We’re entering the next era of human-machine partnerships with a divided vision of the future, according to research now available from Dell Technologies. Half of the 3,800 global business leaders surveyed forecast that automated systems will free up their time including a majority of leaders in the UAE and KSA. Similarly, 55% of regional leaders believe they’ll have more job satisfaction in the future by offloading tasks to machines.
The quantitative research conducted by Vanson Bourne follows Dell Technologies’ seminal story, ‘Realizing 2030: The Next Era of Human-Machine Partnerships’. That study 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: 87% of respondents from the region expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organization inside of five years.
Concerning business tasks which would be outsourced to machines by 2030, leaders in the region listed Marketing and Communications and Product Design as most likely followed by Human Resources and Financial Administration, Logistics or Supply Chain, and Customer Service and Troubleshooting.
However, regional opinions are also split by whether the future represents an opportunity or a threat, and torn by the need to mitigate these risks.1 For instance:
- 50% say the more we depend upon technology, the more we’ll have to lose in the event of a cyber-attack; the other half aren’t concerned
- 58% of business leaders are calling for clear protocols in the event that autonomous machines fail; while 42% abstained
- 51% say computers will need to decipher between good and bad commands; 49% don’t see a need
Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President – META, Dell EMC, said, “As organizations prepare to enter this next era of human and machine partnerships, leaders are evidently torn between two extreme perspectives about the future varying between optimism and anxiety. This differing viewpoint could make it difficult for organizations to prepare for the future and certainly hamper leaders’ efforts to push through necessary change.”
Given the promise of monumental change—fuelled by exponentially increasing data and the applications, processing power and connectivity to harness it—63% in the region 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 the previous study’s forecast that 85% of jobs that will exist globally in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
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 regional businesses believe they are leading the way, ingraining digital in all they do. Nearly half (45%) don’t know whether they’ll be able to compete over the next decade, and the majority (68%) of businesses are struggling to keep-up with the pace of change.
The lack of workforce readiness was identified as the leading barrier to becoming a successful digital business in 2030, further emphasizing the need for skill development among existing employees and future generations. A majority of leaders in the region (73%) also identified the lack of a digital vision and strategy as a prominent barrier. These were followed by the barriers of technology constraints (61%), time and money (47%) and finally law and regulations (22%).
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 in UAE & KSA:
- Have effective cybersecurity defenses in place: 96%
- Deliver their product offering as a service: 96%
- Complete their transition to a software-defined business: 97%
- R&D will drive their organization forward: 94%
- Delivering hyper-connected customer experiences with virtual reality (VR): 92%
- Using AI to pre-empt customer demands: 93%
Mohammed Amin adds, “We’re entering an era of monumental change that will fundamentally change the way businesses operate and prioritize investments. While half of the business leaders in the region are unsure of what the next ten to fifteen years look like for their industry and are struggling with the quick pace of change, a large majority are looking at embracing change and new technologies in their digital business plans for the next five years. This pivotal time is rich with opportunities for collaboration and innovation. 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.”