Did you know that a recent report by the World Economic Forum predicts that half of all employees will need reskilling by 2025? Technology is moving faster than ever, and companies (and their employees) need to keep up or risk being left behind.
As a manager, investing in your team's growth and development is a no-brainer. By giving them access to cutting-edge technologies and upskilling them with the latest tools and techniques, you're helping your employees stay ahead in a rapidly changing business landscape and setting the stage for a more productive and motivated work environment.
And let's not forget happy employees often stick around and help shape the company's future. So, what skills should you focus on to help your company stay ahead of the technological curve and be competitive in the marketplace? Let's get into it.
Upskilling Curriculum for Forward-Thinking Companies
Even if your company or employees don't use these technologies daily, having a basic understanding of them can give you a significant edge in the game. It also puts you several steps ahead when it's time to leverage these technologies.
We’re starting with a big one! Generative AI is the branch of artificial intelligence that creates new data or content. It involves using machine learning algorithms and deep neural networks to generate new data such as text, images, music, or videos similar to the training data. The goal of generative AI is to produce outputs that are indistinguishable from human-generated data. Perhaps the best example of generative AI in action is Open AI's ChatGPT, a tool that has recently garnered great buzz for its eerily impressive responses.
So, why should you care about generative AI? First, it opens the doors for limitless possibilities because it can create data that doesn't exist yet. And second, by 2025, generative AI will account for 10% of all data and 20% of all testing data in consumer-facing applications. Additionally, it's projected that half of the drug discovery and development projects will utilize generative AI by the same year.
Generative AI can assist businesses across sectors and within departments. For example, in marketing, generative AI can help with customer segmentation, enabling companies to create more effective campaigns. It can also create marketing content to help drive sales and cut down on labor expenses. Imagine asking an AI to generate the perfect image for your marketing campaign instead of relying on loosely relevant stock photos.
Cloud computing is a model for delivering IT services over the internet where resources, software, and data are hosted on remote servers and made available to users on demand. This enables users to access and use shared computing resources, such as servers, storage, databases, and applications, without the need to manage and maintain the infrastructure. In addition, the term "cloud computing" can also refer to the foundational technology behind the cloud, including virtualized IT infrastructure, operating system software, networking, and more.
Virtualization is a huge part of cloud computing because it allows cloud providers to maximize their data center resources. For instance, one physical server can be transformed into multiple virtual servers. As a result, many businesses have switched to the cloud model for their on-site infrastructure to optimize utilization and cost efficiency compared to traditional IT infrastructure.
Why do your employees need to know about cloud computing? Compared to traditional on-premises IT, cloud computing can help lower IT costs, improve agility and time-to-value, and allow companies to scale more efficiently and cost-effectively. Essentially, it's the future of IT, and this is reflected in the skyrocketing adoption of "as-a-service" (aaS) products, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Security as a Service (SECaaS).
Machine learning (ML) is a branch of artificial intelligence that focuses on developing algorithms and statistical models that allow computer systems to improve their performance on a specific task through experience. Essentially, it's machines that can learn by themselves.
Typically, machine learning is a narrow type of AI. Or in other words, it's purpose-built to focus on a specific spectrum of tasks. For example, Netflix saved an eye-watering $1 billion using ML for personalization and content recommendations. And for a more morbid example, Google's ML-powered AI can predict the likelihood of a patient's death with 95% accuracy.
But will machine learning become a prominent part of the business landscape soon? Yes. And in many ways, it already is. The main benefit of machine learning in business lies in extracting actionable insights from the colossal amount of data we generate. Companies can use ML to monitor and predict performance, unlock insights hidden in business data, maximize efficiencies, and more.
When most people think of blockchain, they think of cryptocurrency. And while it's true that blockchains play a critical role in decentralized digital currencies, the capabilities of the technology go far beyond this. But first, what exactly is blockchain?
A blockchain is a decentralized, digital ledger of transactions that records data across a network of computers. Think of it like a shared database that can't be altered or deleted (it's immutable), and everyone can access it. Each block in the chain contains a unique code, called a "hash," that links it to the previous block. When a new transaction is made, it is added to the latest block, and a new hash is created, creating a chain of blocks that cannot be altered.
Blockchain technology is slowly being adopted across industries for a variety of purposes. For example, in 2018, Walmart embarked on a blockchain project to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce. This was primarily in response to an E.coli outbreak in romaine lettuce in which investigators needed help locating the specific farm it came from.
Businesses can generally use blockchains to keep their critical data safe and secure.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Most people are familiar with virtual and augmented reality from the gaming world, but these technologies are also starting to take hold in other areas. For example, you might have already seen retailers using AR to allow customers to view products in their homes before they buy.
But what about in business? AR is being used to offer 3D data visualization for product mock-ups or allow employees to collaborate on the same model simultaneously. And on the VR side, we have things like employee safety training, sales and marketing presentations (demos), and industrial design, like simulating new buildings to see how they would work.
Artificial Neural Networks
Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) are a machine learning algorithm modeled after the structure and function of the human brain. They are designed to recognize patterns in data, make predictions, and take actions based on that data. ANNs consist of interconnected nodes, called artificial neurons, that process and transmit information. Each neuron receives input from other neurons, processes it, and then passes the result to other neurons, creating a network of neurons that work together to solve a particular problem.
ANNs are widely used in various applications, such as image recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing, and autonomous systems. This technology underpins some of the most ground-breaking AI systems and allows for fully self-driving vehicles, so it's worth knowing about.
Robotics and Automation
Robotics and automation transform how businesses operate and compete in today's global market. Across sectors, companies are leveraging these technologies to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences.
For example, robotics and automation are used in manufacturing to streamline production lines, reduce waste, and improve product quality. Logistics, drones, and autonomous vehicles are deployed for delivery and supply chain management. In healthcare, robotics and automation are used to assist with surgeries and improve patient outcomes. And in customer service, companies use chatbots and virtual assistants to provide 24/7 support and enhance the customer experience. These are just a few examples - The potential applications of these technologies are vast and constantly evolving.
The cost of cybercrime has risen 10% in the last year, and ransomware attacks and data breaches are at an all-time high. It's enough for even the most optimistic person to lose sleep. Educating employees on cybersecurity is critical in today's business landscape, where cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and frequent.
Cyberattacks can have devastating consequences for a business, including loss of sensitive data, financial losses, and damage to reputation. By educating employees on cybersecurity best practices, companies can empower their staff to identify and prevent cyber threats, such as phishing scams, malware, and unauthorized access to company systems. This can greatly reduce the risk of a successful attack and protect the company's valuable assets and information.
Upskilling your employees is a robust investment in the future of your business. By providing your staff with the necessary training and development opportunities, you are not only improving their skills and capabilities but also strengthening your organization. As a result, you can enjoy increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and a more engaged workforce. Lastly, upskilling helps to keep your employees up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies, ensuring that your business remains competitive in an ever-changing business environment.
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July 19, 2023