Moving forward, looking back: What can we learn from 2023 moving into the new year?

A guest post from Dom Bridgman, Chief Commercial Officer, Amdaris

When reflecting on 2023, it’s difficult to look past the looming cloud of economic instability and uncertainty that shaped the year. If 2022 was a year defined by businesses looking to power new growth through software investment, then 2023 was surely a reaction to economic downturn, as businesses were looking to save money and increase productivity through software instead. The most successful software solutions providers were undoubtedly the ones able to pivot to meet these changing demands, supporting their customers with cost savings and increasing operational efficiency while simultaneously identifying and supporting them towards new growth opportunities.

It certainly wasn’t the easiest year to navigate, but the innovation and technologies that arose in 2023 have offered up plenty of lessons for us to take into 2024 and far beyond.

Two magic letters

The ubiquitous rise of generative AI needs no introduction, and it would be disingenuous to reflect on the past year without referencing it. AI has already begun to influence ways of working all across businesses and brought to rise fears of dystopian realities reminiscent of a Philip K. Dick story. While these fears were largely ungrounded, in its relatively short existence AI has completely transformed how businesses function, from top to bottom. From a productivity point of view it’s been a revelation, but anyone truly paying attention will have noticed the shortcomings of the technology.

Even in projects where AI is at the very heart of the action, more people are being brought in to see what the AI can’t see. It’s all very well and good throwing endless new technologies at projects, but businesses looking to succeed will be the ones pumping the breaks and saying to themselves, “right, I understand what this technology does, but what are its real-world applications?” Using new technology for new technology’s sake is not progress. In fact, relying on what makes things easier, but not necessarily more effective, is a huge step backwards.

The human touch

Which leads to the real threat from AI. By leaning too heavily on automated processes, we risk losing our focus on improving communication, collaboration and cooperation with one another. These ‘three Cs’ — established between real humans — are where the greatest innovations come around, and it’s by settling into complacency with artificial intelligence that the urgency and desire to continually improve gradually disappears. The most talented developers (and, as a result, the most successful projects) are the ones allowed to fully integrate into their client’s business, operating as a consultant and showcasing their collaborative skills as well as their technical capabilities.

The importance of the ‘three Cs’ can be seen in another rising trend from 2023 that businesses would do well to continue and expand on in the new year. More than ever before, organisations are looking outside of their own industries for inspiration. Copying success stories in your own industry simply leads to a market full of clones, but harnessing and adapting the ideas of those far removed from your own can lead to genuine innovation. This year at Amdaris, we’ve brought several of our disparate clients together throughout the year for innovation days, encouraging the porting of ideas between the industries. The reception to these sessions has been overwhelmingly positive with clear, cross-industry influences already starting to emerge.

2024 and beyond

If it’s not already abundantly clear, the key trend that the technology industry should collectively be doubling down on in 2024 is the emphasis on collaboration and cooperation. Businesses who bring their developers into the ‘why’ behind their ambitions stand to best harness the talents of their team. Rather than setting developers loose on a task with the ‘why’ being waved away with an obscure or vague explanation, readily offering up the detail behind it gives a resolute focus and a different perspective, encouraging personal growth within developers. Being allowed into the inner workings and decision-making world of a business makes everyone feel valued and, again, it ticks that box of sharing unique perspectives and collaborating towards new levels of functionality and efficiency.

This talent-led approach should be defining 2024, particularly as even more new technologies arise. Much like with generative AI, shiny new innovations will remain a distraction to businesses, which is why we should be constantly reminding ourselves that our people are our greatest asset. In the world of technology, new innovations aren’t going to magically produce world-class products. Taking the time to understand your consumers with a product-led and design-led approach will; having the patience to embark on a comprehensive digital evolution journey will; and trusting in collaboration among real people will.

By investing in our people, and seeing AI and other technologies for what they are — tools, not solutions — the future looks bright. We can only guess what 2024 has in store for us, but by adopting the right mindset and committing to learn from the past year, we have all the capabilities to meet new challenges and opportunities confidently and creatively.


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