Interview With Indrajit Belgundi- Realising The Future Of Work

Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future, a report compiled by Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) on work and life in 2030, has brought forth certain significant insights.  The report basis a global survey which covered 3,800 business leaders highlighted a grossly polarised viewpoint on whether automation would improve or adversely impact workplace productivity. The leaders, however, were unanimous in their opinion that organisations need to transform themselves to be prepared for the days ahead. 

 

Human Capital spoke to Indrajit Belgundi, PLM APJ, Dell Technologies, wherein he expressed his views on the said report. He also highlighted the impact on work and workforce in the wake of new age technologies making greater inroads in 2030.

 

According to Realizing 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future, a survey by Dell Technologies, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 are yet to be invented, and the required skills for these roles are yet to be scoped out. How do enterprises respond to such a situation and ensure that they remain relevant and digital ready for 2030?

 

With swift advances in technology, it is believed that every organisation will be a technology organisation by 2030. Hence, this warrants Businesses to start thinking on the ways of futureproofing their infrastructure and workforce today. The aforementioned report reflects this very school of thought. The report says that 56 percent of global business leaders feel that in order to prepare students for jobs that are non-existent today, schools will need to teach how to learn, rather than what to learn, corroborating IFTF’s (Institute for the Future) forecast that 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 are yet to be invented. The rapid pace of change will make people learn 'in the moment' using new technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than knowledge itself. As an extension of today's "gig economy", companies will set out tasks to be completed, then make of use information technology to match the task with the people and technology necessary, anywhere in the world. Enterprises have to understand that in order to get ahead, employees will need to learn on-the-go by making use of new technologies and upskilling themselves. For businesses that are struggling to keep up with the pace of change, we believe that Dell can offer assistance by empowering customers with technology to upgrade, upskill, and transform their workforce, and enable them to be competitive in their business.

 

The impact of Automation remains a double-edged sword. While we are witnessing the fruits of economic benefits and the subsequent industrial developments, the impending aspect of job losses looms over us. How do you look at such a phenomenon? What possible implications do you foresee in the coming years?

 

Automation will become relevant to certain industries, and there will be new jobs that will get created in the future. As per the Dell Technologies report, 82 percent leaders anticipate that humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organisation within five years, and 26 percent state that their workforce and machines are already working successfully in such a manner. This, besides the fact where people are will also have a bearing on how they view and do their work. According to a report published by Dell Technologies and Vanson Bourne, 38% of Indian leaders agree that humans and machines are already working together successfully as an integrated team within their organisations. Transitioning to more technologically advanced tools is a change from the traditional definition of “human touch,” but the change need not be negative. New technology strengthens human relationships through digital connections. When there are tools that are properly integrated into the digital workplace, many employees experience a greater connect with their colleagues. This creates greater opportunities for interaction, ultimately enhancing the engagement levels. At Dell, we understand the magnitude of these changes. We are building technology and services ranging from edge to core to cloud, in order to ensure that businesses and their employees are future-ready.

 

We are witness to the challenge posed by security breaches owing to increase in the number of connected devices with each passing day. How do you feel that companies in the technology space need to be prepared to tackle such situations? How well is Dell equipped to address the issue of security?

 

According to a report by Dell Technologies, 51 percent of companies surveyed admit that they have ineffective cybersecurity measures in place, and 59 percent believe that their workforce is not sufficiently security savvy. Experiences with personal technology are leading to higher expectations, and employees want the latest technology as per their needs, to deliver security, and to enable them to be productive, all at the same time. However, it is an imperative over issues pertaining to data security. Companies must focus on educating employees and enforcing policies and procedures that secure data wherever they go, without hindering productivity. Education on Cybersecurity must be an integral part of the workplace culture. It must be built around a practical, ongoing dialogue in which employees are empowered and incentivised to speak when they are unsure about the implications of a decision.

 

At Dell, we deliver innovative solutions that secure data not only at rest, but also in flight and wherever it goes, starting with a trusted device. Our security solutions work in tandem from deep inside the data centre out to the farthest remote device, and all along the networks and the cloud. As a result, our technology can provide full-spectrum visibility and share context-aware intelligence, enabling users to adapt to the ever-changing threats and regulations, while continuously strengthening security across the agency. Dell focuses on providing rapid time-to-value, superior ease of use, and unmatched flexibility to provide mission-critical security that is fundamentally better; an integrated, end-to-end solution that closes the gaps created by legacy and point products, connecting security across agencies for context–aware intelligence security. We offer an exhaustive range of hardware and software solutions from our commercial PC range, including Latitude, Optiplex that are built with the best in class security. Furthermore, Dell is cementing its leadership in data and endpoint security through new enhancements to Dell Data Guardian and Dell Encryption to ensure security and in-depth data and device management options.

 

According to you, how are new age tech like AR and VR transforming today’s workplaces and workforce? Do you believe India is prepared for such a shift in every respect?

 

For today’s workforce, workplace infrastructure and technology are two key reasons to retain smart employees, and these should always be at the top of the leaders’ mind. Technologies such as VR, AR, and MR (Mixed Reality) are definitely becoming boardroom conversations for companies in India. In terms of AR/VR at workspaces, telecommuting and telepresence are vastly beneficial to professionals, since they allow flexibility to work from anywhere, and conduct virtual meetings without traveling from point A to B, saving on time and money. New age technology can also help in improved understanding and better explain job roles and responsibilities. This reduces the time of adjustment and transition to the role, increasing productivity, and adding an element of fun to routine work. A majority of workers emphasise on functional benefits with 63 percent of millennials and 55 percent of older workers (over 35 years old) indicating they would rather have high tech perks, such as Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR). While millennials are looking forward to such a convergence, they are not the only segment of the workforce looking forward to the introduction of these technologies into their working lives. Two thirds (66 percent) of the global population would be willing to use AR/VR products in their professional lives, while 46 percent believe these technologies will improve productivity within their individual role. In order to help accelerate the adoption of AR/VR, businesses should create a workplace culture that sees the advantages and positive utilisation of new technologies as a means to company and individual success.

 

While the tech savvy Gen Z is upbeat about its tech skills, does that equate to workforce readiness? How should organisations prepare the other generations in order to be skill ready for transformations in the workplace? How does a company address the security skills gap to lead the way in such an ecosystem?

 

For the very first time, there will be four generations in the workplace, and all of them are required to be effectively prepared to interact with technology. According to the Gen Z survey commissioned by Dell Technologies, 91% of Gen Z workers say that the technology offered by an employer would be a factor while choosing offers among similar roles. 77% of Gen Z is willing to serve as tech mentors on the job, while 94% worry about having the right skills and experience. With five generations in the workplace, businesses must help workers find a common ground. 77% of Gen Z is willing to mentor an older co-worker who has had limited exposure to technology. 69% of millennials are expecting to be in smart offices within the next five years. The consequences for not meeting these expectations is also greater for the millennial workforce, with 42% saying they would quit a job with substandard technology.

 

Thus, empowering and enabling people across a diverse workforce is crucial for success. While there may be moments of uncertainty, it is imperative for business leaders to keep the workforce engaged, excited, and open to new possibilities by offering trainings and introducing the latest in technology for everyday use. Hence, companies that do not invest in updated technology not only risk a loss of productivity, but also put themselves at a disadvantage in attracting, motivating, and retaining the talent needed to promote the collective growth of the company as well as the employees, both now and in the future.

 

Takeaways

 

  • 91% of Gen Z say that the technology offered would be a factor while choosing offers
  • 77% of Gen Z is willing to serve as tech mentors on the job
  • 94% worry about having the right skills and experience
  • 77% of Gen Z is willing to mentor an older co-worker with limited exposure to technology
  • 69% of millennials are expecting to be in smart offices within the next five years
  • 42% of the millennials would quit a job with substandard technology

 

“50 percent of business leaders agree that automated systems will free-up their time and 50 percent do not.” How would you interpret this statement from an HR Perspective? How do you believe HR should address the issue in the case of either set of leaders?

 

Reports suggest that human-machine partnerships will result in the creation of newer skill sets that are needed for humans and technology to work alongside seamlessly. As a trusted partner to businesses across the world, Dell believes that with technology becoming ten times faster and smaller every five years, it has enabled the rise of new age technologies. These technology advancements in capability, bandwidth, and mobility have forever changed how we work, leading to workforce transformation. Businesses are united in the need to transform, and are actually very optimistic about being able to make it happen. Employees have seen first-hand the ways new technologies can help them do their jobs better, and are looking to use the latest advancements to be more productive. While this may seem daunting, it is a business-critical opportunity for companies to be at the forefront of the future workplace and enable the future workforce. An understanding of different mobility needs of each type of worker will be critical for success. Dell understands that employee experiences with personal technology will be challenging to IT departments, but companies will need to work with an end-to-end solutions provider to ensure these needs are met in the most economical and efficient way possible.

 

“More than eight in ten (82 percent) leaders expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organisation inside of five years.” Do you believe that the very laws of diversity in the workspace would stand to be redefined?

 

As human-machine partnership becomes more evident with time, it will alter the dynamics of workplace diversity and engagement. By applying Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to customer data, companies will be able to predict and understand customer behaviour like never before. The influx of new technology in the workplace has affected how employees communicate, collaborate, and work with greater efficiency. Workers are not only ready for businesses to implement the latest technologies to make their offices smarter, they expect it to happen within the next five years. Specifically, 44 percent of employees worldwide feel that their workspace is not smart enough, and more than half expect to be working in a smart office within the next five years.

 

Such expectations are higher amongst the younger workforce, with 69 percent expecting to be in a smart office within the next five years. Much of the learning will take place on the job. Schools will shift from teaching what to learn, to teaching how to learn, in order to complement the machines and technologies with which people will be working. Hence, businesses need to act now to transform their IT, workforce, and security to stay ahead of the curve. Companies will have to work closely with their IT, HR, tech and business leaders to ensure that there is a cohesive atmosphere for workers of all generations and types.

 

“Companies will have to work closely with their IT, HR, tech, and business leaders to ensure that there is a cohesive atmosphere for workers of all generations and types.”

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