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Over the next 10 years, companies world-wide, within all industries, will see greater change than that seen over the past 30 years. Most of these changes will be driven by the intersection between technology and the human experience. The future of work is digital, but don’t confuse that with tools of the past. Quickly advancing technologies will shift all areas, processes, roles and functions of organizations in ways we are only beginning to understand. The great challenge will be if leadership from the C-suite through to the director level will be able to shift with it.
If that sounds a bit dramatic to you, it is, so buckle up for a bit of a ride. Over the next few months we will be publishing a series of articles specifically addressed to the executive with insights and thoughts on what we envision coming down the pipe for the future of business and work. In this, our opening article, we summarize the transformations we believe will become part of a business’ every day.
From car makers to medicine, almost all businesses will be digital businesses, regardless of their product or service. Thriving companies will no longer look at IT as a simple functional support role. The budgets for technology solutions that drive the business will increase to accommodate technologies that are poised to change the world as we know it. Wise companies will position the CIO to partner directly with the CEO in building strategy as the vast number of technologies converge creating business value faster, accurately, and with more automated and robotic assistance than ever before. Executive leaders will require more than just digital literacy. They’ll be faced with increased attention to digital ethics, cyber security, and human rights.
Intelligent and immersive technologies will be taking center stage. We have seen only the tip of the iceberg for capabilities built from data using artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithmic game theory, augmented and virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, cryptocurrency, and quantum computing. It is anticipated that information provided in wearables, such as headsets, and future contact lenses, will shape our reality, providing solutions, marketing, and product direction that was unparalleled in the past. The massive draw on energy needed for the exponential increase in demand for digital solutions, cloud technology, and server farms will force us to rethink energy solutions as we know them. With examples such as the FDA approved XVision headset, an augmented reality guidance system developed by Israeli-based medical tech company Augmedics, surgery and medical care will be revolutionized. The sooner organizations such as hospitals and corporations recognize the massive increase in needed support for the technologies being used, the better. This is not yesterday’s support desk; service management will be responsible for everything from facilities management to HR—we call this Enterprise Service Management—and more and more employees will need to be supported remotely, utilizing tools we already have at hand and some so far only imagined.
Many years with the same organizational structures, management styles, and shareholder focus are creating issues for companies wanting to remain relevant. Companies must remove the blinders and recognize that the explosion of exponential technological growth is the perfect storm for transformation. It is important to support Dev Ops, Agile, and technology advancements by restructuring for design and development, both externally and internally. Transformation is not swapping out a tool. Companies must change the way they do business; focus dollars on new process design, technology, training, and support; and make experimentation the foundation for innovation. Designing leadership training and coaching will include more understanding of the human-technical intersects, impacts, and cultural implications for the processes and activities within a company. Leading will involve purpose, a more human focus and deep empathy in order to keep and sustain exceptional talent. As more and more repeatable tasks are automated, organizations will need to find creative ways to retrain and move people into new roles that never existed before to retain important company knowledge and meet the heavy demand for top technical recruits.
Stick with us over the next few months as we dive a little deeper into the hot topics on which executives will need to focus in 2020 to prepare for the next decade.
Patti Blackstaffe doesn’t just wrangle resistors into using technology. As CEO of Strategic Sense Inc. and co-founder for the leadership development group GlobalSway, she unlocks potential for executives, leaders, and companies preparing for an ever-increasing focus on digital technology. She’s obsessed about connecting humans with technology for amplifying wild collaboration, obliterating silos, and inspiring compelling experiences. When she’s not leading digital leadership initiatives and organizational restructuring, she is an industry advisor for the Business Technology, Management and Analytics Program within the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary, a gallery-showing artist, and she dabbles in spatial computing and augmented reality. You can follow her on Twitter @StrategicSense and connect with her on LinkedIn .
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