Digital transformation and the rise of the ‘superjob’

digital job

(Samuel Zeller, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content


evolving business landscape puts organizations under constant pressure to innovate. This has made digital transformation a top priority for businesses. For some, digital transformation efforts are yielding positive results. However, many companies are struggling to reap the benefits of digital transformation, as becoming a digital enterprise is no small undertaking. It requires comprehensive, systemic change.

True digital transformation requires a lot more than implementing a new website or mobile strategy. It entails executing across a broad programme of digital initiatives, or “digital pivots”: adopting flexible, secure IT infrastructure; mastering the use of data; cultivating and engaging with an ecosystem of technology partners; implementing intelligent, automated workflows; training programmes to focus on digital competencies and making judicious use of flexible, contingent talent models to rapidly access in-demand skills; delivering a seamless customer experience; and expanding the organizations’ array of business models and revenue streams.

 

recent Deloitte study on digital transformation documented the power of the digital pivot approach and found that companies that execute a broad set of digital pivots were more likely to achieve positive financial returns from their efforts.

The digital pivots require savvy investment in technology. But just as importantly, they require investment in people. And a broad and ambitious digital transformation programme is much more likely to be successful if guided by strong leadership from the C-suite.

Here are a few observations on the role that technology, people and leadership play in digital transformation.

Driving transformation through technology

One of the digital pivots listed above – implementing intelligent, automated workflows – is getting a lot of attention because of the growing power of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Today, a wide range of companies are experimenting with AI, and the early results are promising. In fact, 82% of early adopters report a positive return on AI investments, according to Deloitte’s 2018 State of AI in the Enterprise survey.

Investments in AI are improving competitiveness, with 63% of surveyed executives saying AI initiatives are needed to help them catch up with their competitors or even open a narrow lead.

Despite the rapid evolution of AI technologies themselves, and the positive results some early adopters have achieved, we are still in the early days of AI-supported transformation. Companies need to grapple with a range of issues to take advantage of AI, from understanding which applications can bring the greatest value to laying the technology and data foundations necessary to build AI applications, to managing the risks associated with implementing AI – ranging from new potential cyber vulnerabilities to privacy and ethics concerns. In addition to all of this, companies need to reckon with human implications of AI and automation technology.

Investing in people and machines

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey, 41% of respondents are already investing in automation extensively, across multiple functions. AI is playing a role here. AI-powered automation can eliminate the need for humans to perform routine work tasks, and can empower workers to create more value by enabling them to produce better results and focus on higher-value tasks. It is up to businesses to recognize and harness the power of humans and machines working together. Despite all the talk of artificial intelligence eliminating jobs, we believe the greatest value of AI will be realized by using it not to eliminate work but rather to transform work.

Image: Deloitte

One way this is happening is through the rise of what we call “superjobs”. These are jobs that combine technical skills with soft skills such as communication, service and collaboration. And they often bring together work and responsibilities from multiple traditional jobs, using technology to both augment and broaden the scope of the work performed. For instance, imagine an entirely new human resources role that might be called “employee experience architect”. The person holding such a superjob would take advantage of technology to automate answering routine questions, while focusing primarily on the outcome of delivering an effective workforce experience. In this job, the work encompasses more possibilities, greater productivity and, ultimately, a more meaningful experience for workers.

To maximize the value of their technology and people assets in the process of digital transformation, companies must focus on creating these superjobs. This will require training to ensure that talent has the right skills to implement and work with AI effectively. Retooling training programmes will be important to help talent focus on building digital competencies. The access to flexible talent models will be important for businesses to tap into in-demand skillsets based on need.

Cultivating strong, visionary leadership

We have found that strong leadership from the C-suite is critical for overcoming challenges associated with digital transformation. Digital transformation requires executive sponsorship and engagement, both to convey the message that digital transformation is a priority and to facilitate collaboration throughout the organization.

C-suite leaders can also help achieve their digital aspirations by cultivating a “digital mindset” in themselves and their organizations, encouraging the practice of looking at old problems and processes through new eyes and approaching them in new ways. Supporting experimentation and enabling and encouraging people throughout the organization to challenge and improve upon best practice is important for success. According to the digital transformation study mentioned above, higher digital-maturity organizations are nearly four times more likely than low-maturity companies to strongly agree that their organization and incentives encourage smart risk-taking to innovate and grow.

The digital transformation journey

It is a cliché to say that we are living in a time of unprecedented change. What is less often noted is the role that business leaders must play in helping their organizations navigate these turbulent times. Savvy investment in technology has never been more important. But the challenges of the digital era, or the era of Industry 4.0, requires much more than new tech. It requires organizations to embrace comprehensive change. And this must include bringing people along on our digital transformation journey – a journey in which we must continually reinvent ourselves and our organizations.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

These technologies are playing a major role at the Cricket World Cup

Eurozone guarantees all banks with…taxpayers’ money

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Mine ban agreement ‘has saved countless lives’, but ‘accelerated efforts’ needed to end scourge for good: Guterres

The Commission calls for a climate neutral Europe by 2050*

G20 LIVE: G20 leaders reaffirm OECD’s role in ensuring strong, sustainable and inclusive growth

Senior UN children’s advocate says they ‘should never be targeted by violence’

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

Parliament cuts own spending to facilitate agreement on EU budget

Europeans are living beyond Earth’s means

Here’s why the tech sector could be the next target for Chinese investment in Africa

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

New UN rights report paints bleak picture in eastern DR Congo

Saudi Arabia must halt air strikes in Yemen, says UN panel

Trade war or not New York bankers will have it their way

Public health through universal health coverage can help to attain many SDGs

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

TTIP wins first crucial EU test: MEPs give in to the trade agreement

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

Health is nothing but the main consequence of climate change

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

‘Growing alarm’ over Fall Armyworm advance, with cash crops ‘under attack’ across Asia

UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to escalation of fighting in southwestern Syria, as thousands are displaced

Annexing Jordan Valley would end ‘illusion’ of a meaningful two-State solution: UN rights expert

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

Banks, insurance giants are free again to abuse the real economy

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says UN chief

Impact investment favours expats over African entrepreneurs. Here’s how to fix that

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

EU: The Member States to pay for national banking problems

‘All efforts must be made’ to ensure peaceful elections for Guinea-Bissau, Security Council hears

Top UN court rules it has jurisdiction to hear Iranian claim against US over frozen assets

Brussels terrorist attacks: Schengen in danger once again while leaders gather Europe’s multiple broken pieces

Aid spending fell in 2018, for the second year in a row

Palestine refugee crisis ‘expanding’; leaving highest number at risk this century across Gaza

Electronic cigarettes – The alternative we’ve been looking for?

UN Security Council ‘utterly failed’ Syrian detainees; a victim voices her plea to ‘end impunity and stop this horror’

Water is a growing source of global conflict. Here’s what we need to do

UNICEF urges governments to repatriate thousands of foreign children stranded in northeast Syria

Food safety: New rules to boost consumer trust approved by MEPs

‘Laser-sharp focus’ needed to achieve Global Goals by 2030, UN political forum told

Myanmar companies bankroll ‘brutal operations’ of military, independent UN experts claim in new report

5 technologies that will forever change global trade

Davos participants call for digital trade deal

Does the West reserve the fate of Libya and Syria for others? How does this relate to the EU’s Neighborhood Policy?

With field schools in Kenya, UN agriculture agency teaches techniques to combat drought

China has made a shocking food production discovery – electro culture

Latin America is a mass-transit powerhouse. But it needs fine-tuning

UN celebrates books as ‘bridges across cultures’

How can batteries become more sustainable? This young scientist might have the answer

US-China trade war at point of no return: Washington’s demands go beyond tariffs

Yemen talks: Truce agreed over key port city of Hudaydah

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s