Given the accelerated pace of technology advancements, it’s impossible to be certain what the business landscape will look like in five years’ time. What is certain is that the technology landscape of tomorrow will be very different than what we are experiencing today. Those who embrace new technologies will reap the benefits and competitive advantages, while those that don’t, risk being left behind.
Most recently, exciting new technologies related to AI and connectivity have quickly become key drivers for digital transformation – making a positive and lasting impact on businesses, irrespective of industry. As data is the lifeblood of modern society and the business landscape, the importance of the network, fiber and the emerging use of 5G are key technologies that are becoming ever more prevalent to the efficient functioning of every-day life.
As technology and innovation continues to reshape business operations and processes, adapting to evolving needs related to talent and skills has become a top priority for executives worldwide.
Once a niche skillset, digital talent has become essential in the workplace and is often an organisation’s biggest competitive advantage. A recent study from global analyst house, Gartner, shows that just a fifth of employees have the necessary skills for their current and future roles, and this has two-thirds of business leaders showing concerns for competitive advantage if their organisation doesn’t become digitalised by 2020.
Attracting the best talent through diversity
While accelerating digital transformation is creating the need for employees with a fresh set of skills, some employers are struggling to find and retain talent. Finding the best people, with the right combination of skills and knowledge to put these technologies to work can be increasingly difficult and underpins the already growing digital skills gap that exists within our society.
Given this pending shortage, workforce diversity has never been more important. We have an enormous pool of potential digital talent but to make the best use of it we need to draw deep from the entire pool – not just part of it.
As we strive for a balanced workforce – the focus should be placed on hiring and retaining the best talent, by ensuring equal access to formal education, and also investing in internal training. Intelligence, knowledge, creativity and innovation are not specific attributes to gender, race, or religion, or socio-economic background, they are characteristics that can apply to everyone alike. By striking a diverse workforce, we attract the best people, improve productivity, enable greater innovation and grow the business and our reputations.
Cultivating a new digital mindset
To deliver true digital transformation, new technology applications must be accompanied by a corresponding change in culture, one that embraces an open mindset and welcomes experimentation, learning and growth.
Businesses must invest in building a digital mindset within the company, by preparing employees with the relevant education, tools and processes they require. No matter where a company is on their digital transformation journey, business leaders must take steps to create a supportive, adaptive workplace for the people who can help the company grow to the next level.
Invest in workforce reskilling
Emerging technologies such as AI, have the potential to increase productivity, reduce costs and accelerate innovation. It is therefore crucial that focus must be placed on workforce retraining to ensure that people and processes are aligned to optimized new technology.
As technology continues to advance, rolling out a one-size-fits-all training program is ineffective. In order to see results, reskilling need to be individually tailored to each person and as dynamic as the evolving role technology plays within a business.
If companies do not invest in the right environment for lifelong learning and upskilling, they run the risk of losing talent. Businesses need greater foresight and must invest heavily in training today, in order to drive return on investment tomorrow and future proof their business for years to come.
Creating an inclusive culture of innovation and continuous improvement is now a business must. If traditional companies do not adapt to make the best use of digital advancements, they face the very real reality of being potentially put out of business altogether.
Disruptive technologies do not totally eliminate existing technologies and processes, but they do often eliminate those businesses that fail to adapt. The television did not eliminate radio, just like the internet did not eliminate print media. However, for those who fail to acknowledge the impact of these disruptive technologies, those businesses cease to exist in today’s competitive landscape.
We cannot predict the future, but we can ensure we have the right talent and skills in place for when innovation and technology inevitably disrupts proceedings.
Susan Bowen, CEO