How Life long learning, Automation and AI Drive Tech Transformations

  • Unfinished Business

    Unfinished Business

    96% said achieving pervasive automation is essential to their company’s digital transformation, but 75% said their organization has not automated all the tasks that should be automated.

While nearly all IT and business decision-makers believe automation plays a critical role in ongoing digital transformation efforts, most admit that they haven’t made enough progress in this area, according to a recent survey from Infosys.

The resulting report, “Human Amplification in the Enterprise: Automation. Innovation. Learning,” indicates that liberating employees from mundane tasks allows more opportunity for experimentation and innovation.

Increased automation would encourage this, as would greater deployment of artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, most of the survey respondents said AI makes processes more real-time and efficient, enabling workers to focus on more creative activities. Progress toward a fully realized digital transformation, however, isn’t simply about technology.

Survey respondents said lifelong learning at their organization is essential, especially as their company struggles to keep employees with highly sought skill sets. “An overwhelming majority of organizations are already undergoing full-cycle digital transformation with the automation of tasks at the center of their collective initiatives,” according to the report. “This means that, in the future, an organization’s competitiveness will be measured in terms of how well its employees are able to do those tasks that automation cannot do—the tasks that involve human curiosity, creativity, and hunger to learn and grow.

This also means those enterprises that are highly invested in lifelong learning for their employees—to nurture all that is uniquely human in them—will be the ones that have a workforce better suited to capitalize on the future of business.” 1,070 U.S. IT and business decision-makers took part in the research.

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A 2012 classic: Preparing for a new era of work

Global competition, emerging skill shortages, and changing demographics will soon force companies to use their most highly paid talent more effectively.

The past three decades saw companies in developed economies make huge strides improving the productivity and organizational performance of an array of jobs. Aided by advances in technology and digital communications, companies automated, reengineered, and outsourced numerous tasks that had once required full-time, on-site employees. The trend, which began on production floors, moved next to offices, where a range of transaction-based jobs that could be standardized or scripted were automated, shifted to workers in low-wage countries, or both.

Through all such changes, a broad swath of employment remained largely untouched: work requiring extensive human interactions. Among these positions are the jobs held by knowledge workers—the doctors, engineers, lawyers, managers, sales representatives, teachers, and other skilled professionals who together serve as the engine of the knowledge economy. Research from McKinsey and others has shown that such interaction workers are vital to the competitive success of companies and countries alike.1Interaction work is the fastest-growing category of employment in developed countries, where it already accounts for a large proportion of jobs (Exhibit 1).2Because technology has tended to complement, not replace, labor in interaction work, until recently many of these jobs had essentially been performed in the same ways for decades.

Not anymore. Today, interaction work is at an inflection point as global competition, emerging skill shortages, and changing demographics force companies to use their most highly paid talent more effectively. Employers in advanced economies may soon, for example, be unable to find as many college-educated workers as they require. Research from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that in the United States, the gap could reach 1.5 million graduates by decade’s end. China, where many global companies have staked growth plans, faces a shortage of 23 million college-educated workers in 2020 (for more, see “Talent tensions ahead: A CEO briefing”).3

The causes of this looming talent crunch are diverse. In some advanced economies, notably Japan, stagnant population growth means there soon won’t be enough young workers to replace retirees. The underrepresentation of women, particularly in the ranks of managers and executives, remains a problem in some economies, notably Germany.4And despite technological advances in communications, geographic mismatches persist between the supply of workers and the demand for them. In the European Union, for example, different national systems of professional certification, as well as language and cultural barriers, make skills hard to transport. Mismatches occur within national borders as well: even in the traditionally more flexible United States (where labor mobility is at a 50-year low) the unemployment rate was 11.6 percent in Nevada in May 2012, versus 3.9 percent in Nebraska. (A new report by McKinsey and The Conference BoardThe state of human capital 2012: Why the human capital function still has far to go [PDF–1.2MB], examines opportunities for companies to better manage the global talent pool in an unpredictable business environment.)

A changing world

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3 Simple Productivity Tips from Google Employees

With so many different initiatives, it’s easy to imagine the typical Googler working crazy hours. However, I was surprised to find that plenty of employees are intentional about how they make the most of their time–and not only their “catch up on email” block of time on their calendar.

If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll come across article after article discussing all of Google’s amazing workplace hacks. While your first reaction might be to be jealous of them, your second should be that many of them are easy enough to implement in your own life.

And, in an effort to convince you that this is true, I rounded up my three favorites that aren’t just awesome, but also totally do-able.

1. They’re Better at Avoiding Burnout

You might assume that Googlers have built personal robot assistants to ensure they don’t work too hard. And while I’m sure that they could if they wanted to, a recent Wired articlefound otherwise.

When engineers on their self-driving car project found that they had a difficult time separating themselves from work, they started meditating. And they realized that it helped them better transition from an intense work mindset to a restful state.

While you’ve no doubt heard this advice before, learning that the top minds at Google do it (rather than turn to some app) should make you want to give it a chance. And don’t worry–if you feel unsure of how to actually do it, I can totally relate.

That’s why I recommend you watch this one-minute meditation video to help get you started.

2. They’re Better at Managing Their Time

With so many different initiatives, it’d be easy to imagine the typical Googler working crazy hours. However, I was surprised to find that plenty of employees are intentional about how they make the most of their time–and not only their “catch up on email” block of time on their calendar.

In a Huffington Post article, Jeremiah Dillon, Head of Product Marketing for Google at Work, tells his employees to set aside what he calls Make Time. This is time where he wants his team to manage less and behave more like makers. To get the most out of it, he suggests the following schedule:

– Monday: Energy ramps out of the weekend — schedule low-demand tasks like setting goals, organizing, and planning.

– Tuesday, Wednesday: Peak of energy — tackle the most difficult problems, write, brainstorm, schedule your Make Time.

– Thursday: Energy begins to ebb — schedule meetings, especially when consensus is needed.

– Friday: Lowest energy level — do open-ended work, long-term planning, and relationship building.

If you’re struggling to balance meetings and actually get stuff done, give this a try. As Dillon says, even a quick meeting when you’re in the groove can derail your entire day.

3. They’re Better at Collaborating With Each Other

The most productive teams at the company have figured out that collaboration’s crucial to getting things done. In fact, it’s become so obvious to people across the company, that it’s actually become an unwritten social code.

An article on Redbooth talks about the fact that leaders of all levels at Google agree that an open-door policy gives everyone the opportunity to have their ideas heard.

It would be easy to dismiss this as something that’s only possible if your company’s executives are on board. But this is something you can also implement for yourself. If you know you have a tendency to throw a pair of headphones on to block everyone out, or eat lunch at your desk, or keep your head facedown in your computer during meetings, take a break from those habits (every once in a while) and open yourself up to hearing your colleagues’ ideas–or at least making eye contact.

(Of course, be careful not to derail your productivity by making yourself too available.)

There’s a running trend through all of these things Googlers do “better” than anyone else–and it’s that these things are fairly easy for you to pull off, no matter where you work. There’s nothing stopping you from being more open to collaboration, budgeting your time more effectively, or avoiding burnout.

You’re not excluded from doing these things just because you don’t work for the one of the most recognized tech giants on Earth. All these habits take is a little bit of effort to pull off.

This post originally appeared on the The Muse.

Source: 3 Simple Productivity Tips from Google Employees

BCG: Designing the Tech Function of the Future

There is a strange dynamic at play at many traditional companies: technology is increasingly important, yet in many cases, the IT function is not involved in the development of the new, differentiating products and services aimed at ever more discerning and empowered customers. Because many IT departments lack the agility and the in-house expertise to meet quickly evolving business needs, business units are appointing chief digital officers (CDOs) to lead initiatives.

As a result, more technology development is happening in the business units rather than in the classic IT department. Given the evolving demands of the business units, company leaders have a choice to make. They can transform the IT department so it gains the expertise and agility necessary to work closely with business units to develop product and service technologies that differentiate the business. Or they can maintain an IT function that tends only to the internal mission-critical infrastructure, capabilities, and policies that keep the business itself functioning effectively and securely. For companies that choose the latter, business units have responsibility for independently developing new product and service technologies.

We expect that most companies will choose to transform the IT department under the direction of the CIO with the help of the CDO. We also expect that the most effective CDOs will be temporary, completing their digital programs in three to five years and then transitioning to other responsibilities within their companies.


IT transformation is part of a larger need to digitize businesses: the vast majority of companies are, or are becoming, technology companies—at least to a certain degree. Witness, for example, the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and advanced analytic solutions, which are permeating all sorts of businesses. Soon, technology will be embedded in nearly every product, service, and process, which will be integrated into a broader digital ecosystem. Powerful software will be the backbone of products, services, and customer engagement. Data is already a highly valuable asset for every company, and the ability to analyze and act on that data is at the core of a company’s competitive advantage.

To handle the digital shift, companies must bring business and technology together. More specifically, they must rethink how they manage three categories of technology: product and service(technology embedded in end products and technology that embeds end products into digital ecosystems and customer interfaces), production (technology in the industrial production processes of physical goods), and enterprise (infrastructure, platforms and standard software packages).

Companies will increasingly build internal capabilities and focus resources on product and service technologies and production technologies for competitive advantage. For example, autonomous cars use a variety of product and service technologies—including, radar, lasers, GPS, odometry, and computer vision—to detect and interpret their surroundings. They also include apps that link the customer to the OEM. Meanwhile, companies will devote fewer internal resources to enterprise infrastructure, opting instead for cloud-based utilities.

Not only does getting the digital transformation right improve a company’s operations, but it can also boost valuations. According to our research, traditional asset-heavy companies often trade at low multiples, even below annual revenues, while pure digital companies typically trade at multiples that are several times revenues.

Reuters Digital news report 2017 (download possible)

The 2017 Digital News Report surveyed 70,000 people across 36 markets on five continents to provide new insights into our digital news consumption.

This research is a reminder that the digital revolution is full of contradictions and exceptions.

These differences are captured in individual country pages that can be found towards the end of the report. They contain critical industry context written by experts as well as key charts and data points.

The report explores news consumption in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

As well as country-by country analysis, the report also contains an essay by Melissa Bell, Publisher and Co-founder of Vox Media

This year’s report comes amid intense soul-searching in the news industry about fake news, failing business models, and the power of platforms. And yet our research casts new and surprising light on some of the prevailing narratives around these issues.

  • The internet and social media may have exacerbated low trust and ‘fake news’, but we find that in many countries the underlying drivers of mistrust are as much to do with deep-rooted political polarisation and perceived mainstream media bias.
  • Echo chambers and filter bubbles are undoubtedly real for some, but we also find that – on average – users of social media, aggregators, and search engines experience more diversity than non-users.

With data covering more than 30 countries and five continents, this research is a reminder that the digital revolution is full of contradictions and exceptions. Countries started in different places, and are not moving at the same pace. These differences are captured in individual country pages that can be found towards the end of this report. They contain critical industry context written by experts – as well as key charts and data points.

Some of the key findings from our 2017 research:

  • Growth in social media for news is flattening out in some markets, as messaging apps that are (a) more private and (b) tend not to filter content algorithmically are becoming more popular. The use of WhatsApp for news is starting to rival Facebook in a number of markets including Malaysia (51%), Brazil (46%), and Spain (32%).
  • Only a quarter (24%) of our respondents think social media do a good job in separating fact from fiction, compared to 40% for the news media. Our qualitative data suggest that users feel the combination of a lack of rules and viral algorithms are encouraging low quality and ‘fake news’ to spread quickly.
  • There are wide variations in trust across our 36 countries. The proportion that says they trust the news is highest in Finland (62%), but lowest in Greece and South Korea (23%).
  • In most countries, we find a strong connection between distrust in the media and perceived political bias. This is particularly true in countries with high levels of political polarisation like the United States, Italy, and Hungary.
  • Almost a third of our sample (29%) say they often or sometimes avoid the news. For many, this is because it can have a negative effect on mood. For others, it is because they can’t rely on news to be true.
  • Mobile marches on, outstripping computer access for news in an increasing number of countries. Mobile news notifications have grown significantly in the last year, especially in the US (+8 percentage points), South Korea (+7), and Australia (+4), becoming an important new route to content and giving a new lease of life to news apps.
  • In a related development there has been a significant growth in mobile news aggregators, notably Apple News, but also Snapchat Discover for younger audiences. Both have doubled usage with their target groups in the last year.
  • Smartphones are now as important for news inside the home as outside. More smartphone users now access news in bed (46%) than use the device when commuting to work.
  • Voice-activated digital assistants like the Amazon Echo are emerging as a new platform for news, already outstripping smart watches in the US, UK, and Germany.
  • In terms of online news subscriptions, we have seen a very substantial ‘Trump bump’ in the US (from 9 to 16%) along with a tripling of news donations. Most of those new payments have come from the young – a powerful corrective to the idea that young people are not prepared to pay for online media, let alone news.
  • Across all countries, only around one in ten (13%) pay for online news but some regions (Nordics) are doing much better than others (Southern Europe and much of Asia).
  • Ad-blocking growth has stalled on desktop (21%) and remains low on smartphones (7%). Over half say they have temporarily disabled their ad-blocker for news in countries like Poland (57%), Denmark (57%), and the United States (52%).
  • We have new evidence that news brands may be struggling to cut through on distributed platforms. In a study tracking more than 1,500 respondents in the UK, we found that while most could remember the path through which they found a news story (Facebook, Google, etc.), less than half could recall the name of the news brand itself when coming from search (37%) and social (47%).
  • Austrians and Swiss are most wedded to printed newspapers, Germans and Italians love TV bulletins, while Latin Americans get more news via social media and chat apps than other parts of the world.

Our Changing Media Mix

We now have six years’ data looking at the sources people use for news.1 In most countries we see a consistent pattern, with television news and online news the most frequently accessed, while readership of printed newspapers has declined significantly.

The biggest change has been the growth of news accessed via social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In the United States, social media became a key player in the story of the election not least because of its well-documented role in spreading made-up news stories, such as that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump or that Hillary Clinton sold weapons to ISIS. Over half (51%) of our US sample now get news via social media – up five percentage points on last year and twice as many as accessed in 201