Note: This is the second in four-part blog series highlighting our Top 10 Emerging Technologies in 2022 report. The others are: #1 Show Me That Emerging Tech Magic, #3 Show Me (How Emerging Technologies Will Enable) The Future Of Consumer Digital Experiences, and #4 Show Me The Metaverse.

Forrester’s top emerging technologies for 2022 are out. Here they are:

This year, we focused our emerging technology and trends research purely on emerging technologies, which means we cut big, well-covered topics and things that are more trendy than real technology. For example, you don’t see machine learning, blockchain, or metaverse. Why? Because they are too big, too foundational, and too well known. Or like the metaverse, they simply do not exist yet. Instead, we have drilled a click into the big, hyped-up or worn-out topics to look at emerging technologies that can truly make an impact on your business.

This year, we also introduce a new framework in the report to help answer the biggest questions you face about emerging technologies: 1) can this technology help your company? and 2) if it can, when? In this blog, I call out two emerging technologies that can help every company and that are delivering value right now. Pay attention — you need to understand these, and, since they’ve been around a while, especially what is new and why they are still “emerging.”

A Few Of Our Top Emerging Technologies Are Delivering Value Now

Our data is clear: 59% of firms are traditional in their approach to technology management. For these mainstream firms, two of our top emerging technologies are delivering value almost at once:

  • Cloud-native computing creates public cloud benefits on other platforms. Cloud-native computing technology helps firms build and run modern, dynamic, and scalable applications on infrastructure outside public clouds. Do you have a data center or are you trying a hybrid cloud approach? Are you building sophisticated computer vision applications in your plants or warehouses? Cloud-native computing elements will help your software be more resistant, more efficient, and more easily changed. While almost all firms are implementing some cloud-native technology on their infrastructure, the benefits will only increase as more vendors incorporate emerging capabilities into their offerings.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) will transform your digital experiences soon. NLP is the foundation of your future customer digital experiences. Today, over 40% of consumers are comfortable engaging with brands through text-based interface, but fewer firms offer text-based interfaces, such as chat for customer support, that make consumers happy. While NLP is not new and encompasses many other technologies that have been around a while, it is still rapidly improving. Large language models and transformer networks, to name a few, are helping leaders create conversational AIs that are nearly indistinguishable by humans. It will take a few more years for these new capabilities to surface in commercially viable offerings for mainstream firms; however, many other capabilities such as text analytics and natural language generation are available and beneficial today. Firms with modernized technology stacks and development approaches need to double down on their existing implementation of NLP. Traditional firms need accelerate their experimentation and pilots to better understand the benefits and risk, so they can gain executive commitment to invest.

Want to talk more? Find me at Technology & Innovation North America, September 28–30 in Austin, TX, to talk about how these emerging technologies are helping your firm. I’ll be presenting a pragmatic framework on how to turn all these technologies into an action plan.