AMS Think Tank Blog

Posted in: Industry Happenings, Leadership, Management

Digital Disruption: Why the jobs of today are not the jobs of tomorrow and what to do to prepare by Cody Martin

Change, disruption, evolution, transformation. These are all great buzz words that I’m sure you have heard thrown around in your stand-up meetings. You have likely seen these words while scrolling through your LinkedIn feed – an F100 organization talking about how the organizational shifts of late have been the result of a much-needed evolution.

As a managing principal with a global consulting firm, I have the privilege of being on the front lines with many of these organizations as they look to transform their people, processes, and technologies. Throughout these engagements, I am afforded the opportunity to learn – from every size company, in every industry, all across the globe – what works and what does not, thus enhancing the ability that I have to help effectively steer an organization to the most appropriate finish line.

We live in an age where data is everywhere. Many of us, without even knowing much of the time, are collecting data on a daily basis.

“Am I better off taking the Green Line to Park St. Station? Should I just take an Uber? Well I took the Green Line yesterday and for once it didn’t break down, but I have a presentation this morning so I ought to take an Uber and mitigate the risk of being late”. Here is a good example of an everyday decision being made by analyzing data. We make these observations much of the time without even knowing the influence or impact that this might have on the remainder of our day. Moral of the story here, we are all data machines, subconsciously vacuuming the massive amount of information that enables us to make decisions on a daily basis.

Take that example and apply it to a global organization. Data and advanced analytics play a massive (if not deciding) role in many businesses today. With the introduction of new digital technologies, organizations are now storing an incredible amount of data, the volume of which is exponentially growing day by day. These piece of information are enabling businesses around the world to make decisions based on evidence, not assumptions.

I can hear you now – “All of this is great Cody, but I already knew that”. The thing is, this data-driven society is now changing the jobs of tomorrow.

I guess “changing the jobs of tomorrow” may not be the proper terminology for what I’m trying to convey here. In this data-driven society, organizations struggle in decision making when it comes to reskilling their workforce. While the jobs in a certain business or industry may not change in a wholesale fashion, the skill sets needed to perform those jobs more effectively and more optimally will.

For example, strategic thinking has long been a sought after skill in the toolbox of an executive. While the actual job function of an executive may not change dramatically as the result of a digital transformation, the strategic thinking skill of ten years ago is no longer the same that is needed within that business unit or within the business in general. Take that strategic thinking and add a twist of innovation. Take that strategic thinking with a twist of innovation and pour in the need to disseminate analytics in order to drive action and business results. Take all of that and top it off with the need to work alongside artificial intelligence and you have now developed a sustainable tool for an executive to manage a business. Pair this with the countless other tools that have always been necessary but now have a “new paint job” (managing a distributed workforce to now managing a globally distributed workforce) and you have an entirely transformed executive toolbox.

This need for reskilling in a data-driven business climate is not going away and is only holding organizations back from realizing their full potential in this digital era. Businesses that are afraid to invest in this reskilling are hesitant to grow, and rightfully so. Some get comfortable where they are, some do not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The bottom line is, to transform, you must learn, and to learn, you must be willing to make the investment in order to equip your teams with the tools necessary to drive sustainable results in this ever changing digital, data driven business climate.