Will Africa be Digitally Relevant in the Next 10 Years?

\"DigitalBy 2025, jobs which were common in 2015 will no longer exist. Students graduating in 2016, will have obsolete qualifications for which there will no longer be a profession by 2025.

  • Front-line military personnel will be replaced with robots.
  • Private bankers and wealth managers will be replaced with algorithms.
  • Telemarketers, data entry personnel, tax preparers, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, statisticians and consulting engineers will be replaced with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

New business models, like those of Uber and Alibaba, are already industry-shaping disruptors, and each day, new Digital innovators are emerging to cause disintermediation and disruption across every industry imaginable.

Traditional enterprises, whilst presently successful by today’s standards, are scrambling to make sense of business digitization to stay relevant in the Digital future. Many are attempting to create new digital business models which will eventually cannibalize their traditional business, rather than capitulating to new disruptive digital start-ups.

Companies are also digitizing their products and services, along with operational processes and customer channels. Over 70 percent of top fortune 500 companies have plans to offer their products as a digital service by 2020. Presently, the 10 most valuable start-ups globally are estimated to have a value of $172.7 billion – all-embracing digital platform based business models. Around 90 percent of the business models in 2020 will be driven by the cloud.

Globally, the number of connected devices will nearly quadruple by 2025, significantly altering the skills employers hold most valuable. Increasing connectivity will change how employees choose to work (for example: remotely, part-time, independently, or dispersed), and provide employers with a spectrum of hiring options.

Millennials, most of whom are Digital Natives, will comprise an estimated 48.3% of the global labor force in 2025, while those aged 60 and older will comprise 9.9 percent (compared with 7.9 percent in 2015).

The line between what has traditionally been business and IT is becoming more and more blurred. Largely due to the early adoption and impact of Digital marketing, The Chief Marketing Officer or CMO, now controls a bigger “IT” budget and influence than the CIO. This is only set to increase and expand across the organisation, as Digital Natives become future business leaders.

What new skills and expertise will be required to lead and manage the digital enterprise of the future?

As robots, AI and digital algorithms continue to replace many jobs and professions; new and emerging professions by 2025 will focus more on human interaction, augmented through digital mechanisms. Jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics, such as cultural deftness, caretaking, or empathy, and creative thinking, are those least threatened by automation.

The ability to work anywhere, anytime is fueling the digital nomad trend, which is highly appealing to millennials, but will also blur political and economic boundaries, and test national labor codes.

Artificial Intelligence, its subfields, and automation will create some specific reflecting trends associated with new and emerging technology advances. Career gains from AI and automation include:

  • Artificial Intelligence technology and automation salesperson,
  • Specialist programmers,
  • Cybersecurity experts,
  • Engineering psychologists,
  • Robot and automation technology manufacturer, distributor, servicer, and refurbisher,
  • Technology-specific trainer,
  • Neuro-implant technicians,
  • Virtual health care specialist,
  • Virtual reality experience designer.

Digital transformation cannot be ignored without becoming irrelevant, and an adaptive digital strategy is imperative.

The digital workforce will be largely millennial, and significantly different from today in terms of culture, leadership style and skills. Artificial Intelligence, robots and Digital algorithms will automate many professions, but jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics – or are critical to the development of digital solutions – will be in great demand by 2025.

A holistic digital transformation strategy, which considers the digital workforce along with the business model, process and customer channel dimensions, will be imperative for organisations wishing to remain relevant in the next 10 years.


Written by: Wayne Houghton, Director of Growth Implementation Solutions, Frost & Sullivan Africa






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