- Executives are increasingly adopting as-a-Service (aaS) models, viewing the shift as vital for growth; some IT professionals, however, fear the move may render them unnecessary, according to a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPW) report released Dec. 3.
- Younger IT decision makers are particularly concerned: nearly 60% of survey respondents age 22 to 34 said they are concerned that aaS is making their job obsolete, while only a quarter of those 55 and older felt that way.
- Despite that apprehension, HPE said, most respondents agreed that aaS adoption may drive a shift in their roles from day-to-day IT support to a more strategic business role.
IT pros aren't alone in their fear that major work shifts — such as digitization, automation and outsourcing — may make their skills unnecessary. But their hope that such shifts may open time for strategic work echos what those in other fields have said, too, including HR.
Outsourcing and automation in HR has for years been touted as the path to more strategic thinking. It has come at a price, however: Significant outsourcing creates a fractured employee and candidate experience, according to recent research from Mercer. The solution may not be rolling back outsourced and automated tasks, however; instead, HR should work with company leaders on people strategy, "taking on greater responsibility than ever before, while essentially returning to its original purpose, which is to serve the company's people and organize the workforce according to what the company needs to succeed," Mercer suggested.
In other industries, automation is driving calls for learning. For example, technology is expected to replace fewer manufacturing jobs than in the previous decade and redefine, rather than eliminate, industry jobs, according to a 2018 study. Manufacturers can help employees adapt by offering retraining and upskilling, the report recommended.
That suggestion may apply to myraid industries, including IT. Employers, for example, have reported significant difficultly finding qualified cyber security talent — a field in which IT pros responding to a 2017 survey expressed interest, along with Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.