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EY: Top opportunities in technology revealed for the year ahead

By Catherine Knowles, Wed 22 Dec 2021

Increased volatility rising out of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a shake up of priorities for the global technology industry.

Emerging as the top opportunity for the year ahead in this landscape, up from fourth position last year, is the importance of attracting and retaining a motivated workforce.

This is according to the annual EY report, ‘Top 10 opportunities for technology companies in 2022’, which ranks the biggest industry success drivers based on EY analysis.

According to the analysts, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency to address already pressing issues around talent strategy in a hybrid working world.

Tech companies are exploring how best to introduce a staged return to the office, with 9 out of 10 employees indicating that they are prepared to resign if they are not offered flexibility in where and when they work.

At the same time, demand for engineers and salespeople is growing exponentially for those investing in growth.

EY Global TMT Strategy and Transactions leader Barak Ravid says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged tech employers to re-examinine the entire value-proposition for talent.

"In order to build a motivated workforce, employers must prioritise finding ways to solve the puzzle of optimising rewards, flexibility and experience, to create a package that cultivates the best talent while managing the associated costs.”

According to EY, in 2021, supply chains came under extreme pressure from market volatility, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other market-defining geopolitical events.

For the tech industry, two major bottlenecks have been around logistics and the availability of components.

The report reflects this, ranking the need to de-risk the supply chain in order to secure business continuity in third place for the second consecutive year.

Ravid says, “Tech companies need to holistically review their entire supply chain. Different risk profiles in the chain require different policies around inventories and sourcing contracts.

"Logistics issues could lead to changes in preferred manufacturing and distribution footprints. Real-time visibility will help mitigate problems at an early stage, while new technologies such as digital twins and 3D printing could reduce the degree of disruption.”

The call to take a strong position on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues comes in at fifth position on the ranking, with stakeholders now demanding more from tech companies, the analysts state.

Employees want to make a tangible difference; investors are seeking sustainable investment options; and customers are looking to the industry to implement new tech that drives sustainable outcomes.

The report highlights that companies must respond by taking the initiative to draw up a long-term value proposition and adopt transparent KPI-led reporting.

Meanwhile, leveraging mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to strengthen the growth profile rises from tenth position last year to second place on the 2022 ranking.

With 51% of technology executives stating that organic growth could be a challenge in the near term, M&A will be key to sustaining growth for many, EY states.

The report indicates that despite increased regulatory scrutiny and financial uncertainty, the deal market is expected to remain healthy.

Ravid says, “Acquisitions across the industry will reignite growth by adding solutions, technologies, end markets and distribution channels to a companies’ portfolios.

"Divestments could also help companies steer away from slower growth market segments or solutions that require the business to build new capabilities. Overall, having the right M&A strategy in place will be critical to realising a better growth profile.”

The full list of top 10 opportunities in technology for 2022 are:

  1. Attract and retain a motivated workforce in a hybrid working environment
  2. Leverage M&A to strengthen growth profile
  3. De-risk the supply chain to secure business continuity
  4. Embed security into the design of new activities
  5. Lead by example in ESG to strengthen stakeholder relations
  6. Transform business to excel in consumption based sales
  7. Realign tax organisation with digital business models
  8. Streamline operations to increase agility
  9. Instil customer trust to drive digital engagement
  10. Prepare for adoption of 5G
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