Academe urged: prepare for ‘post-digital era’

DO THEY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Accenture Philippines digital lead JP Palpallatoc says the academe needs to make sure its graduates are able to handle complicated tasks. (SunStar file)

TO SURVIVE in a technology-driven economy, the academe needs to prepare a workforce that has a good balance of technology and soft skills, an official of a global technology company said.

Accenture Philippines managing director and digital lead JP Palpallatoc said that while strong technical skills are important in today’s economy, graduates who want to land relevant jobs also need to have good soft skills to rise above the competition.

Soft skills are the character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people. This skills include critical thinking, creative thinking, communication and people skills.

Palpallatoc said schools in the country are investing heavily to equip their students with the right skills. Companies, on the other hand, are reskilling their workforce to handle complicated or critical tasks.

He said the future of jobs entails reconfiguration of work where humans and machines work together, but Palpallatoc said a good balance of hard and soft skills makes a difference, especially in terms of achieving goals.

“We need to continue to encourage (the academe) to develop the students’ soft skills,” he said.

He added that these will be helpful for businesses as they navigate in the emerging “post-digital” world.

Accenture Technology Vision 2019’s report entitled “The Post-Digital Era is Upon Us — Are You Ready for What’s Next?” revealed that enterprises are entering a new “post-digital” era, where success will be based on an organization’s ability to master a set of new technologies that can deliver personalized realities and experiences for customers, employees and business partners.

The annual report predicted key technology trends that will redefine businesses over the next three years—the technologies of distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ); digital demographics; digitally mature workforce; security; and integration of customization and real-time delivery to consumers.

The Accenture study revealed that 79 percent of the more than 6,600 business and information technology (IT) executives worldwide believe that digital technologies—specifically social, mobile, analytics and cloud—have moved beyond adoption silos to become part of the core technology foundation for their organization.

“A post-digital world doesn’t mean that digital is over,” said Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s chief technology and innovation officer. “On the contrary—we’re posing a new question: As all organizations develop their digital competency, what will set you apart?” he said.

According to Daugherty, in this era, simply doing digital isn’t enough.

“Our Technology Vision highlights the ways in which organizations must use powerful new technologies to innovate in their business models and personalize experiences for their customers. At the same time, leaders must recognize that human values, such as trust and responsibility, are not just buzzwords but critical enablers of their success,” he said.

The study showed 89 percent of executives said they are already experimenting with one or more DARQ technologies.

But when asked to rank which of these will have the greatest impact on their organization over the next three years, 41 percent of executives ranked artificial intelligence as number one—more than twice the number of any other DARQ technology.

Eighty-three percent, likewise, said that digital demographics give them a new way to identify market opportunities for unmet customer needs. It noted that tech-driven interactions are creating an expanding technology identity for every customer helping them better understand the preferences of the next generation of consumers.

Moreover, the study revealed that 71 percent of executives agree that their employees are more digitally mature in their organization, resulting in a workforce “waiting” for the organization to catch up.

Enterprises are encouraged to adapt technology strategies to complement the new set of tech-driven capabilities of the workforce now.

Adopting artificial intelligence in the recruitment process is one way that companies can step ahead in the game, said Palpallatoc.

The study also revealed that executives have recognized that security plays a critical role as they collaborate with the entire ecosystems to deliver best-in-class products, services and experiences. But only 29 percent of them said they know their partners are working diligently to be compliant and resilient with regard to security.

Lastly, six in seven executives said that the integration of customization and real-time delivery is the next big wave of competitive advantage.

“Innovation for organizations in the post-digital era involves figuring out how to shape the world around people and pick the right time to offer their products and services. They’re taking their first steps in a world that tailors itself to fit every moment—where products, services and even people’s surroundings are customized, and where businesses cater to the individual in every aspect of their lives and jobs, shaping their realities,” the report said.

Palpallatoc said there are already Philippine companies adopting these upgraded technologies into their operations.

He cited, for instance, UnionBank’s entry into the international blockchain network, which fall under the DARQ trend.

Just this month, UnionBank launched the country’s first two-way virtual currency automated teller machine (ATM), allowing customers to purchase and sell virtual currencies for cash via an ATM machine as part of its sandbox.

“Companies in the Philippines are looking at different technologies right now,” he said.


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