Last year we made several predictions for fintech in 2021. At that time, we’d had nearly a year of COVID lockdowns, and the world had changed overnight almost beyond recognition.
Consequently, digital transformation was accelerating dramatically, with projections for 2025 brought several years forward. So how have our predictions borne out? And what’s new in the crystal ball for 2022?
1. The rise of real-time financing
Last year, we predicted that this would be a game-changer for businesses that were struggling with cashflow. Instead, real-time working capital/invoice financing solutions and digital credit cards would help cashflow and funding. We also predicted that better integration into cloud accounting platforms, improved lending algorithms and increased competition would spearhead this trend.
With Iwoca recently joining the open finance partnership platform mmob and SME lending marketplace Funding Xchange, and Waddle partnering with CBS to create Stream Working Capital, we reckon we got this one right.
In 2022, real-time reporting will drive decisions
While businesses may still have mandatory external reporting requirements, internal periodic reporting will no longer drive operations and decisions. When information is instantly available, traditional cycles will no longer make sense.
2. The end of CAPEX in tech
We also foresaw an end to large CAPEX investment in the configuration and implementation of tech solutions. Everything would be on tap, on-demand and more agile.
The rise of SaaS exceeded all expectations. With remote working, instant deployment was the only option. You couldn’t send the IT team round to everyone’s home offices even if you wanted to.
In 2022, everything you can imagine will be “as-a-service”
Infrastructure (IaaS), desktop (DaaS), business processes (BPaas): everything will be on subscription. We now live in a rent-to-use world, not a buy-to-own world. This gives SMEs access to mid-market products, and medium-sized companies the ability to deploy enterprise-grade solutions.
3. Increased adoption of low-code platforms
We anticipated the increased adoption of low-code platforms in 2021, making it easy and affordable even for smaller companies to build their own apps.
Forrester, Gartner and IDC all remain very bullish on low-code. Many organisations have also embraced low-code platforms. Providers such as Appian, Kissflow and Pega Systems have enjoyed stellar growth in 2021, with tech titans such as Microsoft and Oracle also continuing to bring out low-code tools.
In 2022, there will instantly be “an app for that”
Speed and cost will remain critical for businesses that will need to stay agile and able to pivot at a moment’s notice. As the charge to digital progresses, apps to manage and automate new tasks will be created in hours. Developers will increasingly collaborate with users to roll out rapid solutions.
4. Provenance: getting supply chain transparency
Our fourth forecast for 2021 was better supply transparency. We predicted that organisations would increasingly want to audit their supply chain, not only for efficiency but also social responsibility.
Consumer demand for transparency only increased, with continued COVID-related disruptions sharpening the focus on “buying local”. We’ve seen innovative blockchain solutions appear that offer verified information about products. Major brands are looking at more sustainable practices, such as recycling, ethical sourcing, and carbon-zero production.
In 2022, trust and transparency will be table stakes
Consumers, partners, suppliers, regulators, insurers will all want transparent information about the processes used to create and supply products and services. Trust will be critical, ensuring that people are vaccinated, that our personal data is safe, that there’s payment transparency at all levels.
We expect to see a continued acceleration of digital transformation. The “new normal” for most businesses is the widespread adoption of technology that wasn’t as ubiquitous to all as it was prior to 2020. People see the benefits of this trend and business owners see the results.