Our people’s 2023 predictions revisited

12 December 2023

Late last year, we asked Opencast people to share their predictions for 2023. As the year comes to a close, we asked them for the verdict on their own forecasts.

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Prediction 1: An accelerated and more comprehensive focus on delivering sustainable, energy-efficient technology solutions in the drive towards net-zero – Lee Foster, chief technology officer

Lee’s verdict: "The global climate tech market continues to develop, with increasing investment in carbon accounting software in 2023 indicating the growing importance among business leaders of understanding their impact on CO2 emissions. A world-wide decarbonisation rate of just 2.5% in 2022 means that a year-on-year decarbonisation rate of 17% is needed from now until 2050 to limit average global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, placing an even greater impetus on organisations to leverage technology to deliver sustainable, energy-efficient solutions."

Prediction 2: More investment in digital transformation as organisations drive efficiency. Organisations will get serious about sustainability – Tom Lawson, chief executive

Tom’s verdict: “I think organisations certainly prioritised their spending carefully in 2023. We saw projects with longer ROI periods deferred and de-prioritised, and the focus being placed on essential and limited policy driven change activity only. Progress around sustainability certainly gathered pace this year and it’s been great to see that other firms in our sector are taking their role seriously too. Government has sent some mixed messages on their commitment to driving this change at pace, but the alignment across a wide range of our stakeholders (people, clients, society, investors) means that we’ll continue to deliver on this agenda which also supports our B Corp aspirations.”

Prediction 3: Cost pressures driven will mean that intelligent investments into what matters most for employees are going to be critical – Cate Kalson, chief people officer

Cate’s verdict: "We are seeing a slow-down and in some cases a decrease in salary levels in the labour market, driven by the economic conditions, with some technology organisations making substantial reductions in their workforces. This is putting financial pressure on people, as inflation has had a significant impact on the cost of living, particularly energy costs. At Opencast we are developing a targeted benefits strategy that reflects our people's needs, using continuous listening to gather input. It's more critical than ever to balance physical, financial, emotional and mental well-being benefits. Investing in the right technology and communications to encourage take-up of support is key, support needs to be easy to find and simple to use. Companies that take a human-centric approach to supporting employees dealing with increasing costs will build the critical trust necessary to attract and retain talent."

Prediction 4: Industry-wide realisation that open source must be better supported to keep commercial software up and running – David ‘Sarg’ Sarginson, head of software delivery

Sarg’s verdict: “I’m going to score myself one out of two for the low code/no code prediction. Advocates are indeed pushing it and it is true that there have been no major breakthroughs. Sadly an industry-wide realisation of the need to support open source still feels some way off."

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Cate Kalson: "Companies taking a human-centric approach will build the necessary critical trust"
Prediction 5: More conversations with people moving into tech from completely different previous careers mean companies will explore how they can open new opportunities to bring in people from diverse backgroundsEmily Allinson, head of user-centred design

Emily’s verdict: “It’s true that in 2023 we’ve seen more and more people looking to move into tech, but the effect of this has been tempered by commercial realities. Across the sector we’ve seen a much slower pace of hiring and even layoffs, meaning many folks have struggled to get a foot in the door. The adoption of AI tools like ChatGPT has also influenced people’s perceptions of joining tech – new skills, roles and ways of working are emerging, challenging existing expectations of jobs in the sector and placing the onus on people moving in to tech to keep up with a rapid change of pace.”

Prediction 6: People teams will work harder as shorter tenures become the norm. People are seeking a culture and environment with wellbeing at the forefront – we'll see this trumping other motivations – Lorna Madden, director of talent and workforce planning

Lorna’s verdict: “Although many organisations have seen the effects of the economic downturn, the competition for good tech talent remains prevalent in the tech sector. Organisations are more willing to collaborate and support the skills gap closure and talent acquisition teams are having to be more creative than ever before. As organisational recruitment budgets are squeezed, examining brand and having a clear authentic message that aligns with employee needs is even more important for engaging talent. Culture and DEI remain at the top of the agenda, with organisations working hard to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture and breaking down barriers to employment. Although many organisation are returning to the office, getting that balance of home-work-life remains on the priority list and many organisations have spent the year trying to achieve this.”

Prediction 7: Cloud and 5G are changing everything. Greater use of live AI for data capture and visualisation and the ever blurring boundary between gaming and the real worldPaul Crisp, senior enterprise architect

Paul’s verdict: “I made a series of predictions about rules-based AI, enhanced data capture and the blurring of the line between reality, computing and gaming. They are all developing stories. The challenge and the opportunity for all organisations will be in bringing all this information into a properly managed repository, with taxonomies and metadata and interfaces that allow effective sharing. Exciting times.”

Prediction 8: As the need for data increases, so will the need to provide data privacy. This will lead to growth and ideation in the data governance space around visibility of and traceability of the data used in AIGordon Murray, head of architecture

“I think my prediction was not far off the mark at all – in fact, I think it underestimated the impact of AI in 2023. I don't think anyone could have seen the explosion in AI coming this year. It’s revolutionary, scarily fast and incredibly prolific, just a year on from ChatGPT storming the world - and that's just one of the huge advancements.”

Emily Allinson: "AI tools like ChatGPT have influenced people’s perceptions of joining tech

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