Digital Transformation (Dx) has made working in IT more challenging than ever.
The speed and scale of automation — and the ways in which it’s disrupting the workplace — are unprecedented.
While IT professionals have always been continuous learners due to technology’s fast pace, adapting to new technologies is only half the Dx battle.
Companies are finding that the greatest barriers to Dx success are IT culture and business alignment. According to the 2018 Future of Work Survey by Appian:
- 50% say culture and collaboration are greater barriers than technology or cost
- 27% cite lack of collaboration between IT and LOB as the top roadblock
With IT leading Digital Transformation efforts in 9 out of every 10 organizations, it’s critical that IT professionals be able to collaborate effectively across the business.
What prevents effective collaboration from happening?
Poor communication, according to Appian:
“The lack of collaboration based on ineffective communications is the internal challenge preventing businesses from keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation and meeting their transformational goals.”
Other research and experts agree that communications and “soft skills” are now critical success factors for IT professionals:
- Cognizant Digital Business Chief Strategy Officer Paul Roehrig says: “We may live in a digital world, but soft skills like communication, problem solving, collaboration and empathy are becoming more valued than technology.”
- Bernard Marr, author and futurist, says that jobs now require “very human qualities like communication, empathy, creativity, strategic thinking, questioning and dreaming. Collectively, we often refer to these as ‘soft skills’, but don’t let the name fool you. These soft skills are going to be the hard currency in the job market.”
- Kai–Fu Lee, author of AI Superpower, says, “The skills that make us uniquely human are the ones that no machine can replicate. The future of jobs will require creative, compassionate and empathetic leaders who know how to create trust, build teams, inspire service and communicate effectively.”
- Accenture emphasizes the need for a growth mindset, perseverance and emotional intelligence: “Cooperation is working with others for mutual benefit, and collaboration is a deeper communal effort toward a shared goal. In the digital economy, people will need to cooperate and collaborate with both colleagues and technologies.”
- A World Economic Forum report says that automation will accelerate skill shifts: “Social and emotional, or so-called ‘soft skills’ are key. These include advanced communication and negotiation, empathy, the ability to learn continuously, to manage others and to be adaptable.”
The good news about investing in soft skills?
These are skills that endure. Soft skills are essential skills that will continue to differentiate you and drive your success—no matter how the world changes around you.
So, to all of you IT professionals who can’t wait to learn about IBM’s 20-qubit, superconducting quantum computer (and yes, it’s exciting), consider investing first in building the communication and collaboration skills so vital to leading today’s Digital Transformation efforts.
The Future of Work, 2018 Appian, www.appian.com/future-of-work/.
Roehrig, Paul. The Future of Work. Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, https://news.cognizant.com/Roehrig-FastCo-Jul17-2017.
Marr, Bernard. 7 Job Skills of the Future (That AIs and Robots Can’t Do Better Than Humans). Forbes, 6 Aug. 2018.
Gall, Carmine. A Global AI Expert Identifies The Skills You Need To Thrive In The Next 15 Years. Forbes, 4 Oct. 2018
Soft Skills Will Become The Hard Skills In The 4th Industrial Revolution. Accenture, 8 May. 2018.
3 Key Skill Sets For The Workers of 2030. World Economic Forum, 1 Jun. 2018
Heffernam, Michael. The Workplace Skills That Will Survive The AI Revolution. Learnisity, 20 Jun. 2018
Quantum Computers on the Horizon, Asian Scientist Magazine, 13 Feb. 2019.