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Planful 2023 Predictions: The Year that Opportunity Meets Accountability


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

2023: The Year that Opportunity Meets Accountability

By Sanjay Vyas, Chief Technology Officer at Planful

2022, as it turns out, has been something of a reality check. Crypto and blockchain, two of the more heralded technology trends, may have reached the end of their honeymoon period. The metaverse is far from dead, but its practical relevance seems further away than ever.

Communication tools best known for their rise during the pandemic, including Zoom, Teams, and Slack, are quickly becoming commoditized. While their impact on the hybrid workplace is undeniable, other factors seem more likely to determine the future of work. Another recent trend, the overfunding of tech startups, has ended-which may, thankfully, help ease the war for talent.

One big development that remains on track is the rollout of 5G broadband. Currently the service is leveraged mostly for voice, video, chat, and other communication needs. With the deployment pace quickening, however, it's a safe bet that IoT, smart cities tech, telemedicine, and other advanced applications are just around the corner.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two other segments that will continue to drive innovation in 2023, influencing everything from personalized shopping to robotics. Here are the most prominent predictions for the coming year:

The cloud is going vertical. Two years ago, there were only two well-known cloud providers: Amazon and Microsoft. Today we are inundated with cloud services, by a host of providers-a development that is increasingly driving specialization.

We are quickly seeing the advent of vertical clouds that address everything from healthcare and government to manufacturing and finance. On the consumer side, the growth in cloud providers is putting pressure on service costs; many users are embracing app platforms that are cloud-agnostic and highly portable.

In 2023, we will also see a solidification of cloud platforms that serve as an ideal interface for developers to rapidly build innovative applications. It's a continuation of a trend already unfolding; but the solidification will support new low-code/no-code platforms that allow developers to harvest the massive amount of data already in the cloud.

Online platforms will accelerate fast. Mature platform providers with a strong feature lineup are having a moment. As questionable business models and startups fall away, the market has decided to value established vendors with capabilities that actually matter.

Just as with cloud service providers, the move toward highly specialized platforms will expand rapidly. AI/ML tools that support seamless user experiences are highly attractive, and have capabilities that are in strong demand.

The caveat to all of this good news, however, is that mature companies can't coast. Big companies need to act like scrappy bootstrappers if they want to survive. Innovation, patents, nimble decision-making, and release tempo are critical. Engineering will have to continue to develop a more agile approach-along with a good set of course correcting mechanisms, to pivot and adapt where needed.

The AI/ML successes of 2022 will now require accountability. Given the proliferation of AI/ML applications of the past year, the governance, security, and defense of these powerful technologies will become very important.

A greater number of organizations will invest in solutions that allow them to track how their AI utilizes data, as well as explains and justifies how their AI produced specific results. This will become critical when answering questions, for example, about why someone gets denied credit; interested parties will want to understand the data context and potential bias produced by the AI platform. Voice recognition services will need to demonstrate that their AI-based training regimens don't discriminate against groups with certain accents, or against particular immigrant populations.

Fairness and responsibility are vital considerations for any foundational technology-but when machines are making the decisions it becomes even more essential. Companies that utilize AI/ML in the coming year will need to keep these considerations in mind.

In 2023, it will be truer than ever that CTOs cannot, and must not, rest on their laurels or coast in their responsibilities. Much of the tech advances of 2022 came as a direct result of COVID-19-but the post-pandemic marketplace has already drastically changed. The technologies that support it will change too.

As top executives of technology companies will attest, guiding organizations through periods of change will always be a challenge. Leadership is not a popularity contest, and decisions are not always going to be liked. Transparent and courageous leaders tend to find a way of overcoming the obstacles to progress. That's a lesson-and a reality check-that shouldn't be forgotten as we enter the new year.




SANJAY VYAS is Chief Technology Officer for Planful, is the pioneer of financial performance management cloud software. A highly accomplished technologist, Vyas has served in engineering and software development leadership roles at SaaS firms for nearly 25 years. He holds multiple patents in payment authentication and analytics of unstructured data, and is the co-author of "The Cloud Security Rules: Technology Is Your Friend. And Enemy."

Published Tuesday, December 27, 2022 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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