Navigating the Crosswinds
in a Digital-First World

IDC FutureScape 2022 Register Now

Conditions brought on by ongoing health, social and economic disruptions continue to accelerate digital transformation, bringing the world closer to its digital-first destiny.

Although the world is firmly planted in a digital-first economy, the economic and business outlook for the next three years will remain highly fluid. Disruptive and complex societal, macroeconomic, microeconomic and technology currents are flowing rapidly across one another, creating choppy winds for business and technology leaders to navigate.


  • Ongoing Pandemic
  • Geopolitics
  • Expanding Digital skills

The IDC FutureScape webinar and research series for 2022 will focus on the cross winds where the ability to adapt and accelerate will impact your organization:


  • Changing Technology Norms
  • Social & Environmental Sustainability
  • Systemic Industry Change


  • Government Stimulus
  • Revived Consumer Demand
  • Accelerated Digital Innovation

With the acceleration of the digital transformation curve will come structural changes:

Addressing the gap between digital haves and have nots as consumers and workers.

Reshaping of industry ecosystems though greater connectivity and data sharing

Growing ascendancy of digital start-ups along with widening gaps between digital thrivers and survivors

Shifts in the supply side across the economy built on intelligence and automation

New approaches for how and where goods and services are produced and consumed

"The economy remains on its digital destiny with 65% of global GDP digitalized by 2022."

IDC FutureScape 2021


2022 Critical External Drivers

IDC's 2022 external drivers incorporate the continuing disruption of the global economic and social climate, which continues to be affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in many areas of the world. These factors will dramatically alter the global business ecosystem for the next 12–24 months and beyond. The critical external drivers for 2022 are:

I: Pervasive Disruption Continues - Volatility, Opportunity, and Resilience

In an interconnected world, any disruption is felt across the entire ecosystem, leading to more volatility, challenges, and opportunities. Survival is linked not to size or strength but to resilience and the ability to change. Adaptations and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming permanent, requiring revised global business and operating models. Digital resilience approaches counter supply chain disruptions. Innovation and digital resiliency become key to navigating ongoing disruption.

II: Geopolitical Risk - Societal and Economic Tensions Irrupt

Social, economic, and political discourse have risen to a new level of tension, causing instability in social foundations, widespread misinformation, and an accelerating expansion of geopolitical risk. Exploding sources and volumes of information feed a cycle of polarization. Government policies and actions, including censorship and curtailment of internet access, are becoming more forceful regarding citizen information rights, privacy, censorship, intellectual property, and abuse of monopoly power.

III: Cybersecurity and Risk - The Threat Environment Just Keeps Scaling

Cyberattacks keep making global headlines. Ransom affected organizations talk about pre-hack versus post-hack approaches to the chain of management, policy, and process: Cyberthreats now pose serious financial risks. Effective management of risk and trust is a new competitive advantage in which "trust = value, brand, and reputation"; now, a trust framework incorporates security, compliance, privacy, and social responsibility and ethics.

IV: The Future Enterprise - Thriving in a Jungle of Agile Innovation

Innovation's accelerating velocity is enabled by digital technologies, software, AI, and cloud, which fundamentally democratize access to the building blocks for innovation. Dynamic change provides a constant imperative to innovate both technology and cross-functional solutions. Organizations with the ability to quickly sense and respond to market changes and dynamics are key to strategic innovation in the enterprise now and in the future.

V. Embracing Digital First - New Strategies for Complexity and Ubiquity

Organizations are shifting to a complex hybrid world, changed by delivery of "anything, anywhere" and customer requirements that redefine product and service expectations. Enterprises must address the complexity and continued evolution of hybrid work, delivery, customer engagement, and supply models. Exponential change will come from successfully embracing and exploiting new complexities in innovative ways.

VI: The Velocity of Connectedness - The Future Is Data in Motion

The velocity of connectedness has changed how people socialize, shop, learn, work, and collaborate, creating a rich, seamless, immediate, and interoperable experience, regardless of the location of people and data. The communications industry's journey of systemic change will have broad, long-lasting consequences. The challenge and opportunity will be creating innovative connected products and services that expand current advances.

VII. Intelligence on Demand - Navigating the Torrent of Data

Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing a key role in interpreting and harnessing huge volumes of data to create insight and value and enable dynamic learning across the organization and in the flow of work. And as automation and augmentation increase, so do concerns around trust, visibility, and responsibility. Organizations that strike that balance and harness data, AI, and learning will achieve an asymmetrical advantage in the market, benefiting from superior predictions, improved engagement, processes, operations, enterprise decision making, and resilience.

VIII. Digital Ecosystem - Thriving in a Multiplatform World

A digital business platform is the assembly of technologies, capabilities, and data upon which digitally enabled organizations run. In the emerging multiplatform world, infrastructure, pervasive compute power, data management, intelligence, and connectivity can all be provided independently as services. The new dynamic is to integrate them at scale to gain control and minimize technical debt while still providing choice.

IX: Globalization 2.0 - Shifting Strategies for Materials, Machines, and Workers

Globalization strategies are being augmented with new emphasis on self-reliance, partner ecosystems, minimizing disruption risk, and managing costs. These strategies and concerns about national economic security are redistributing capital to address critical component shortages and risks. Skill shortages continue to drive investment toward higher levels of automation. While some price volatility will be short lived, there is consensus that permanent inflationary pressure will build around commodity and labor costs.

X: Environmental and Social Responsibility - A New Stakeholder-Driven Imperative

Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) is a dominant trend that influences investments and capital allocations in many global economies. Organizations with favorable ESG will outperform others; will gain the support of customers, society, and governments; and will be better able to attract and retain skilled employees.

XI: Workforce Outlook - Redefining Teams, Reinventing Models, and Rethinking Leadership

Challenges facing the 21st century economy require that workers engage as dynamic and reconfigurable teams that can adapt to business demands and new market requirements. Organizations are becoming more agile and redrawing traditional boundaries. A significant challenge, the global competition to find, hire, and retain digitally skilled employees is now paired with the challenge to find employees skilled in communication, critical thought, and creativity.

XII. Engagement Reimagined - From Responsive to Anticipatory

The online digital experience has become more important in distinguishing one brand from another. Companies with the best price, coolest product, or most memorable marketing campaign do not have an advantage compared with companies that provide "empathy at scale" in safe, secured, and seamless experiences. Companies need to understand the different contextual expectations of their customers — whether they are students, patients, consumers, or businesses — and shift how they engage and support their customers to create experiences that are empathetic, personal, compelling, and relevant.

Join IDC for our 2022 IDC FutureScape Worldwide Predictions Webinar Series to gain insight on how to navigate the winds coming your way.

Register Now