Businesses not ready for digital transformation, Dell says

Estimated 85 per cent of jobs that will exist globally in 2030 have not been invented, study shows

A member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre team takes part in the Mohammed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi in 2017. A Dell survey warns that robots will fundamentally alter the nature of jobs in the future. Pawan Singh / The National
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The world is on the brink of a revolutionary technological shift in the near future.

However, as automation technologies such as robotics and machine learning play an increasingly significant role in the workforce, business leaders are not yet ready for this giant transformation.

“More than 80 per cent of today’s jobs, including legal services, human resources, transportation and others, will be significantly affected by automation technologies,” said Mr Mohammed Amin, senior vice president-META at US-listed software firm Dell EMC.

“Some jobs will be either eliminated or exist as different kinds of jobs.”

There are several aspects and challenges to consider to enable and prepare for this type of transformation, added Mr Amin.

“We are entering an era of enormous change that will fundamentally alter how businesses function. Changes are happening so fast and sometimes we are a bit behind,” he said. “The workforce not being ready for [such] digital transformation has been identified as one of the major obstacles.”

Key industry sectors likely to be affected by digital transformation and robotics include education, transportation, human resources, logistics or supply chain, customer service troubleshooting, marketing and communication, Mr Amin said.

Dell Technologies, part of the US-headquartered conglomerate, helps customers, including in the Middle East, to accelerate their digital transformation strategies. A recent survey of 3,800 business leaders and employees globally, including in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, suggested that many jobs across the world will be replaced by robots by 2030.

Almost all (96 per cent) of survey respondents said their organisations would replace some element of manpower with automation by 2030. Yet companies are entering the era of automation with a divided vision of the future, Dell said.


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“As organisations prepare to enter this next era of human and machine partnership, business leaders are torn between two extreme perspectives about the future,” M Amin said.

“Some of them are optimistic while others are worried about the future. This would make it difficult for organisations to prepare for digital transformation, hampering business leaders’ efforts to handle fast-changing technological transformation.”

Mr Amin also stressed the importance of changing learning patterns and methods to adapt to the era of digital transformation.

A total of 85 per cent of jobs that will exist globally in 2030 have not yet been invented, the survey found, and 63 per cent of respondents said they believed schools will need to teach students how, rather than what, to learn, to prepare them for future jobs.

“Those jobs do not yet exist. Therefore, students need to be well prepared for the next era,” Mr Amin said.

Robotics and machines will take over many jobs, he explained, requiring businesses to prepare their human workforce to become more creative and innovative.

A total of 43 per cent of those surveyed said business leaders need to set up a chief artificial intelligence unit to supervise human-machine partnerships to accelerate digital transformation.

“Most business leaders in the region are uncertain of how the next 10 to 15 years will look like, and are struggling to cope with the rapid pace of change,” Mr Amin said.

“A large majority are looking at embracing change and new technologies in their digital business plans for the next five years. It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses can either transform their IT, workforce, and security and play a defining role in the future or be left behind."