Advancements in technology have been shaping the trajectory of industries for over 250 years, starting with the first Industrial Revolution in 1760. Over the last two decades however, these advancements have accelerated at an exponential pace. Innovation resulting from developments in computing power and techniques are becoming an integral part of not just our lifestyles, but our lives. This integration has shifted the conversation away from just how industries are affected to how individuals within and outside the industries are affected as well. Today, businesses are looking towards consolidating to a man-machine model, where algorithmic suggestions are guided by heuristic oversight. This paradigm shift poses a difficult albeit interesting challenge for businesses, with an increased focus on bridging the impending skills gap that will arise from the adoption of evolving business models and technology.
The story picks up pace when we talk about professional services firms. Firms like Deloitte are essential partners for success in today’s dynamic landscape, and naturally have to be one step ahead of the game as they are required to come in and quickly develop transformation strategies to help organizations stay ahead of or keep up with the competition. Another major aspect of the challenge they face is internal, where the changing needs of clients directly affect the talent requirement within the firm.
The business landscape has also become more competitive with barriers of entry slowly and steadily succumbing to innovation and start-ups leading the way for incumbents to follow. This gives professional services firms a good foundation, as they can help businesses scale innovation efficiently, using their expertise. Another approach these firms can take to help clients is to point the lens inwards – where the client’s competition is the client itself. In such cases, the focus shifts to not just bringing in new technology, but doing it in a way that eases upskilling the current workforce. Deloitte, for example, has already made big strides towards addressing this skills gap for clients by providing them with scalable solutions such as setting up an Analytics function, capability building, analytics strategy workshops, outsourcing opportunities, etc. Omnia, the AI practice within Deloitte, is helping customers realize how machine learning and other technologies can be used to increase revenue, reduce costs or improve the customer experience.
At the same time, it is important for these firms (and their clients) to enhance their talent hiring and retention strategies, with a shift away from expertise-based selection to an increased focus on employees that exhibit pertinent and adaptive skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. This will complement employee re-skilling, diversity, and mobility, which have emerged as important strategies for change management and workforce planning across industries.
It is imperative for organizations to adapt to the changing patterns of production and consumption. With technology becoming the cornerstone of innovation and progress, being in a position to predict and proactively respond to - as opposed to being reactive to - market changes hold the key to success and sustainability for any business today.
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