Google recently revealed that South-East Asia is the world’s fastest-growing Internet region with a user base of 260 million that is expected to almost double by 2020, as reported by the Straits Times.
As a regional data hub, Singapore’s pursuit for technological developments is proliferated with the onset of disruptive technologies and sharing economy business models gaining momentum.
The era we live in is seeing an apparent shift in the way we share, communicate and even work. From banks to telcos, data is helping industries solidify the last links of their value chain in the drive towards productivity and operational efficiency.
As these trends pick up pace over the coming years, how will the job landscape of the future look like? How big of a role will data play in driving these changes?
There is little doubt that the big Internet boom will result in a shift in business needs and most industries will face a heightened need for IT services. As such, the future workforce will be required to understand data, at a much deeper level than that of today.
Even the average employee will be required to be proficient with basic IT literacy and technical know-how in dealing with and interpreting data.
As the manpower and skill-needs change, the increasing digitalisation of processes would only result in a significant percentage of blue-collared jobs becoming obsolete. This means that data literacy will no longer be an added bonus but rather a necessity to thrive in the workforce of the future.
Most notably, hybrid roles will become the new norm. These roles will require employees to possess multiple skills and be adept across various fields. This will open up the need for employees to acquire what I would like to call the ‘21st century skillset’.
The future job positions will transcend specialisations and every employee will hold multiple roles. For example, in the datacenter industry, apart from basic IT and engineering knowledge, employees will also need to be competent in computer engineering and at times, even real estate management.
The ‘21st century skillset’ will become the benchmark for the future workforce, as they re-invent themselves to remain competitive.
Businesses are becoming increasingly interdependent and cloud-enabled. In fact, it is increasingly uncommon to find a company that does not work across borders or interact with people from various countries across multiple devices and platforms.
As such, communication that transcends regions and time zones will remain critical in the years to come.
To overcome the limitations of physical, spatial and geographical borders, the future working world will lean towards digital workspaces. When done right, these workspaces form a well-connected ecosystem amongst globally dispersed employees, offices, business partners and service providers.
Facilitating seamless communication across multiple devices, borders and workspaces will have sizeable implications on backend operations. Specifically, the need to access many clouds and real-time data across geographies, via reliable, secure and instantaneous connectivity will reach an all-time high.
This would require high performance and collaboration levels that traditional network infrastructures were not built to handle.
To stay abreast of the heightened demands placed on connectivity, businesses must take their network capabilities to the next level. Especially since relying on yesterday’s legacy network architectures to compete in tomorrow’s business landscape can become costly.
In my years in the datacenter industry, I have learnt that in the data-driven race to the top, change must never be feared. The only fear that I do possess – that has constantly pushed me to re-invent myself – is the fear of going obsolete.
The evolution of data-driven advancements has been dynamic and fast-paced. Technology that is revolutionary today can become obsolete in a matter of months. The future will only see this timespan shortening and no matter the industry you are in, you must be able to adapt quickly and react in real-time. Predictably, this ‘need for speed’ will trickle down to the individual level.
Given the swift pace at which technology is evolving, the aptitude for learning new skills and acquiring fresh knowledge will be a defining factor for tomorrow’s workforce.
Looking Ahead to the Changing Landscape
It should come as no surprise that the workplace of tomorrow will be vastly different from that of today. The dynamic data landscape and the new economic realities will spark a substantial shift in the skills-need, manpower allocation and even in the sophistication of backend operations.
Amidst all these changes, businesses must consistently stay ahead of the curve and implement trends before they become mainstream. They must know how to optimally harness the strengths of the workforce to reap the most benefits.
Author Credits: Clement Goh, Managing Director – Southeast Asia, Equinix