How We Will Work in 2028, Based on Gartner Research Report


According to recent research, by 2028 business will have undergone a “digital transformation” of epic proportions. In 2016, Peter Sondergaard, senior VP and global head of Research at Gartner, implored businesses to “take all the digital initiatives and pilots, and drive them into the mainstream.”

The professionals at Gartner believe that as businesses continue to become increasingly digital, companies must fully commit themselves to ambition equal to or greater than that of their competitors. They provide an outline of what companies should prioritize in practice and recruiting so that they can “create digital value at scale” that will be integral to success in the future.

Here is a quick guide to their findings and what to expect as business continues to transition to more digital methods over the next decade.

AI to Help, Not Replace

The harbinger of the digital transformation of business is the development of AI technology. While many find themselves concerned that AI and bots will replace human workers, the truth is that, in the word’s of Gartner’s Laurence Goasduff, we “cannot unlock the business value of technology without people.”

Yes, business people should be prepared to surrender their duties that can be reduced to AI algorithms; However, success in the digital world will not rely just on innovative technology, but perhaps, more importantly, it will depend on “people who have the ability and desire to exploit existing and emerging technologies.”

This is a component of what Gartner researchers refer to as “digital dexterity,” which is “a new set of skills that all of us must have to operate successfully in a digital world.”

Working effectively alongside AI and understanding tools such as the Internet of Things and APIs allows organizations to extend their reach and influence. These are what Gartner calls “Network Effect Technologies” that will also be an indispensable component of business both now and in the future.

Essentially, the salesperson in 2028 should be able to effectively utilize network effect technologies but still shouldn’t expect to rely entirely on AI and digital tools.

Diversity On All Counts

Even with technological advances, working in 2028 will still require diverse, flexible skill sets. While that seems like a no-brainer, the numbers command attention.

Research from Gartner Talent Neuron revealed a “looming talent cliff,” meaning that roles in IT, cybersecurity, and AI are in incredible demand, but with very short supply.

It just won’t be possible to fulfill your company’s IT needs by simply hiring more people. Instead, Gartner’s research suggests that “CIOs will need to develop digital dexterity in the talent they already have”

This necessity of diversity will extend not only to skill sets but also to data and hiring practices. The reason for this is simple: diverse talents and data equals more diverse and plentiful resources. Gartner’s Christy Pettey explains that more diverse teams are more productive overall “due to broader thinking, a wider set of problem-solving resources, and more varied and well-considered solutions.”

Lee McMullen, Research Vice President at Gartner, insists that companies should take advantage of “diversity in all of its forms,” such as data, suppliers, talent, and culture. Without diversity, “bias will blind us to innovation and opportunities.”

The utilization of diversity throughout business operations will help prevent bias and blind spots as the way we work continues to develop and transform.

Rapid Learning Curves Ahead

The need for more diverse skill sets will require the business person of the future to be prepared to learn new skills and systems quickly. For companies that can’t hire a lot of new talent, this will create a steep learning curve that employees will have to handle by being flexible, creative, and teachable.

Laurence Goasduff warns that “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” The ability to comprehend and practice new concepts, methods, and tasks will outweigh any previous experience.

That’s right. Even the most impressive of resumes will become useless if one is not willing to learn continuously. Professional development will be a greater asset than mere accolades. That doesn’t necessarily mean being a perpetual student, but it does mean embracing opportunities to improve and advance one’s digital dexterity.

Failure is Part of Ambition

Such a steep learning curve and a lot of changes on the way mean that above all, the business person in decades to come must not be afraid of failure.

In his six-minute webinar on Creating Digital Value at Scale, Gartner Research VP and distinguished analyst John Scheibenrief emphasizes the importance of this resilience and determination.

He describes digital business as “a series of experiments” that can (and will) occasionally fail. But these failures are a part of the digital business process and will “help you on your digital journey.”

You don’t have to wait until 2028 to start the journey, either. Start applying these concepts now by investing in diversity and developing your team’s digital dexterity. Approach the future with strategy, but not with fear, and your business will be well on its way to productively weathering the decade to come.

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