According to a recently released whitepaper by Deloitte, the resourcefulness of businesses during the age of COVID is stepping up the already accelerating shift to a digital-driven world.
This transformation, spurred by advanced technologies like AI and machine learning, is changing the way people work, redefining roles and impacting how people in leadership roles make decisions. More than ever, human ingenuity and innovation are needed to maximize the uses of these advanced technologies.
Machine learning is fuelled by the enormous amounts of data being produced every day. Data analysts and AI literate people are needed in the workforce to implement and interact with the technology. To a great extent, the task of upskilling workers to meet the demands of the 21st century has fallen on businesses themselves, as they work in partnership with educational institutions.
The very approach to knowledge is changing, as everyone from managers to corporate leaders are using data sets and algorithms in their decision making. Working with information that is often incomplete and imprecise is the new normal, as “big data” sets new standards and processes. Learning to use analytics and data visualization is a basic requirement. Are Canadian businesses ready for a radical new way of thinking?
Unfortunately, studies show that most Canadian businesses are unprepared to adopt technologies like AI. The shortage of data technicians and those with training in analytics is just one factor. As Deloitte has found, the willingness to strategically align organizations and make a substantial investment in infrastructure are lacking.
The Three Steps
The first step for an organization is to identify skill gaps and assess learning needs. It is also at this stage that an organization articulates its vision for a desired future state of advanced technology readiness.
Then, investment in technology and training must be planned and implemented, as well as any organizational restructuring. Educational resources must be procured, including programs that target the specific skill gaps. Breaking down departmental “siloing” will help to ensure cooperation across the organization. Benefits to motivate workers to adopt a “continuous learning” mindset will be needed.
Finally, these changes need to be maintained over time, with a sustenance plan enacted to ensure lasting organizational change. The investment in data infrastructure will be continuous, as well as staff upskilling and retention. Most of all, leaders from all organizational levels will need a confident and optimistic outlook as to what the digital future will bring, and embrace data driven opportunities.
In this journey, partnership with a leading educational centre such as the Schulich Executive Education Centre will be a necessity for organizations. Their leading program designed to prepare workers for digital transformation is the Masters Certificate in Analytics for Leaders, that will teach participants the ins and outs of analytics, concepts in data science, and how to develop a strategy to lead a business through digital transformation.