Digital transformation key to being relevant in next decade

By 2025, jobs which were common place in 2015 will no longer exist. Students graduating in 2016, will have obsolete qualifications for which there will no longer be a profession by 2025.

File picture: Alessandro Bianchi. Credit: REUTERS

New business models, like those of Uber and Alibaba, are already industry-shaping disruptors, and each day, new digital innovators are emerging to cause disintermediation and disruption across every industry imaginable.

Traditional enterprises, while presently successful by today’s standards, are scrambling to make sense of Business Digitisation in order to stay relevant in the digital future. Many are attempting to create new digital business models, which will eventually cannibalise their traditional business, rather than capitulating to new disruptive digital start-ups.

Companies are also digitising their products and services, along with operational processes and customer channels. More than 70 percent of top fortune 500 companies have plans to offer their products as a digital service by 2020.

Presently, the 10 most valuable start-ups globally are estimated to have a value of $172.7 billion (R2.626 trillion). And all of them are embracing digital platform-based business models. About 90 percent of the business models in 2020 will be driven by the cloud.

Hiring options

Globally, the number of connected devices will almost quadruple by 2025, significantly altering the skills employers hold most valuable.

Increasing connectivity will change how employees choose to work (for example: remotely, part-time, independently or dispersed), and provide employers with a spectrum of hiring options.

Millennials, most of whom are digital natives, will comprise an estimated 48.3 percent of the global labour force in 2025, while those aged 60 and older will comprise 9.9 percent (compared with 7.9 percent in 2015).

The line between what has traditionally been business and IT is becoming more and more blurred.

Largely due to the early adoption and impact of digital marketing, the chief marketing officer now controls a bigger “IT” budget and influence than the chief information officer. This is only set to increase and expand across the organisation, as digital natives become future business leaders.

What new skills and expertise will be required to lead and manage the digital enterprise of the future?

As robots, AI and digital algorithms continue to replace many jobs and professions; new and emerging professions by 2025 will focus more on human interaction, augmented through digital mechanisms. Jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics, such as cultural deftness, caretaking, or empathy, and creative thinking, are those least threatened by automation.

The ability to work anywhere and anytime will fuel the digital nomad trend, which is highly appealing to millennials, but will also blur political and economic boundaries and test national labour codes.

AI, its subfields, and automation will create some specific reflecting trends associated with new and emerging technology advances.

Career gains from AI and automation include: AI technology and automation salesperson; specialist programmers; cybersecurity experts; engineering psychologists; robot and automation technology manufacturer, distributor, servicer and refurbisher; technology-specific trainer; neuro-implant technicians; virtual health-care specialist; virtual reality experience designer.

Digital transformation cannot be ignored without becoming irrelevant, and an adaptive digital strategy is imperative.

The digital workforce will be largely millennial, and significantly different from today in terms of culture, leadership style and skills.

AI, robots and digital algorithms will automate many professions, but jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics – or which are critical to the development of digital solutions – will be in great demand by 2025.

A holistic digital transformation strategy, which considers the digital workforce along with the business model, process and customer channel dimensions, will be imperative for organisations wishing to remain relevant in the next 10 years.