From artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), supply chains and big data, specialists from analytics firm, SAS have explained the trends that they feel will define the landscape of the coming 12 months.

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Inevitably, much of the conversation has been influenced by pressures exerted by the continuing pandemic.

Key questions now lie over whether or not governments and business communities around the world can exploit developing technologies such as data modelling and advanced analytics, to address the challenges that plagued us through last year.

Curiosity becomes a coveted job skill

Jay Upchurch, executive VP and CIO at SAS said:

“Curiosity helps businesses address critical challenges – from improving job satisfaction to creating more innovative workplaces. Curiosity will be the most sought-after job skill in 2022 because curious employees help improve overall retention, even during the Great Resignation.”

Covid rewrites AI models

Brett Wujek, Principal Product Manager for Analytics, said:

“The pandemic upended expected business trajectories and exposed weaknesses in machine learning systems dependent on historical data and reasonably predictable patterns.

“This identified an acute need to bolster investments in traditional analytics teams and techniques for rapid data discovery and hypothesizing. Synthetic data generation will play a major role in helping businesses respond to continued dynamic markets and uncertainty in 2022,” Wujek added.

Fraudsters exploit supply chain woes

Stu Bradley, Senior VP of Fraud and Security Intelligence, said:

“While supply-chain fraud is nothing new, it will be a major challenge globally in 2022 as the ongoing pandemic continues to disrupt everything. Businesses have deemphasized risk management for supply chains in their haste to find alternative supply sources.

“Fraudsters and criminal rings won’t miss the opportunity to exploit this situation. Supply chain analytics will drive transformation as organizations strike the balance between continuity and survival on one hand, and risk management and fighting fraud on the other,” Bradley added.

Demand signals help rescue the supply chain

Dan Mitchell, Director of Global Retail Practice, said:

“In retail, expect more low inventories, high demand and ‘out-of-stocks’ well into 2022. Staffing shortages – from store associates to stockers to truck drivers – will be another challenge in 2022; consumers should prepare for longer in-store wait times.

“Overall, the retailers that succeed in 2022’s new normal will deftly use analytics to capture and read supply-chain information and consumer-demand signals, then rapidly respond to supply-chain glitches and changing customer preferences,” Mitchell added.

Analytics anticipate disease outbreaks

Meg Schaeffer, Epidemiologist, said:

“We need to move from finding what is already there to anticipating what happens next. We know disease exists, where it comes from and how it evolves, but we don’t know when those changes will occur.

We must continue to employ analytics to answer those questions, which is critical to identifying future threats to human health,” Schaeffer added.

Covid puts data at the centre of clinical research

Mark Lambrecht, Director of EMEA & APAC Health and Life Sciences Practice, said:

“Much has been said about Covid-19’s long-term effects on clinical trials and research, often due to it becoming more decentralized. The real game changer, however, is the crucial role of regulatory-grade analytics to speed up patient enrolment, ensure an intact clinical medicine supply chain, and generate clinically meaningful research and personalised results from the influx of structured and unstructured information.

Since clinicians are relying increasingly on remote information in addition to that generated in the doctor’s office, we will continue to see more reliance on digital health analytics and AI,” Lambrecht added.

AI and data literacy fight disinformation

Jen Sabourin, Senior Software Developer, Corporate Social Innovation and Brand, said:

“Studies show that false news may be more likely to reach people than the truth. The future will require a combination of analytics and AI running in the background of popular platforms to help provide visibility into the truth.

However, powerful algorithms aren’t enough. We need to continue to build media and data literacy skills that will help everyone detect truth from fiction,” Sabourin added.

Data visibility advances public trust

Tara Holland, Government Industry Principal for Public Sector Marketing, said:

“Governments will be forced to tackle structural changes needed to better use data in three ways: Government must source data at a level of granularity that matches the decisions that need to be made for citizens, deal with privacy concerns around detailed personal information and increase the speed at which data can be shared.

“Workforce investments and legislative action are needed to drive these changes,” Holland added.

AI ethics standards begin to coalesce

Reggie Townsend, Director of Data Ethics Practice, said:

“I anticipate increased focus on AI frameworks and standards driven by regulatory or legislative bodies and, importantly, by industry as well. While it’s not likely we’ll have de facto standards in the United States, companies in other parts of the world like the European Union and Southeast Asia will begin to coalesce around common approaches to AI.”