Capacity Planning Takes the Right Balance of People and Technology
Digital transformations are driven by people. As digital systems begin to automate every routine business task, employees will be able to free themselves creatively, with the proper training.
The bulk of digital news in the past few years has focused on the ways in which technology is disrupting the modern market and its businesses. As the process of digital automation accelerates, the story goes, machines will take the jobs of workers with routine tasks, and traditional companies who are unable to innovate will disappear.
It’s largely an either/or argument: technology in, people out.
There’s some truth to these claims. Speaking with Computer Weekly, Accenture’s global director of technology R&D Marc Carrel-Billiard argues that many innovative technologies will not mesh easily with traditional skillsets, referring to this phenomenon as “digital culture shock.”
At the same time, he urges companies to “Invest in people” — and he doesn’t just mean new hires. As traditional enterprises seek to integrate new digital tools, the ability of your current talent will be invaluable in making the switch.
While IT skills like capacity management have quickly become business imperatives, companies have the time and resources to prepare and train their workforces for the changes ahead. If a company is managed correctly, artificial intelligence will never have to dominate business.
Many companies wonder: after constantly hearing about the importance of things like agile development and DevOps, what steps can they realistically take to make those initiatives happen? Their employees have knowledge of traditional enterprise systems — should CIOs focus on hiring new workers with highly specific skills instead?
While businesses should always seek new skills, Carrel-Billiard believes that, actually, investment in training will set successful businesses apart: “Top-performing companies recognize they need to be more agile and are more prone to change… They need to think about new types of learning capabilities, [such as] immersive training and video game platforms,” he said. Massive online open courses (MOOCs) will likely play a massive role in helping professionals adapt.
He argues that the role of disruptive technology will be to free professionals from more menial tasks, allowing them to focus on creative initiatives. Will AI replace workers? Carrel-Billiard says, “Absolutely not. We say it will make jobs more interesting. It will change the way people work.”
But many rightly wonder if there are limits to training — could it be that some tech simply isn’t intuitive enough for those with traditional skillsets?
More than any other business area, IT has become mind-numbingly complex, and capacity management — the exhaustive and accurate assessment of system performance — has had no choice but to follow suit.
Carrel-Brillard is one of many who’ve posited that the need for expertise will create a “liquid workforce” in which specialists will be hired on an “as-needed” basis to solve difficult problems.
However, automation has also enabled digital machines to simplify exceedingly complex tasks. With regard to capacity management, automated predictive analytics can now analyze and translate hundreds of thousands of data points into simple figures of risk and health.
For instance, with an effective Business Value Dashboard (BVD), even the C-Suite can get a thorough grip on IT capacity, not to mention the IT workers hoping to communicate its importance. In other words, there will soon be no need to need to train the majority of employees for tasks that had heretofore been highly specialized.
Successful businesses of the next ten years will indeed work side-by-side with technology. Even today, digital tools have emerged that are sufficiently intuitive to grant employees enormous insight into IT problems that arise, as well as enormous power to fix them.
(Main image credit: Hans Splinter/flickr)