The pandemic expedited the implementation of technologies


​​Petr Štros believes that this year’s technological trends will feature long-distance deliveries, automation and data-driven companies. These will help companies deal with the lack of manpower, says the boss of Cleverlance.

The last two years were, as far as the world of technology is concerned, a bit like “dog years” – each saw as much change as seven normal years. Or, at least that’s how the boss of Cleverlance, a domestic technology company, sees the pandemic’s impact. He believes the during the pandemic it was possible to successfully implement technologies into practice at breakneck speeds – the rate of changes in many companies was previously unforeseen. And so everything is moving ahead at an incredible pace.

In his commentary for CzechCrunch, the boss of Cleverlance – a company in Aricoma Group which recorded 1.4 billion Czech crowns in revenue – spoke about the technological trends that we’ll see in 2022 and about what companies should focus on if they don’t want to get left behind or even strive to be part of leaders in technology.

Technology trends accelerated by the pandemic on one hand further deepen the lack of IT specialists on the job market who would be able to help implement new technologies. On the other hand, these can help many companies deal with the lack of experienced employees of many other professions.

Communication technology allows them to “remotely” make use of employees who are outside of the standard geographic range of their branch offices and plants. At the same time, it is possible to for instance “algorithmize” the key expert know-how of the organization which was previously held by now-leaving senior employees, and in this way make it available for the next generation.

Remote delivery of services

Working from home (and long-distance work in general) allowed companies in many professions to also incorporate employees into their teams even if they are from areas that would otherwise be out of the range of their branch offices. This “decentralization” of work is also accompanied with the ability to deliver services and products “remotely”, without the need to be physically present at a customer. IT and tech consultation companies from India, Vietnam, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, North Macedonia, Poland and the Czech Republic nowadays commonly provide their services to companies from Western Europe and North America.

The sale of clothing and groceries online is now also common, and based on the Cushman & Wakefield consultation company this is set to even double year-by-year. Car manufacturers as well as used car dealerships are introducing platforms for online sales, allowing customers not only to choose their vehicle but also to take care of financing, signing leasing contracts, paying the first instalment as well as agreeing on the method and location of the handover.

In 2022 the ability to make digital deliveries will also be indispensable for companies where previously one could not even imagine this development. That is why IT suppliers are currently dealing with, among others, a growing customer interest in e-shops connected with client systems and digital-marketing platforms that can customize their offers to specific visitors.

Demand in the area of tailor-made software is also on the rise, since companies need to create customer portals that would allow them to provide their digital services. However, it is well known that the IT job market is by now nearly completely saturated. So, is it possible to meet the growing demand for IT services?

Automation and artificial intelligence

The terms “automation” and “artificial intelligence” are most frequently used in the context of the digital transformation of companies. But another important role of these is the ability to “algorithmize” the key expert know-how of the organization which was previously held by now-leaving senior employees, and in this way make it available for the next generation.

It is worth noting that not only IT may need to deal with a lack of qualified employees. The boomer generation as well as a part of generation X are in the process of retiring. In 2022, the median age of the Czech Republic will reach 43 years (meaning that half of its inhabitants will be younger and half will be older). The rate at which experienced employees are being replaced by their younger colleagues is probably the fastest it has ever been.

Storing the expertise of departing experts and keeping it in the company so that it can be used in the future is something artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic decision-making can help with. One advantage of software with AI elements is that it is capable of machine learning. This allows technologies to help companies not only retain their know-how, but also to develop and use it much at a much quicker pace in turn leading to a competitive advantage.

Typical areas where these technologies are used include cross-selling and up-selling, assessing loan requests as well as maintenance planning and management. They are used for instance to flexibly adjust prices for individual groups of customers. In the last two years, they also expanded to other areas and this trend will accelerate further in 2022.

Data-driven organizations

Information systems for decision-making are a well-established concept by now. IT has long provided support for company decision-making through the introduction of ERP systems, management information systems, business intelligence and similar platforms.

In the past, systems for the support of decision-making were used primarily for easy access to data, “drilling down” and breaking down information into details and analysis from multiple perspectives. However, the conclusions were left up to humans.

Nowadays, the trend has shifted to “single-purpose” online dashboards that analyze the entrusted data and use knowledge models to provide users primarily with indicators, conclusions and recommendations based on the obtained values. These are applications that are capable of identifying anomalies, pinpoint them and recommend a suitable reaction without requiring users to search for these anomalies in the data themselves or to analyze their causes.

Examples of such services in 2022 will include, for instance, customer service management, real-time online sales monitoring, productivity tracking, stock management, appraisal of real property values and assessment of the current status of a software product in development based on an analysis of the timeline of results from regular tests. In 2022 the rate at which these cloud-based services start appearing on the market will see a considerable increase. For companies, this means they shouldn’t be afraid of providing their data to trustworthy third parties – parties which are already preparing for this today and are massively investing in IT security.