As information technology leaders, we are called upon to captain our organizations’ internal and external digital transformation journeys. These are, of course, journeys without predetermined end destinations, and we must chart perpetual paths forward that allow our organizations to meet evolving needs with advancing capabilities while upholding strong ethical practices.
Looking back on the lessons learned in 2021, it is clear that organizations are more reliant than ever on leveraging data to optimize business efficiency. While my current professional focus rests on technological developments in the real estate market, the lessons we have learned in this regard span across industries. Fundamentally, we are all experiencing a digital reimagining of business practices, professional relationships, and user interactions that demand personalized experiences that strengthen—but do not replace—the human experience.
So, as we approach a new year, I want to highlight three key data technology trends I expect to emerge and develop in 2022 and beyond:
1. Enhancing the Human Experience with Artificial Intelligence
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to essentially digitize their business practices and customer servicing processes overnight. But as we become more and more online in our professional and personal lives, we have seen an express desire for technology to augment, but not replace, human-to-human social interactions. That artificial adoption will increase in 2022 is a foregone conclusion, but I believe that we will concurrently see a focus on AI to enhance and empower human relationships as virtual and hybrid business environments expand.
In the real estate industry, for example, the agent and homebuyer/seller relationship is paramount and must be built on a strong foundation of understanding and connection. Through AI-optimized social media marketing tools, for example, agents and brokers today can connect with an audience of buyers and sellers that is not only larger than a network grown organically but is also more likely to generate stronger leads and lasting professional relationships.
2. Proliferated Use of Integrated and Smart Data
All organizations rely on data for predictive analytics. However, data is often siloed while organizations fail to present or use it in a comprehensive, integrated manner. In 2022, I believe we will witness the integration of “big data” into the big picture of business efficiency.
In real estate, a powerful use of data is to combine metadata analytics and usage patterns. Doing so allows agents to recruit prospective clients more efficiently as well as optimize the monetary split between a broker and agent when a property sells.
3. Enabling (Unbiased) Decision Intelligence
In 2022, I also expect to see the combined use of data, analytics, and AI to identify decision patterns, accelerate automation, and provide intelligence. However, systems reliant on AI risk progressing biases. To promote fairness, I believe 2022 will bring renewed discussion and enhanced best practices on how to ensure data remains reflective of all users—not just the “majority.”
Put yourself in the shoes of homebuyers assembling a list of all the aspects they are looking for from their purchase. Real estate technologies allow agents to compile listings tailored to the specific desires of their clients; however, the utility of those results relies on data that is both up to date and wide ranging. Tools optimized by AI are only as useful as the comprehensiveness of the data that powers them, and, in an industry as personal as real estate, organizations have a responsibility to ensure their data usage and collection is wholistic, secure, and free from discrimination.
As we become increasingly reliant on data to expedite and grow our virtual services, our focus must remain on individuals. Organizations in possession of such data have a responsibility to not only protect that data, but also to ensure that its utilization is centered on uplifting the user experience internally and externally. In 2022, I believe our technology will become more human, more integrated, and more intelligent. But to realize that prediction, we technology leaders must remain attuned to the needs of our team members, our clients, and our customers in equal measure.