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Gartner reveals top predictions for 2022 and beyond
Thu, 21st Oct 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Africa will become a world-leading hub for startups; the NFT gamification market will soon explode; one billion of the world's least-advantaged people will have internet coverage thanks to low orbit satellites.

These are some of the predictions included in Gartner's Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users in 2022 and Beyond report released today. The bulk of the report focus on the lessons learned by businesses and IT leaders during ongoing COVID-19-related disruptions, in particular:

  • The push toward human centricity
  • The race to resilience
  • The ability to reach beyond expectations.

“The lesson of the pandemic has been to expect the unexpected and be prepared to move in multiple strategic directions at once,” says Gartner research vice president Daryl Plummer.

“Leaders that embrace options for workers, enhanced enterprise efficiency and accelerated transformation plans have greater resilience in dealing with change.

“Resilience, opportunity and risk have always been components of good business strategy, but today these issues hold new meaning.

“This year's predictions embody how resilience must be built in more non-traditional ways, from talent to business modularity, while opportunity and risk must be viewed with a greater sense of urgency than ever before.

Here are Gartner's top strategic predictions for 2022 and beyond:

Consumers will devalue their own personal data by ‘tricking' their tracking metrics

It's no longer a secret that companies wield people's personal data and convert it into profit. Consumers are aware of their data being used to teach algorithms and manipulate their behaviour.

By 2024, 40% of consumers will trick behaviour tracking metrics to intentionally devalue the personal data collected about them — such as by sharing false details or clicking on ads they aren't interested in, among other tactics.

“By manipulating algorithms and spoiling databases, consumers are defying the adage that insists ‘if you're not a customer, you're the product,'” said Plummer.

“Whether motivated by privacy and security concerns, exposure to misinformation or desire for personal monetary gain, consumers are aiming to devalue the behavioral data companies have come to rely upon.”

More workers will become their own bosses

By 2024, 30% of corporate teams will be without a boss due to the self-directed and hybrid nature of work, Gartner says.

The shift to remote and hybrid working models has eroded the significance of the traditional manager role, and removing it altogether could be ‘a more pragmatic route to efficiency', according to Gartner.

“The role of the manager as the commander-and-controller of work is a major impediment in an era where business agility requires team empowerment and autonomy,” said Plummer.

“Planning, prioritising and organising work efforts still must happen, but it is essential to decouple ‘management' from the traditional ‘manager' role to reap the benefits of business agility and hybrid work.”

Cyber-crime will become cyber-war

Gartner predicts that by 2024, a member of the G20 will reciprocate to a particularly damaging cyber-attack with a declared physical attack.

Nations have historically treated cyberattacks as crime, not warfare. However, as the losses produced by recent large-scale attacks aimed at critical infrastructure have reached unprecedented levels, some governments are moving to prepare for cyber-war via dedicated cyber-defence units.

Increasingly severe attacks will prompt military involvement, acting as a deterrent from attacking critical infrastructure.

Companies will part ways with ‘poor-fit' customers 

By 2025, 75% of companies will “break up” with poor-fit customers as the cost of retaining them eclipses good-fit customer acquisition costs.

Keeping a poor-fit customer is becoming increasingly costly, says Gartner, in terms of time spent satisfying them as well as the opportunity costs, brand degradation and long-term profit erosion that can occur.

Africa will rival Asia as a top startup ecosystem

In 2026, a 30% increase in developer talent across Africa will help transform it into a world-leading startup ecosystem, rivalling Asia in venture fund growth.

An influx of venture capital flowing into Africa has led several nations in the region to develop ‘innovation hubs' that they hope will amplify partnerships between large companies and startups, drawing talent and foreign investment.

By 2024, there will be almost a million professional developers in the continent — enabled by the rise of informal education channels. As this market continues to grow, global investors will reduce their venture investment in China in favour of this emerging market, Gartner says.

NFTs will continue their meteoric rise

By 2026, non-fungible token (NFT) gamification will propel an enterprise into the top 10 highest-valued companies.

Currently, NFTs are being used to leverage hyper-tokenisation to grow business models. Because of this, Gartner predicts that by 2024, 50% of publicly listed companies will have some sort of NFT underpinning their brand or digital ecosystem presence. 

An additional billion people will benefit from internet coverage provided by low orbit satellites

By 2027, low orbit satellites will extend internet coverage to an additional billion of the world's poorest people, raising 50% of them out of poverty.

Using satellite backhaul significantly reduces the installation and operational costs of deploying a cellular base station. Introducing LEO (low Earth orbit) satellite constellations will make it economical to extend network coverage into sparsely populated regions.

“With connectivity comes participation, both economically and politically, in the wider ecosystem,” says Plummer.

“The addition of billions of newly connected ‘netizens' will have a profound impact on the internet in terms of culture and content.