Regional enterprises prepared for digital transformation, Dell Technologies

By Arun Shankar   9 April, 2018
Regional enterprises prepared for digital transformation, Dell Technologies

Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President META, Dell EMC.

We are 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 Saudi Arabia. Similarly, 55% of regional leaders believe they will have more job satisfaction in the future by offloading tasks to machines.

The quantitative research conducted by Vanson Bourne follows Dell Technologies’ seminal story, Realising 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.

Leaders may be divided in their view of the future and facing barriers to change, but they are united in the need to transform. In fact, the vast majority of businesses believe they will be well on their way to transforming within five years, despite the challenges they face.

Likely to achieve within five years in UAE & Saudi Arabia:

  • Have effective cybersecurity defences 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 organisation forward: 94%
  • Delivering hyper-connected customer experiences with virtual reality VR: 92%
  • Using AI to pre-empt customer demands: 93%

Business leaders agree: 87% of respondents from the region expect humans and machines will work as integrated teams within their organisation 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.

For instance:

  • 50% say the more we depend upon technology, the more we will have to lose in the event of a cyber-attack; the other half are not 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% do not see a need

Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President META, Dell EMC, said, “As organisations 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 organisations to prepare for the future and certainly hamper leaders’ efforts to push through necessary change.”

Given the promise of monumental change — fueled 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 do not yet exist. This thinking corroborates the previous study’s forecast that 85% of jobs that will exist globally in 2030 have not been invented yet.

Furthermore, many businesses are not 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% do not 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 emphasising 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%.

Mohammed Amin adds, “We are entering an era of monumental change that will fundamentally change the way businesses operate and prioritise investments. While half of the business leaders in the region are unsure 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 of 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.”

The research was commissioned by Dell Technologies and undertaken by Vanson Bourne, an independent research company, completed in June to August 2017 with 3,800 business leaders from mid-size to large enterprises across 17 countries including UAE and Saudi Arabia. The respondents were drawn from 12 industries and key functions impacting the customer experience from business owners to decision-makers in IT, marketing, customer service, R&D and finance. The research explores the changing relationship between technology and people, emerging technologies’ impact on business and the way we work and how business leaders and CIOs plan to succeed over the next 10 to 15 years.

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