Over the past two years, tech execs have been challenged like never before as they guided their companies through the pandemic’s challenges. The most successful drove customer and employee transformations and accelerated creativity and innovation far faster than we thought possible. However, a large number of firms fell further behind during the pandemic.

In 2022, we believe this story will continue, but with a slight twist. For much of 2020 and 2021, tech execs were focusing on short-term decisions and reacting to unforeseen shifts. In 2022, they’ll shift back to solving longer-term challenges. The ones that do it best will leverage a customer-obsessed approach to technology that enables their company to quickly reconfigure business structures and capabilities to meet future customer and employee needs with adaptivity, creativity, and resilience. We call this future fit, and our data show that future fit companies outperform their peers by 2.8 times.

What trends will differentiate future fit firms from laggards in 2022? Here’s a sneak peek at some of Forrester’s 2022 predictions for technology executives:

  • Cutting-edge tech execs will leap from digital- to human-centered tech transformation. Ongoing digital sameness and failing returns on IT investments are forcing firms to seek new ways to demonstrate business value in crowded markets. Leading firms will tackle this problem by unlocking the creativity of their employees and establishing a new era of transformation comprising human-centered tech initiatives that form a tight link between customer experience (CX) and employee experience. Ultimately, this will result in greater competitive advantage and productivity.
  • A tech talent panic will create broad gaps until new sourcing models go mainstream. Tech execs’ slow move to future fit talent strategies has resulted in a painful talent deficit. IT firms face the highest turnover and see the longest time to fill open positions among all industries. The result is a surge in sourcing demand for tech skills, far outpacing supply. In response, future fit firms will use a cloud-first, platform-based architecture and adopt low-code, no-code solutions to reduce their need for the most advanced technical skills. They will also turn to new sourcing models. Firms that don’t get in front of this challenge will resort to boosting wages to attract talent, resulting in (typically negative) financial impacts for their firm and the overall talent market.
  • The forced, rapid acceleration of technology will worsen tech debt for 60% of firms. Firms have been deploying new digital capabilities in a rush to serve their customers. While these initiatives have short-term gains, the majority of firms will see long-term pains in the shape of inflated tech debt. Future fit firms will successfully tackle tech debt by sharing accountability with their business peers to deliver seamless, end-to-end CX across functions balancing short bursts of rapid execution with long-term approaches to adaptivity, operational value streams, and CX ecosystem mapping — all while modernizing their tech architecture and moving to the cloud.

Eager to learn more about what 2022 holds for tech executives and how you can stay ahead of the pack in the year ahead? Read our full set of 2022 Forrester Predictions here.