The Future Of Work Is Going To Be Hybrid

“The future of work is going to be hybrid and that is where the organizations can turn machines and humans into collaborative colleagues which can together generate much better results.” says Manish Bahl, Senior Director and Head, Center for the Future of Work (cFOW), Asia Pacific, Cognizant.

Manish Bahl, Senior Director and Head, Center for the Future of Work (cFOW), Asia Pacific, Cognizant

Manish Bahl recently released his report on “Humans + Intelligent Machines: Mastering the Future of Work Economy in APAC”. In an exclusive interview with Sarabjeet Kaur from BW CIO, Manish shares details from his findings on how Asia Pacific businesses are bullish on investing in AI technologies to prepare themselves for the future of work. According to his study, the respondents are optimistic about the returns. Excerpts:

What is India’s outlook on investing in Artificial Intelligence technologies?

Indian organizations are particularly very excited about the rise of AI driven technologies. They are quite bullish on collaborating with intelligent machines and they plan to invest significantly in building AI related capabilities, talent, infrastructure and systems. At the same time, they have high expectations from such investments as they are looking forward to impressive growth out of leveraging intelligent machines. Indian organizations are in sync with our APAC findings.

Which industries in India are resulting to be superior in utilizing AI, machine learning and intelligent machines?

It is happening across industries but obviously some industries are leading above many. Financial services, especially banks and insurance companies, followed by manufacturing and retail industries are some of the prominent industries that we found in India which are progressing on a much faster pace compared to others. In manufacturing we have already seen how automation has taken up many of the manufacturing related tasks that now we are moving towards intelligent automation.

What should be the acute focus of companies while practicing this transition to intelligent machines?

We strongly believe that this transition is not going to happen in silos. It is not about automating all the jobs in an organization and assuming that machines will deliver the required results to you. In order to ensure that there is a successful transition; organizations need to be extremely focused on human plus machine collaborations because in the end of the day, to manage and operate those machines you need humans. So if any of the jobs that we see today in organizations get altered or transferred with the use of intelligent machines, that does not indicate loss of jobs but rather jobs getting transferred in a more advanced manner. Through this, employees can move up the value chain by leveraging the technologies and new tools. This helps in letting the employees become more focused on what really matters for the organization.

To transform to intelligent machines, a blend of human and technical skills is necessary. Yet, according to the report, 70% of the respondents said they struggle to find relevant skills. How can recruiters resolve this issue of talent hunt?

In order to achieve this transition the talent and skills definitely needs to be altered. Recruiters should be looking at a fusion of skills- technical plus human centric skills. While we need to double human skills, the problem is that it is very difficult to identify candidates who are excellent in human centric skills. For instance, how can one measure candidates on their ability to empathize with others? These sorts of skills are difficult to measure as they are more qualitative in nature and that is where organizations need to invest significantly in talent development activities. When they continue to struggle to find talent from the external world, which is where they really need to put in systems, processes and people in place who can provide the required training to bear the existing cost. Instead of finding talent from outside, why not develop the talent in-house?

What steps do you suggest to organizations which can help them leverage intelligent machines to meet their future business objectives?

The 5 T’s – ‘Teams, Tasks, Talents, Technology and Trust’ mentioned elaborately in the report themselves are going to act as a framework for organizations as they move forward in their journey to the intelligent machine age. These 5 T’s are going to redefine organizations with the better use of intelligent machines because these machines will not only deliver positive results but also bring greater amount of disruptions in an organization.


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