To be able to transform businesses, it is important to understand the digital world. To be digitally fit enables you not just to compete with your competition but also to disrupt them. Read on as we discuss five things that every organisation should do if they want to survive in the digital age.
The interesting thing about both aspects is that the first steps taken are very similar each time. After identifying the problem to be solved, the next step is to determine the tools that will be used to solve it. A solution that includes many, if not all, of the following components: sensors (read devices for the so-called Internet of Things), analytics services, and cloud storage services.
Once this stage is completed, we will face reiterative calls for a transversal digital transformation. In other words, it is to apply that initial formula to all sectors of the economy, crossing them as if they were a spider web capable of sharing information among all the points it connects.
At this point, the equation becomes more complicated because we begin to add security protocols and other limitations imposed by the legal framework of the jurisdiction where the sensors will be present that will collaborate in carrying out bureaucratic processes to the transversality of the 4.0 economy.
Everything is fine from the standpoint of productivity and efficiency. However, nothing is as simple as it appears in the worlds of technology and economics. To begin, consider that all of these more efficient processes fall into two broad categories: enabling technologies and replacement technologies.
As you might expect, replacement technologies are those that make certain jobs obsolete, leaving individuals who must be retrained in other skills in order to re-enter the workforce. Of course, it’s not that simple, because the psychological and social consequences of this process can be quite harsh for those who lack the necessary guidance or support to reinvent themselves at work and look for a new job.
On the other end of the spectrum are enabling technologies, which create job opportunities for individuals who are already in the location of their deployment by collaborating with the worker, increasing their productivity and, thus, their value to their employer.
What is striking about this process is that, historically, from the time of the Roman Empire to the present day, workers with fewer skills and education have been disproportionately impacted by replacement processes. There are numerous academic studies in this area; simply entering a library and looking for the writings of Acemoglu, Biacabe, Bormann, Frey, Restrepo, and Wisskirchen will yield empirical evidence of how the benefits of technological advances have not been distributed symmetrically among the population. Those who have suffered the most have been the most vulnerable.
Previously, rulers could choose to continue with inefficient processes and reject the implementation of new technologies out of fear that the political cost of an increasing number of unemployed would jeopardise their mandate. This type of experience can be found in the imperial era of Rome as well as in the kingdoms of Poland and England during the Middle Ages, to name a few examples.
In other parts of the world, governments have been looking into ways to update and improve people’s education, addressing both the new number of unemployed jobs that are gradually becoming obsolete (it is important to note that this is a slow process) and simultaneously creating the necessary structures to provide the tools and skills that the new labour force requires.
It is precisely at this point that the well-known transversality, which is promoted as part of the well-known digital transformation, must be put into practise. Governments must review their initiatives and begin to design pedagogical and training schemes that respond to the massive transformations occurring in the labour field. From the establishment of technical schools for worker retraining to the expansion of the number of technical careers available in the market.
The work is complex, and it should not be limited to universities or other tertiary study centres; rather, digital skills should be taught beginning in primary school. There must be incentives that allow a worker to study a short technical career that allows him to live in an increasingly digitalized environment without worrying about not receiving a salary to pay the bills that arrive at his home on a monthly basis.
In other words, there can be no digital transformation and no national connectivity strategy can be expected to succeed unless education serves as its foundation. At the end of the day, the most valuable resource a country has is not its devices or the technology of its telecommunications infrastructure, but rather its human capital.
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