IDC FutureScape 2022

Slicing Through the Storms of Disruption
in the Era of Digital Business

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Waves of interconnected economic, political, and social disruptions threaten to better enterprises around the world for the next several years, fracturing business plans.

Digital-first organizations will rapidly adapt to these unsettled conditions, slicing through the storms of disruption by transforming into a resilient digital business where value creation is based on the effective use of fast-evolving and innovative technologies.

Major Disruptions to Address

  • Economic Instability: Inflation & Rising Interest Rates
  • Sovereign Assertions: Geopolitical Fragmentation & Digital Sovereignty
  • Supply Shocks: Lockdowns, Supply Chain Breakdowns & Skills Droughts
  • Escalating Insecurity: Climate Disturbances & Cyber Attacks

Digital Business Strategies to Prioritize

  • Automating internal and external processes based on meaningful intelligence
  • Enabling immersive engagement with customers, citizens, suppliers, and partners
  • Excelling at the attraction, retention, and enablement of digitally savvy employees
  • Adopting an Outcomes approach for products and services

"For the next several years, leading technology providers must play a leading role in helping enterprises navigate the current storms of disruption."

IDC FutureScape 2023


2023 Critical External Drivers

IDC's 2023 external drivers incorporate the global, political, economic and social climate, which is being disrupted by the Russia-Ukraine war, continued pandemic impacts, and more. These factors will dramatically alter the global business ecosystem for the next 12-24 months and beyond. The critical external drivers for 2023 are:

I: Storms of Disruption — Accelerating, Interconnected Uncertainty

While some adaptations from the pandemic are now integrated into global business and operating models, impacts are still felt in supply, labor, and more. Supply chain difficulties and chip shortages are expected to continue until at least 2024. Developing economies, seeking to digitize rapidly, have limited resources, while the speed of technology-enabled solutions marches on. It’s undeniable that these external forces are increasingly interwoven, not temporary, impacting organizations' business and digital plans concurrently, becoming storms of disruption.

II: Geopolitical Reality — Sovereignty in the Digital World

Control and the reassertion of digital sovereignty is becoming an imperative for many. Cyber warfare is an increasingly visible component of the projection of nation-state power and the new hybrid war. Social, economic, and political divisiveness, as well as widespread fuel the accelerating erosion of “social cohesion.” Global competition and divergence in outer space, with growing commercialization, militarization and weaponization, is threatening existing systems and complicating collaboration for the common use of space, adding risk to a divided geopolitical reality

III: Cybersecurity and Risk — Scaling and Evolving Threat Environment

Data breaches add to the increasing concerns and governmental interventions regarding privacy. Ransomware has increased exponentially, while the texture of attacks are much more targeted and personalized. At the same time, organizations find it challenging to respond to cybersecurity incidents due to the severe shortage of skilled professionals. Small and medium-sized enterprises represent a weak link that puts the whole ecosystem at risk. Cyber-resilience is the new name of the game in not only defending against cyberattacks, but also preparing for swift response and recovery when an attack does occur.

IV: Economic Instability — Flurry, Snowball, or Avalanche?

This is the first economic slowdown since the adoption of the “as a service” model for IT and other sectors. Organizations are pivoting to use technology as a hedge against inflation, with staff augmentation, operations optimization, and process automation. While digital acceleration requires tech investment, the rising costs of key components is likely to outstrip budgets. Waves of instability will impact different areas in different ways at different times. Labor market imbalances; protectionism; and widening digital, education, and skills gaps exacerbate the digital divide, increasingly separating relative “winners” from “losers.” Every new crisis heightens the disparities.

V: Global Supply Shock — Refocusing on Multisource and Resilience

Strategies look to reconfigure supply toward “profitable proximity” with a greater emphasis on self-reliance, partner ecosystems, and managing costs. “Multisource” is the supply-side approach to spread risk and reliance across suppliers, providers, and vendors, including new mechanisms for rapid pivots, while the challenges of sensing and predicting demand increase.

VI: Digital Business — Stepping-Stone to the Future Enterprise

Building and leading a digital business is the next step toward the Future Enterprise, with CEOs indicating that digital product and service revenue will jump from the current 30% factor to over 40% by 2027. Businesses that are launched or relaunched in the digital universe are gaining measured operational and competitive advantage, driving digital-native considerations across most sectors. Digital business is bringing together business and digital strategy, where technology is both a common denominator and a dominant driver of value and growth.

VII: Meaningful Intelligence — Differentiated Decision Power

Data literacy and democratization have shifted organizational focus from straightforward distribution of data to more immersive strategies to find and leverage truly differentiated decision power. Metadata is a critical decision support tool, providing context through workflow linkages and automation. Data optimization and democratization are core strategies to mitigate skills shortages, create data-driven decision value, and deliver strong competitive advantage.

VIII: Ecosystem-Based Innovation — Driving Enterprise Value

The enterprise positioned to be bold has the most ecosystem leverage, realizing high-value outcomes to the benefit of both the enterprise and discrete workloads. This next generation of innovation has moved beyond bridging historic gaps and siloed investments with respect to customers, cost, and supply chain; it is now driving long-term and measurable strategic integration of enterprise wide business functions. Successful ecosystem alignment is leading the C-suite discussion. Organizations are investing in creative ways to leverage the ecosystem for both co-innovation and industry leadership.

IX: Embracing the Metaverse — New Levels of Immersion

The “industrial metaverse” will harness the power of AR/VR, IoT, and more to create virtual, collaborative design, manufacturing, and maintenance environments, upping the importance of digital twins. Powering the metaverse will be new devices, interfaces, virtual worlds, creator tools and services, platform tools, and infrastructure and connectivity. However, there are many concerns with the metaverse, particularly security, privacy, and negative impacts on mental health and behavior.

X: Mainstream ESG — Sustainability Is Measured and Mandatory

ESG will be foundational to business purpose and value. The focus on measurement demands data and analysis that goes beyond a traditional bottom-line focus. Accuracy, trust, and integrity are drivers for all stakeholders, with these new reporting demands exposing unprecedented reputational risk; ESG data is now viewed on par with financial reporting, so the trust bar is set very high to avoid perceptions of “greenwashing.” The shift of sustainability to a mainstream operational requirement is magnifying known data issues, particularly where the required data is difficult to identify, gather, and validate.

XI: Work Mode Upheaval — New Models and Leadership

New work models require cross-functional teams — including HR, IT, LOB, finance, and operations — to leverage new disciplines and modes of work aligned with each company’s business goals. Automation, multi-disciplinary capabilities, and democratization of data and workflow add operational complexity, with dynamic resource models like as-a-service causing planning and operational changes that extend beyond the work and impact enterprise risk policies. Employee and customer experience leaders must work together to recalibrate culture, augmentation, and space models that are competitive and aligned with more dynamic and refined work models.

XII: Everything as a Service — Thriving Through the Change

Everything as a service (XaaS) is a driver for change in every sector and ecosystem, with real impacts on both the supply and the demand side of every business. Nonproprietary requirements are serving as a starting point for integration, so solutions and vendors are pressed to be dynamic and interchangeable. Leaders are challenged to find new financial, operational, and governance models that support success in a move to as-a-service.

Join IDC for our 2023 IDC FutureScape Worldwide Predictions Webinar Series to gain insight on how to navigate the winds coming your way.

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