It’s no surprise to any of us: the future is here. In our outside worlds, sophisticated technology has become ubiquitous; it’s efficacy impossible to ignore. But that doesn’t mean businesses are always able to keep pace with the radical disruption and rapid pace of change that we’re experiencing in our personal lives.
In fact, in many cases it’s the opposite. Organizations are struggling to keep up with evolved technology, leaving them losing the race against their competitors. Businesses these days must be resilient to change, practice flexible and continuous adaptation and put business transformation front and center of board agendas. But with 52% of business leaders believing that the speed at which their organization can move is a major blocker to digital technology adoption, never has the mandate been clearer to rapidly evolve both business and people to succeed.
Let’s explore what role technology could play in facilitating that vital change and supporting both present and future business success.
Technology: troublemaker or enabler?
It’s ironic really. The same wonderfully smart technology which allows our businesses to be more efficient, productive and well, smarter, is also creating a bucket load of business challenges too. You’ve been there: you solve one problem and that solution brings a whole new set of issues for the business. You plug one hole, and five more arrive.
In fact, did you know that as many as 30% of jobs will be replaced by automation, yet according to the World Economic Forum, machines will create 58 million new jobs. Sounds contradictory, right? But it’s not.
Whilst in many cases technology is ousting people from roles where remedial, administrative tasks dominate, it is also creating jobs too. Jobs in artificial intelligence, big data, automation and more. Roles which just didn’t exist ten years ago.
These jobs are great because they work harder to keep businesses adaptive, mobile and efficient. But those new roles also need new skills, capabilities and ways of doing things in order to be successful. Surely we can’t expect to embrace all this new, innovative tech and not need to upskill or reskill our people too?
Connected technology keeps workers safe, upskilled and compliant. It also optimizes business time and money, but only when utilized and executed effectively. The good news is 70% of companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one.
Digital transformation using technology
Innovation vs business transformation. It’s a continuous dichotomy and a difficult balancing act at times. Because sometimes the places and spaces where a business can find the biggest impact can be overlooked. For example, many organizations could save reams of man hours by using technology to improve efficiency and automate tasks which a human is no longer required for. Or it might utilize technology to keep the business safe, free from risk and therefore minimizing litigation costs. Not sexy, but definitely worthwhile.
It’s not surprising, then, that 94% of organizations say they need to invest in technology and invest in the workforce to succeed. Whatever the use, technology has a place in our organizations. But what are we looking for it to do? What role does it play in a modern organizational landscape?
Closing the skills gap
The benefits of investing in our people through upskilling and reskilling are impossible to ignore. The role that technology plays in this task is vital. A recent report from PwC found that wide-scale investment in upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030. Interestingly, it also found that “the regions and economies with the biggest gains are those in which the skills gaps are larger and therefore the potential is greatest to improve productivity through skills augmentation aligned with new technology.”
Yet again we see how technology continues to create opportunities, but only if we focus on using tech to support the conscious acquisition of new capabilities and skills in our workforce.
1. Proactive redeployment and re-employment of skills
According to the World Economic Forum, there are key areas a business should focus on to accelerate the closing of the skills gap. They call for a ‘reskilling revolution’ and ask businesses to focus on initiatives that are aimed at skilling, upskilling and reskilling their workforces.
A first step in doing that is understanding the skills requirements of the organization (both now and in the future) and mapping them to available skills within the business. There are many technology solutions which can automate and support this process, but ultimately businesses should be seeking automation, AI and efficiencies to make this process as simple as possible.
2. Promoting lifelong learning and upskilling
Once a business understands the skills landscape of their current workforce, they can begin to identify opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, whilst freeing up employees’ time to learn using tech to streamline more administrative operational tasks using automation.
Primarily, organizations should be focusing on understanding the capabilities of their people and considering whether they’re robust or resilient to the undoubtedly changing business environment of the future. If they’re not, it’s time to consider how to promote learning as a fundamental part of business culture.
Building business resilience
We don’t know what the future holds. We don’t know what technological innovations are yet to be conceived. But what we do know is that change will continue to be a constant for businesses who want to thrive in competitive markets.
It makes sense then, that smart businesses utilize the technology at their disposal to drive efficiencies, increase productivity and ultimately embrace new ways of doing. We have an opportunity to reshape the workforce by upskilling workers to enter the newly emerging markets of tomorrow, and progressively gain an advantage in the process. Let’s not waste it.
Want to learn more about how to prepare your organization for the future? Why not explore our ebook?