A divided vision of the future

BY Mark Fioretto
14 February 2018

We’re entering the next era of human-machine partnerships with a divided vision of the future, according to global research from Dell Technologies. Half of the 3,800 global business leaders surveyed, forecast that automated systems will free up their time while the other 50% believe otherwise. Similarly, 42% believe they’ll have more job satisfaction in the future by offloading tasks to machines, while 58% disagree.

The quantitative research conducted by Vanson Bourne forecasted that by 2030, emerging technologies will forge human partnerships with machines that are richer and more immersive than ever before, helping us surpass our limitations. Business leaders agree: 82% of respondents expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organisation inside of five years.

But leaders are also split by whether the future represents an opportunity or a threat, and torn by the need to mitigate these risks. For instance:

  • - 48% say the more we depend upon technology, the more we’ll have to lose in the event of a cyber-attack; 52% aren’t concerned
  • - 50% of business leaders are calling for clear protocols in the event that autonomous machines fail; the other half abstained
  • - 45% say computers will need to decipher between good and bad commands; 55% don’t see a need

Given the promise of monumental change - fuelled by exponentially increasing data and the applications, processing power and connectivity to harness it - 56% speculate that schools will need to teach how to learn rather than what to learn to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist. This thinking corroborates IFTF’s forecast that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.

Beset by barriers

Furthermore, many businesses aren’t moving fast enough, and going deep enough, to overcome common barriers to operating as a successful digital business. Only 27% of businesses believe they are leading the way, ingraining digital in all they do. While 42% don’t know whether they’ll be able to compete over the next decade, and the majority (57%) of businesses are struggling to keep-up with the pace of change.

Main barriers to becoming a successful digital business in 2030 and beyond:

  1. 1. Lack of a digital vision and strategy: 61%
  2. 2. Lack of workforce readiness: 61%
  3. 3. Technology constraints: 51%
  4. 4. Time and money constraints: 37%
  5. 5. Law and regulations: 20%

Unified by the need to transform

Leaders may be divided in their view of the future and facing barriers to change, but they’re united in the need to transform. In fact, the vast majority of businesses believe they’ll be well on their way to transforming within five years, despite the challenges they face.

Likely to achieve within five years:

  • - Have effective cybersecurity defences in place: 94%
  • - Deliver their product offering as a service: 90%
  • - Complete their transition to a software-defined business: 89%
  • - R&D will drive their organisation forward: 85%
  • - Delivering hyper-connected customer experiences with Virtual Reality (VR): 80%
  • - Using Artifical Intelligence (AI) to pre-empt customer demands: 81%

About the study

The research was commissioned by Dell Technologies and undertaken by Vanson Bourne, an independent research company, completed in June to August 2017 with 3,800 business leaders from mid-size to large enterprises across 17 countries. The respondents were drawn from 12 industries and key functions impacting the customer experience (from business owners to decision-makers in IT, marketing, customer service, R&D and finance, etc.). The research explores the changing relationship between technology and people, emerging technologies’ impact on business and the way we work and how business leaders and CIOs plan to succeed over the next 10 to 15 years.

About Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies is a unique family of businesses that provides the essential infrastructure for organisations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset, information. The company services customers of all sizes across 180 countries – ranging from 98% of the Fortune 500 to individual consumers – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from the edge to the core to the cloud.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Fioretto

Mark is the Leader of Enterprise at Dell EMC ANZ

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