From an “owl” that sits in your conference room providing 360-degree audio and video, to an AI-powered app that intelligently cancels out background voices—many technology tools are leading the way in digital transformation for 2022.

Below, we’ll review the top digital transformation trends this year. But first, let’s establish a definition. 

What Is Digital Transformation?

In his book, Why Digital Transformations Fail, Tony Saldanha defines digital transformation as “The migration of enterprises and societies from the Third to the Fourth Industrial Revolution era. For companies, this means having digital technology become the backbone of new products and services, new ways of operation, and new business models.

Like computers and the internet drastically changed society starting in the 1980s (Third Industrial Revolution), this Fourth Industrial Revolution, Saldanha says, will be “the melding of the physical, digital, and biological worlds today,” such as how brick-and-mortar stores now have online shopping too.

Digital transformation is about leveraging technology to perform better as a business. It’s not about the latest shiny object or doing enough to survive—digital transformation is crucial to helping companies thrive.

So what’s in store for 2022? Let’s dive in.

The 6 Digital Transformation Trends to Watch in 2022

1. Employers will become more intentional about technologies that connect remote and in-person experiences.

From 2020 to 2021, digital transformation efforts focused on the transition to working from home, but in 2022, it’s all about optimizing hybrid work—striking the right balance between working remotely and collaborating in-person.

How can tech help? Take the Meeting Owl, for example. It’s a smart device that sits in an office conference room and projects 360-degree audio and video to remote meeting attendees. In an effort to mimic in-person collaboration, the Meeting Owl creates an immersive experience, zooming in on whomever is speaking at the moment. And its AI-driven Owl Intelligence System ensures the device gets smarter over time.

Digital transformation in 2022 will continue to focus on blending in-person experiences with remote work benefits.

2. The Great Resignation, coupled with customer fatigue and increased expectations, will force a shift to employee- and customer-centric experiences.

After the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, employees started leaving companies in droves, termed The Great Resignation. In this candidate-driven market, employees have more options and are more selective than ever.

On the flip side, customers have higher expectations than ever, too. According to a 2021 Forrester report, 42% of customer service decision-makers think that customers expect faster customer service. 

So how can you keep employees and customers happy? Companies that wish to thrive in this new era will need to leverage technology to deliver a better employee and customer experience—a tall order, admittedly.

But as with most things, the right technology can help. Employee experience software provides the data and resources to track and improve company culture and employee sentiment. And customer experience software can consistently measure and track CSAT and NPS scores, provide AI insights, and conduct surveys to ensure you’re meeting (or exceeding) customer expectations.

In 2022, more than ever before, companies will be forced to think less of their bottom line and more of the people they serve. Interestingly enough, though, by focusing on the latter, the former will improve, too.

3. Becoming more agile and flexible will be top of mind for businesses preparing for the next crisis.

The constant and often abrupt change forced by the pandemic made one thing clear: Companies that want to thrive must be able to adapt quickly. In 2022, after two years of reacting to sudden changes, organizations will finally have the breathing room to step back, evaluate their processes and technology, and find ways to become more agile, so the next crisis doesn’t catch them off guard.

According to Adobe’s 2022 Digital Trends report:

“While 92% of senior executives agree that ‘our ability to be agile will determine our success as a marketing organization,’ only 31% of practitioners rate their organization’s agility in responding to opportunities and disruptions that may arise 8 or higher out of 10.”

The Adobe report recommends focusing on training and development by looking at existing stacks and lessening the burden on employees by using automation capabilities, as well as investing in learning and development programs to improve workers’ digital skills. 

Additionally, the following technology will make agility and flexibility possible:

  • Cloud computing: By breaking free from on-premise servers, companies are able to be more flexible and save money. 
  • Documentation: Documenting processes makes it possible to adapt quickly and modify processes as situations change. Without documentation, teams are left scrambling to figure things out last-minute. Knowledge management software will be a key focus for many businesses in 2022.
  • Workflow management: Software, such as Airtable, Hive, and ClickUp, create an online space where your documentation can live. It also enables your organization to have a centralized repository where any employee anywhere can easily check on projects, helping your team run smoothly.

4. Employees will demand more AI-powered tools.

At this point, AI itself is nothing new in the grand scheme of the relatively fast technological cycle. But new applications of AI are still on the upswing. Gartner predicts that in 2022, AI software revenue will reach $62.5 billion—up 21.3% from 2021. In 2022, Gartner says companies will focus more on AI maturity and invest more in finding ways to use AI for knowledge management and to enhance the new digital workplace. 

On using AI to enhance knowledge management

Knowledge management is one way you can ensure a single source of truth exists in your workplace, streamlining information and ensuring everyone knows where to find documentation. AI-enabled knowledge management software, like Lucy.ai, makes it easier to aggregate information into a single repository–using Natural Language Processing to understand the context of an employee’s search and therefore helping them find the most relevant information fast.

On using AI to enhance the digital workplace

Your team wants more AI. According to February 2021 data from SnapLogic, 81% of employees say AI boosts their work performance, and 68% want their company to implement more AI-based tools.

Krisp uses deep neural networks (a subfield of artificial intelligence) to learn the difference between your voice and unwanted background noise. The result? Every virtual meeting you attend will have crystal clear audio—improving call quality, productivity, and the employee experience. 

5. Marketing organizations will take advantage of this last chance to prepare for a cookieless future.

Google announced that it will begin phasing out third-party cookies—which track online behavior—in Chrome beginning in mid-2023, making 2022 the final year for marketers and advertisers everywhere to figure out how to stay afloat. With third-party cookies, companies are able to serve more relevant ads; it’s why you look at a pair of shoes on one website and then keep seeing ads for those same shoes everywhere else you visit on the web.

But with consumers becoming increasingly concerned about privacy, third-party cookies are getting the boot. So organizations that rely on advertising will need to find new ways to intelligently serve ads, while still protecting user privacy.

HubSpot reported data from GetApp, which found that 41% of marketers think their biggest challenge in a post-cookie world will be “their inability to track the right data.” And 23% intend to shift their budget to email marketing software to get around Google’s changes. Email marketing provides a way for users to opt in to certain interests, allowing marketers to segment based on user-provided (versus third-party) data.

What will replace third-party cookies? One possibility is Google’s Privacy Sandbox, which is still in development. According to Google, “The Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to create technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers tools to build thriving digital businesses.” It remains to be seen how these technologies work and whether they’ll provide advertisers with the same level of revenue.

6. Companies will invest in upskilling their workforce on cloud computing.

As entire workforces went remote, cloud adoption hastened early in the pandemic. McKinsey found that 65% of organizations increased their cloud budgets because of the Covid crisis. But now, companies are investing in helping employees gain new skills and creating expert technologists to fully take advantage of the cloud. 

According to Pluralsight’s 2022 Tech Forecast, cloud maturity (not adoption) will be the focus this year. Pluralsight, which provides expert-led technology courses, reports an increase in viewership on cloud-related courses, indicating that many businesses are upskilling their employees to better understand this complex field. In fact, 2021’s most popular course from A Cloud Guru (a company Pluralsight owns) was Intro to Cloud Computing. 

Cloud maturity will mean investing in skills assessments and courses to help your company’s IT team and technologists optimize your cloud infrastructure.

Where Will Digital Transformation Trends Take You in 2022?

Use these digital transformation trends as a guide–and not a hard-and-fast rule. Remember, trends often come and go, but they speak to the overall needs that businesses are trying to fill as we come out of the pandemic. 

Skim through this list once more and see which tools you can test with a free trial. Many software companies offer free subscriptions or trials, so you can see if it works well for your company before committing. 

An easy place to start? The Krisp noise-cancellation app grants you 60 minutes of noise-free meeting bliss every week—at no cost to you. Try Krisp here.