Application leaders and business executives haven’t traditionally spent much time contemplating how work will change in years to come. That’s largely because the IT organization has focused on operational excellence and because over the past three decades, the pace of change in the workforce has been relatively slow and predictable.
“ Technologies such as blockchain, AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing will have a transformative impact on how work gets done”
Circumstances have changed. The IT charter is expanding to include a larger focus on individuals, teams and overall business performance, and accelerating technology cycles are rapidly increasing the pace of change in work patterns.
“Digital business models and platforms are fundamentally restructuring how business is conducted. Cloud services are increasing the speed of technology change at a rate unthinkable in the days of on-premises deployment,” says Matt Cain, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “At the same time, the nature of work is being transformed with new work patterns such as the gig economy and flatter organization models, while artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to transform how work is done.”
Application leaders need to anticipate the future of work to understand what IT skills are needed to support the changes and ensure that technology aligns with future work patterns.
“ SaaS applications will accelerate technology change for almost every worker”
Cain highlights three overarching future work trends expected in developed nations in the 2022 – 2026 time frame, along with some of their key impacts.
Worker digital dexterity will become critical
No one knows exactly how this change will impact business, but one thing is certain — the digital dexterity of the workforce is the most effective mechanism to ensure that it can keep pace with and exploit vast amounts of change. Digital change will manifest itself in a number of ways, including:
- The pace of technology adoption accelerates. “The impact of technologies such as blockchain, AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing will have a transformative impact on how work gets done. The API economy and a business platform model forces tech changes into the mainstream,” says Cain. “Along with those transformative technologies, software as a service (SaaS) applications will accelerate technology change for almost every worker through horizontal applications for cloud office and human capital management, and through targeted applications for IT service management (ITSM), finance, sales and marketing.”
- Digital dexterity is monitored and measured. The growing recognition of the importance of digital dexterity creates a demand for measurement, which aligns with analytics becoming more pervasive in the enterprise. Social science-based surveys and observations are increasingly accepted to collect relevant digital dexterity data, which can be combined with machine-generated IT, HR and business data to measure workforce digital dexterity.