A growing number of people will be working on a consultancy basis in the future. The reason is that we’re on the verge of a technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way that we live – and work. “We’ll be seeing new business models, business opportunities and markets that will redefine how we look upon our organisations. Winners in this process will be companies that have the ability to understand how the world is changing and quickly can adapt their need of competence”, says Zoran Covic, Ework’s CEO.
The first industrial revolution was based on water and steam power to mechanise production. The second was based on electric power, which enabled mass production. The third employed electronics and information technology to automate production.
Now it’s time for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which builds on the third, i.e. the digital revolution that has been going on since the mid-20th century. It features the interconnection of technologies that remove the boundaries between physics, biology and digital technology. The opportunities created by billions of people being connected by mobile devices with enormous processing power, storage capacity access to knowledge is infinite. And this will also be multiplied many times over with breakthroughs in new technology, such as artificial intelligence, robot technology, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing.
Artificial intelligence already exists all around us, from self-driving vehicles to drones to virtual assistants and software that translates and invests. Engineers, designers and architects are integrating data design with materials development and synthetic biology to achieve revolutionary symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the buildings we live in.
Until now, consumers have gained most from digital advances: technology has enabled new products and services that enhance individual efficiency and enjoyment. Booking a taxi or flight, purchasing a product, making a payment, listening to music and watching a film or playing games can all be done remotely.
In the future, technological innovations are expected to spawn new business models, which will open up new, global platforms, business opportunities and markets – and drive economic growth. As a result, it will be necessary to redefine concepts like talent, culture and organisation. Quite simply, companies will be forced to re-evaluate the way they do business. Those companies with the capacity to understand change in their business environments and continuously pursue change processes will be the winners.
– Many experts, including the World Economic Forum, estimate that the fourth industrial revolution has the potential to increase living standards through higher wages and improved quality of life, says Zoran Covic.
This new technology will enable companies to work in new ways, remotely, via teleconferencing and with people that share workspaces. They are also expected to have shrinking employee bases working full-time in permanent functions, supported by colleagues in other countries and external consultants on specific assignments.
A yearly SAP report on the consultant market authored by Ardent Partners forecasts that temporary employment, including independent consultants and freelancers, will represent nearly 45% of the global workforce by 2017.
In “The State of Contingent Workforce Management: The 2014/2015 Guidebook for Managing Non-Traditional Talent” based on interviews with some 200 HR and financial managers, as well as purchasing managers, 92% of companies stated that non-traditional staffing for assignments was very to reasonably important to companies’ overall strategies. An average of 32% of these companies’ workforces were in the temporary or contract employment category.
Source: World Economic Forum “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means and how to respond”
Ardent/SAP “The State of Contingent Workforce Management: The 2014-2015 Guidebook for Managing Non-Traditional Talent”