As the world makes the slow descent from the pinnacle of the Covid pandemic, a love affair with cloud applications endures for many businesses. Throughout the pandemic, cloud business applications have proven to be a lifeline—connecting distributed teams, enabling payments, and providing businesses with an enduring virtual presence. I believe this relationship will flourish in 2022.
The business landscape has changed forever. Work From Anywhere (WFA) culture is here to stay, empowered by the flexibility it provides employees and the opportunities for worldwide talent appropriation it gives employers. WFA tools will spearhead the direction of business apps in 2022, but they won’t be the only driver. Expect to see employee engagement and data analytics tools, along with apps to meet demand in digital projects, top the bill, too.
The keyword for 2022 will be agility. And apps that operate in the following areas will provide the foundation for companies to achieve it.
Productivity Tools for Distributed Teams
In November 2021, Microsoft launched Loop, a productivity suite developed in response to the hybrid work era. Microsoft signals that the new suite will adapt Office tools for distributed teams. “Microsoft Office—Transforming for the hybrid world” is the headline on the product launch page.
With a major player like Microsoft heralding a new era in workforce structure, there’s no doubt that other companies will release comparable apps. Whether these productivity apps focus on specific areas such as collaboration, communication, or business management remains to be seen. Still, the doors are open for easier ways to streamline the remote work environment.
Employee Engagement and Community Building
Engaging the workforce has always been a critical concern for businesses. Not only do engaged employees stay longer with your organization, but they are also more likely to innovate because they are emotionally invested in the company.
The WFA era has introduced many hurdles for employee engagement strategies, and it’s now more difficult than ever to foster a sense of community. That’s why I predict that dedicated employee engagement apps could feature prominently in 2022.
Beyond increasing productivity and streamlining the management of distributed teams, employee engagement apps can offer an opportunity to recreate physical engagement in a virtual setting. One app already excelling in this field is Lattice. As well as providing engagement facilities, the app enables employers to set performance goals, provide transparent career advancement protocols, and more.
Reduced Capital Expenditure
With so many companies taking a financial hit during the Covid pandemic and various physical assets underused or unnecessary, many are undoubtedly scaling back on capital expenditure. I believe this will result in more of a focus on cloud-based business applications.
During this phase of adaptation, countless businesses have been forced to expand their efforts at digital modernization. Fortuitously, out of this necessity, business leaders will have gained the cost-cutting benefits of migrating legacy systems to cloud business applications.
In 2022, I predict that the size and scope of the average organization’s business app suite will grow considerably. With this, there will likely be a flood of niche business apps that ride on the back of this universal recognition and willingness to transition into digital-led businesses.
Built-in Data Analytics
One thing that has refused to slow down since the onset of the digital revolution is the expansion of the datasphere. The term Big Data is almost obsolete. Today it’s hard to categorize enterprise data assets as anything but colossal.
With an increased reliance on business applications, I predict that data analysis will play an increasingly important role. There is already a trend in app development to include analytics and reporting tools. And that makes perfect sense.
Now take analytics a step further: Suppose a company is producing data points constantly in every aspect of its business, including day-to-day productivity management. Business leaders must put this data to good use. There are already many dedicated analytics applications out there, but I see the trend of incorporating analytics features into new applications taking over.
Apps at the Core
No doubt, the WFA revolution has dominated my predictions for the imminent future of business apps, but that’s because it has been so profound. From communication to productivity and workplace happiness, every aspect of business has been thoroughly altered by this new way of working. Business apps are at the core of the solutions that have been, or are yet to be, devised.
This article appears in the Predictions 2022 Edition of the Acceleration Economy Journal Download the Full Journal Here