensure a deeper and more effective transformation of core public services.