Experts from analytics and AI leader SAS share their cross-industry predictions for the year ahead.
In 2022, the world adjusted to and worked to recover from a global pandemic and international conflict that displaced millions of families. This was compounded by global energy costs increasing sharply, while and supply chain issues and other disruptions persisted – all contributing to the highest global inflation rate in decades, prompting a domino effect across economies. Furthermore, the last few years of cultural disruption, environmental disruption and digital transformation have required everyone to adjust – fast. The growing expectation is that organisations must be change-ready, putting resiliency at the top of the minds of business and technology leaders. Curious as to what 2023 will bring and taking an analytical view, several of SAS’ foremost industry experts predict what organisations must remain cognisant of this year when it comes to building resiliency into their operations.
Investments in renewable energy skyrocket
"The adoption of renewable energy sources will accelerate in 2023. This will prompt innovation and investment into energy storage technologies. Recent disruptions in the energy sector pipeline have spurred opportunities in long-term energy storage at both the technology and policy levels. As such, if fossil fuel costs increase, along with other fees, it will be appealing for energy producers to invest in renewable infrastructure. Look for countries that are significantly suffering from disruptions to lead the way," Nancy Rausch, Director, Research and Development
Low-code analytics brings AI to the people
“In 2023, the concept of ‘analytics for everyone, everywhere’ will not only be a major trend to watch but also a critical way for businesses to achieve maturity in AI. As organisations continue to embrace machine learning, computer vision, IoT analytics, and more to gain valuable insights, people of all skill levels will be empowered to participate in the analytics process through low- or no-code options,” Jared Peterson, Senior Vice President of Engineering.
Examining human biases improves AI bias
“It’s widely understood and agreed upon that AI can be biased. In 2023, the industry will extend our beliefs to accept that biases are in us and around us; they are central to our humanness and influence how we make decisions. Developing AI that predicts and mitigates harmful biases is the first step to securing the necessary trust to move forward without replicating past mistakes,” Reggie Townsend, Director of Data Ethics Practice.
Data deprecation is top of mind
“2023 will be the year that marketers respond to data deprecation. The imminent demise of third-party cookies in 2024 means brands must rethink their entire customer data strategy, from zero-party data through first- and second- to third-party data. The change presents an amazing opportunity for brands to divest themselves of poor marketing practices that relied on third-party cookies and develop closer, more trusted relationships with customers. Enhanced trust and transparency will lead to stronger customer relationships, more effective marketing, and ultimately, better business outcomes, which are more vital than ever as we face economic headwinds,” Jennifer Chase, Chief Marketing Officer.
Generalist data scientist becomes specialised
“The recent focus has been on training data scientists as generalists in coding, algorithm development, and open source on the most dispersed topics. However, data scientists need to gain industry-specific knowledge when faced with a real-world business problem. Often they lack an understanding of the dynamics, trends and challenges of a specific industry and the ultimate goals everyone is looking to achieve in that niche market – stalling projects at the onset. In 2023, data scientists with industry-specific knowledge will be the most successful in meeting business demand and expectations, and we will see data scientists seek specialised training,” Marinela Profi, Data scientist and Product Lead for Analytics and ModelOps
Esports and blockchain will converge
“Blockchain and esports will continue to converge, and there will be blockchain-first-built games in the next five to 10 years. Esports now relies heavily on analytics, machine learning, and AI to provide a professional experience for gamers and fans worldwide. From finding parity in players during matches and analysing interactions inside each universe to tracking and promoting inventory you can buy – the data to analyse in gaming is endless and will continue to grow.” Bryan Harris, Chief Technology Officer.
Industrial adoption of AI upskills the assembly line
“Organisations will increasingly add computer vision and other AI technologies that operations professionals can use within the industrial IoT environment, not just IT staff and data scientists. Computer vision initiatives will focus on yield improvement, operational efficiency, and safety,” Jason Mann, Vice President of IoT.
Real-time data storage replaces the data warehouse
“In 2023, we will continue to see organisations move away from traditional data warehousing to storage options that support analysing and reacting to data in real time. Organisations will lean into processing data as it becomes available and storing it in a user-friendly format for reporting purposes. Whether a manufacturer monitors streaming IoT data from machinery or a retailer monitors e-commerce traffic, identifying real-time trends will help avoid costly mistakes and capitalise on opportunities when they present themselves,” Jay Upchurch, CIO.
Digital twins improve supply chains, reduce climate impacts
“Climate change frequently obstructs supply chains by stifling the movement of commodities, rerouting freight, and even stopping employees from traveling to work. Organisations that engage in analytics and talent development will improve real-time situational awareness of climate disruption as many nations seek to enhance production. Supply chain teams will use digital twins and simulation to speed up decision-making so they can respond more rapidly to the reality of the connected supply chain. These digital-twin applications will be supported by partners that will combine capabilities to improve time to market, costs and accuracy,” Dan Mitchell, Director of Global Retail & CPG Practice.
Diverse, equitable and inclusive work culture drives huge business impact
“Companies will rely more on the HR people and analytics teams to understand their people data and analytics to create workforce plans. Companies need data to understand what skills they have, what are required to drive business initiatives and where to skill up to inform their learning and development strategies. Data will also help ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are part of a company’s business strategy beyond HR. Employees and candidates want a culture that embraces belonging and acts, tracks and measures results to drive meaningful change in all business areas.” Jenn Mann, Chief HR Officer.
By Mabel Schrimpton
GTM Marketing Lead: South Africa & Sub-Sahara Africa, SAS