Will NZ Digital Businesses replace Kiwis with robots?

Digital businesses in New Zealand will require 50 percent fewer business process workers by 2018, as the industry shift impacts jobs in different ways.

Digital businesses in New Zealand, and across the world, will require 50 percent fewer business process workers by 2018, as the industry shift impacts jobs in different ways.

However by 2018, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research, believes digital business will drive a 500 percent boost in digital jobs.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Australia this week, Sondergaard further examined the “seismic shifts” in the technology landscape in New Zealand, offering insight into the changing dynamics of the industry, and how businesses can adapt.

Right now, the hottest skills CIOs must hire or outsource for are:

• Mobile • User Experience • Data sciences

In the future, three years from now, the hottest skills will be:

• Smart Machines (including the Internet of Things) • Robotics • Automated Judgment • Ethics

Over the next seven years, Sondergaard believes there will be a surge in new specialised jobs, with the top jobs for digital forecast to be:

• Integration Specialists • Digital Business Architects • Regulatory Analysts • Risk Professionals

“The new digital startups in your business units are thirsting for data analysts, software developers and cloud vendor management staff, and they are often hiring them fast than IT,” he says.

“They may be experimenting with smart machines, seeking technology expertise IT often doesn't have.

“You must build talent for the digital organisation of 2020 now. Not just the digital technology organisation, but the whole enterprise.

“Talent is the key to digital leadership. Build credibility and build the two-speed bimodal IT organisation.”

Become a Bimodal Organisation…

Subsequently, Sondergaard believes Bimodal IT fills the digital divide between what IT provides and what the enterprise really needs.

Mode 1 is traditional, and the systems that support it must be reliable, predictable, and safe (like a great IT organisation), while Mode 2 is non-sequential, emphasising agility and speed (like a startup) because disruption can occur at any time.

Using the example of smart machines to highlight the disruption caused in digital business, Sondergaard claims smart machines are an emerging “super class” of technologies that perform a wide variety of work, of both the physical and the intellectual kind.

For example, school computers have been grading multiple tests for many year, and now they are grading essays, unstructured tests that require analysis.

“Not only is the grading more accurate, but students actually work harder on their essays when they are graded by a smart machine,” he explains.

“Other professional tasks won’t be far behind: financial analysts, medical diagnostics, and data analytics jobs will be impacted. Knowledge work will be automated.”

Smart robots will appear not just on the manufacturing floor, where they do physical work, but in the workplace and even in the home, adds Sondergaard.

So much so that he believes smart machines will “automate decision making” - therefore, they will not only affect jobs based on physical labour, but they will also impact jobs based on complex knowledge worker tasks.

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