The scarcity of resources is a challenge that has been plaguing the world for the past few decades. Sustainable development is possible only through the judicious use of these scarce resources. Organizations around the world are implementing technological solutions to address the issue of resource scarcity.
The late 1900s brought with them the Information Revolution. Increased integration of data and technology in every sector brought gigantic changes to the economy, trade, commerce, and governance. Today, we are on the brink of a Technological Revolution, one which is set to change the very way we live. In such turbulent times, it’s important to seek an anchor which organizations can use to base their decisions on. Data plays the role of anchor, mast, and boom.
The age of the datapreneurs
Data is the currency of the day. Organizations need to sift through large and complex data sets to identify market preferences, consumption patterns, and industry trends, all of which have an impact on sustainability. Big data analytics is the need of the hour. Organizations will be unable to find solutions to the crisis of sustainable development, without in-depth analysis of big data.
New age businessmen and women are no longer satisfied with calling themselves, entrepreneurs. To work and survive in the 21st Century, businessmen and women need to be tech-savvy and adept at managing big data. The role of today’s entrepreneurs has evolved from that of facilitators of economic growth alone to stimulators of technological development as well. Entrepreneurs today are the harbingers of tomorrow’s Technological Revolution.
The seeds of this revolution are already beginning to show results. People are experimenting with new-age technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics and Big Data Analytics. An analytics culture is being developed. The need for entrepreneurs has now evolved into the need for datapreneurs.
When we think of a datapreneur, we imagine an entrepreneur who works with data. But this definition hardly begins to scratch the surface. The ‘DATA’ in datapreneur stands for – Data Analytics Technology Algorithms – and every businessman and woman who creates, analyzes, re-shapes and utilizes data for creating economic value, falls under this banner.
Using data analytics to shape the world
The World Economic Forum is all set to host the Sustainable Development Impact Summit on the 18th and 19th of September this year. The objective of the summit is to work with governments, businesses, academia, and citizens to:
- Increase the impact of sustainable business practices that are already in place
- Forge new partnerships and alliances
- Identify how the latest technological developments can be used for sustainable growth of businesses, economies, and countries
To achieve these objectives, the World Economic Forum needs a collective effort by organizations and governments from around the world. In order to achieve faster results, participants need to deploy feasible technological solutions globally. For this to happen, there should be a good understanding of the fundamental challenges faced by people across the world.
A sound data strategy can make everything a lot easier. Using data analytics in everyday decision making by leveraging the power of big data can help both governments and organizations identify and focus on key areas of concern, which were difficult to address previously. But, having a data strategy in place isn’t everything. Organizations need to train their personnel on implementing these capabilities. A focused data strategy, coupled with a strong competency-based people strategy can ensure successful implementation of solutions as well as subsequent positive outcomes.
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So, how does this work?
The changing face of the workforce
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to take the world by storm. With the evolution of the Digital Age, these technological changes are set to take place on a massive scale. The effect the upcoming revolution is touted to have is so drastic; we will soon be unable to distinguish between what is real and what is virtual.
Given the magnitude of the changes to come, it is imperative for organizations to train their workforce to handle these technological developments effectively and efficiently. Training & Development of people plays a huge role here.
Employees who haven’t been trained to handle new technologies may be overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of the systems in place. This defeats the purpose of technology.
Technologies are meant to make life easier for users. They have been developed with the sole intention of relieving users of their challenges and difficulties. They are created to assist governments & businesses in finding long-term solutions to global problems. It is only when workforces are trained to use these technologies, can we see visible improvements in our world.
Untrained employees can cause havoc to the efforts of the organization. Today’s technologies are powered by data. Organizations are moving from their conventional methods of working to digitalizing everything – right from operational workflows to business strategies. These organizations use data to provide greater economic value to their stakeholders – both in terms of financial and non-financial benefits. This is where technology becomes pivotal.
Technology not only facilitates implementation of business strategies, it also provides fuel in the form of data. Without technological training, employees may not understand how best to analyze or use the data at hand and they may not know how to implement the solutions that are being deployed.
Filling in the gaps
It is important to realize how important it is for today’s workforce to be trained in technology and (new) data management, specifically. Data offers organizations the chance to create a better tomorrow. Our predecessors did not have the tools needed to effect change – but we do. If used correctly, technology and data sources can create a monumental positive impact.
In order to achieve the best results, organizations need to transform their workforce into datapreneurs. Comprehensive competency-based training should be provided which covers various developmental areas such as the employee’s data management skills, technology skills, people skills and financial skills.
Successful digital age competency development can happen only when organizations proactively and consciously invest their time and resources in developing datapreneurship competencies. There should be a laser-beam focus on developing an organizational culture that is data-centric.
The benefits of datapreneurship will be manifold when organizations tweak competency requirements to suit the nature and needs of their respective businesses. Once this is done, it becomes easier to find and implement solutions for sustainable development.
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D. Justhy is the founder of the Data Strategy Lab & CEO of Claritysquare Technology, based out of Zürich, Switzerland. He is an expert data technologist and practitioner, consulting globally and is also the author of ‘The Billion Dollar Byte – Turn Big Data Into Good Profits. The Datapreneur™ Way.’