Lead story - Tackling the global skills crisis - is the IT job market back on track?
MyPOV: Tech skills went through the diginomica analytical grinder this week. First up: Kurt parses data on the U.S. market in IT job market - back from the abyss, but watch for lasting structural changes.
No surprise: IT professionals have fared better (less overall unemployment) than the job market as a whole. However, the skills gap is a threatening issue. As Kurt notes:
The compression of technology adoption also shortens the time before some IT jobs become irrelevant and the timeline for acquiring new skills.
The spending pullback in external IT services and consulting will reverberate:
Future hiring will focus on IT staff, not management overhead or consultants.
As companies shift workloads to the clouds, and scale back internal data centers, another round of job displacement happens. Kurt posits that IT professionals who rely on a "buffer" of time to retool their skills may find that buffer is well, gone. Meanwhile, Cath picks up the global implications of the digital skills gap in Tackling the global digital skills crisis - national approaches to an international issue.
She examines World Economic Forum data on a regional basis, hitting on the European Union, India, and Singapore. On the impact of AI and automation, she writes:
While most staff will operate alongside machines rather than being replaced by them (only 5% of the workforce will be replaced), a huge nine out of 10 will require digital skills to be able to work effectively, exacerbating a shortage of expertise that is already troubling.
Cath argues that a nationalistic approach, with each country trying to bridge its own digital skills gap, is far from ideal. A global problem should be tackled globally, avoiding wheel re-invention. Agreed - as long as a global approach doesn't preclude companies from upskilling their own. Too often, we see companies reaching far and wide to source talent, but surprisingly reluctant/unable to upskill their own.
Also see: Derek's take one of the biggest remote work challenges: hiring new talent (It’s not all about tech - what to think about when hiring and onboarding remotely).
Update: Oracle partners with TikTok after Microsoft loses bid. After I polished hits and misses, Oracle
screwed up my plan revved up the Sunday news cycle. We'll get back to this story next week.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- 'There is no practical reason why trust in AI cannot be created now' - Rolls-Royce's bold ethical initiative takes shape - Stuart on an old school company with a new school plan: "In a significant move, both the framework and the checking system will be published in full under Creative Commons licence later this year on the Rolls-Royce.com website."
- Online retailer Cox & Cox sails through COVID-19 sales surge thanks to a systems overhaul - Derek with a case of why replatforming pre-COVID is the path of no IT regrets.
- AI ethics - why teaching ethics and "ethics training" is problematic - Neil's latest series on AI ethics is off to a strong start - a no-sacred-cows affair. Also see his prior piece, Rethinking AI Ethics - Asimov has a lot to answer for.
Vendor analysis, diginomica style.
- Oracle turns in strong Q1 on back of cloud growth and remote working boom - Some were concerned that Oracle's latest earnings might dampen the new-school enterprise software earning charge. But as Stuart reports, that was not the case - with a big nudge from cloud computing and Oracle's infrastructure deal with Zoom.
- Zoho Workplace challenges digital teamwork giants with a fully integrated platform - Phil with his take on how Zoho is shaking up the productivity game: "The goal of embedding each teamwork component invisibly into the user experience is fully aligned with where the market is trending."
Phil issued a Coupa two-for-one, drawing on his interview with Coupa's CEO, and a new book as well. Time to analyze one of the most compelling concepts I've seen a vendor push out:: community intelligence.
- Why Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn's B2B community intelligence concept may struggle to expand beyond spend
- Book review - Smarter Together - Rob Bernshteyn on Community Intelligence in business
A few more vendor picks, without the quips:
- How Penn State University modernized with SAP S/4HANA - and managed a remote go-live of a milestone project - Jon
- H2 Wellness uses mimik’s edge computing technology to slash its Amazon cloud services bill - Martin
Jon's grab bag - Den ruminates on all that has changed in No more 9 to 5? Reshaping the concept of work. Remember when I poked a bit of fun at Chris for being too erudite and thoughtful to pull off a good rant? Well, he
brought the vinegar proved me wrong in Friday Rant - why Agile development is a fad, not a proper engineering approach. Surprised we haven't heard from the pass-the-agile-Koolaid agile-or-bust crowd on this one - but there's still time.
Finally, Derek unfurled an (illustrated) satirical gem in The government’s mass testing Moonshot project looks like a 90s Silicon Valley PowerPoint nightmare:
Strategic relationships with multiple potential partners sounds more like my previous dating profiles than a £100 billion government project, but here we are! We then move on to 'Moonshot Headquarters' (you just know the person writing this fancies themselves as a 007 fanboy).
Don't think I can top that...
Best of the rest
MyPOV: This Medium.com piece by Steve LeVine implies the author is making a "we must get back to the office, pronto" pitch, but it's not that simple. First, Levine documents the scope of the semi-hidden commuter economy, as "once-teeming city business districts" turn into "commercial ghost towns."
Starbucks alone attributes a $2 billion loss to this remote work shift; 60 to 70 percent of airline travel was business-related (business airline travel is down 97 percent). LeVine adds:
And the move to remote work doesn't show signs of stopping anytime soon. In recent months, many companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Ford Motor, Twitter, and REI have announced some version of a long-term or permanent work-from-home future.
His concern? The hit on GDP for years to come. But LeVine also acknowledges the chance to rethink cities. Remote workers in rural locations, less traffic/congestion, more affordable housing across the board. I think the only two useful questions are:
- How can we seize this creative opportunity to make cities more livable?
- How can we mitigate the human suffering these disruptions are causing?
The rest is either hand-wringing or nostalgia.
- Top 5 Identity-Centric Security Imperatives for Newly Minted Remote Workers - Dark Reading
- What’s New In Gartner’s Hype Cycle For Endpoint Security, 2020 - Louis Columbus
- Progress snags software automation platform Chef for $220M - A sneaky interesting acquisition. Progress likes to buy tooling; Chef is one of the most interesting DevOps players out there.
- Dealing With The Supply Chain Gloppy Mess - Lora Cecere wins the "tell us how you really feel" award again.
- The Pessimism Problem - Gartner's Hank Barnes raises a flag that should concern tech spend watchers. When buyers are pessimistic, good luck selling.
- 6 Small Steps for Managing the Roller Coaster of Emotions at Work - Guessing we could all use a few of these tips right now.
- TikTok and the Sorting Hat - While we're on TikTok, this piece explaining how its algorithm spawns user traction across cultures was revealing.
In case you missed it, the world's slowest musical composition changed chords for first time in seven years. Oh, and CIO Insight proposed an innovative new solution for fighting ransomware: tape backup. Meanwhile, Amazon gathered more laurels in its valiant push to the cutting edge of privacy: here comes Amazon Alexa for landlords.
If you're missing air travel but want to stay near the safety of home, maybe this could be your fix:
SIA looks to launch 'flights to nowhere' by end-October to mitigate Covid-19 fallout: Sources https://t.co/xc1nUIKNLd
"Several airlines worldwide, including EVA Air in Taiwan, have piloted flights to nowhere..."
-> I hope they are willing to take fees to bring oversized bags
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 11, 2020
Finally, The Guardian surprised me by diving headlong into page view sensationalism:
A robot wrote this entire article. Does that scare you, human? https://t.co/eFurQEEaxq
-> no, because you cobbled the most coherent parts together from eight drafts.
"The Guardian could have just run one of the essays in its entirety."
-> that would have been more realistic
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) September 8, 2020
Generating raw copy that babbles on and occasionally sounds coherent? Gosh, machines are really good at that! The Guardian claimed all eight of the computer-generated essays were compelling - sure they were, I'm certain they were literary marvels. Yet The Guardian cherry-picked from each to create one output. Then they edited that one. That's exactly the type of human judgment that will continue to confound so-called "AI."
AI is fine for summarization of sports games and stock reports. Basically, transcription. Get back to us when "AI" offers up a point of view. If this AI essay scares you, then
you stink at writing, in the timeless lyrics of Harry Chapin, full time consideration of another endeavor might be in order. See you next time...
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.