As ChatGPT, a chatbot released by OpenAI in November 2022, made headlines, the question whether artificial intelligence is coming for our jobs became even more urgent. Despite the immense progress AI has made in recent years, the prospects for human employment do not look as bleak as you may expect.
The increasing use of artificial intelligence in daily life raises many questions concerning the future of human employment. In fact, since the beginning of the industrial revolution in 18th century England, technological advances have been eliminating human jobs. And let us be honest: AI will do the same.
Artificial intelligence outpaces human workers when it comes to the speed of work. It can work round the clock, does not get tired, and does not make mistakes along the way if the process is well defined. What is even more important, its skills at analyzing big data sets or finding correlations are unrivaled. On the other hand, it is humans that should validate if these correlations are relevant.
So, artificial intelligence poses a threat to many professions while giving a chance to others. New specializations will emerge, and employees will have to learn new skills. Technological advances can free humans from repetitive tasks and enable them to focus on more strategic ones. Importantly, effective use of AI-powered tools will require a comprehensive approach to work that contrasts with the recent drive toward deeper specialization.
Although machines are becoming more intelligent, humans still possess unique skills that cannot be completely replicated by artificial intelligence. For example, humans are better at creative problem-solving than machines, especially when it comes to combining nonobvious elements like emotions, or at the level of strategy building. Machines are becoming exponentially smarter thanks to artificial intelligence, but they are still limited in comparison with the human mind’s capacity for problem-solving. An employee’s creativity is essential because it enables them to solve problems that machines simply cannot.
Therefore, businesses should not eliminate employees’ jobs but adjust them according to employees’ current skills.
Digital transformation: which skills matter most?
What will matter most in the digital transformation process are problem-solving skills rather than operational tasks because machines are better at repetitive tasks. Solving a problem requires more creativity than simple manual tasks that can be easily automated. Therefore, the role of employees will change according to the type of work they do now. Instead of being focused on repetitive tasks that machines can easily replicate, employees should focus on creating solutions for their companies’ problems. This change should also be accompanied by an increase in pay since employees now need critical thinking skills instead of manual dexterity.
Another question is the employee value delivery model. We are witnessing a major shift. This model will be more like cloud-based scaling up and down of computing resources. If you need a specialist with a defined skillset for a specific project, you will need to contact a specialist provider and hire the specialist on a B2B contract rather than taking him/her on as your employee. It will work in the same way as in the case of cloud infrastructure and resources.
What matters more is distributed access to resources, from the level of several potential providers, that secure constant access to qualified IT specialists. With the addition of an AI component, there will be the additional aspect of specialization of a given cloud company, which will have the relevant domain competencies under its umbrella (e.g., the use of AI for process optimization along with business analyst-type competencies in process management). This is already happening, for example, among professionals such as programmers, business analysts, consultants, and UX designers. It is probable that in the foreseeable future, IT projects will be realized by managed IT teams provided by specialist companies based on the skillset required for each specific project.
Digital transformation: what to do next?
Companies around the world should invest in training employees for their new roles as problem solvers and build relationships with companies providing managed teams with a specific skillset that can be scaled up or down according to the current project. Training programs and project configurations should focus on preparing employees for their new roles in digital transformation by building specific staff skill sets according to each ’company’s needs. Managed teams should help companies easily adjust to their needs. Of course, in this approach it is crucial to define project requirements first, and then what specific set of skills we are looking for. In this evolution of SCRUM approaches, both UX researchers and business analysts should take part.
In the next step, you need to define which project team members will be in-house ones. Typically, these are: product owner, project sponsor, non-technical business analyst, digital transformation strategist, and integration specialist. On the other hand, other IT specialists. like UX researchers, UX designers, and programmers, will be provided by a specialist partner in the cloud-like model. As a result, you will have a team composed of in-house and external specialists.
Such an approach gives a major advantage. On the one hand, you have a business-critical function in house while outsourcing a specific skill set needed to realize a given project. This allows you to stay agile and react better and more flexibly to changing market conditions. Of course, it is obvious that you need a trusted partner that will be able to provide you with the specialists needed.
The Sprint 0 framework
At Fabrity, we have been witnessing this evolution for several years, but it has become clear over the past two years. IT projects are led by digital transformation leaders in the client’s organization, while IT specialists with the skills needed are provided by us using the Sprint 0 framework, which allows us to define clients’ needs and expectations.
Sprint 0 serves to accurately define functional, technical, and strategic areas of the project, as well as which skills, both on our and the client’s side, are crucial to its successful completion. In addition, there is a knowledge transfer process between our and the client’s team. In the long run, given the fast progress of AI tools and solutions, companies will not be able to have all the in-house experts needed. It will be easier, and more cost-effective too, to hire them from a trusted provider instead of spending time and money on training them. With AI, companies will be able to automate their daily operations while reaching out to external specialists once the need arises.
Will AI eliminate many jobs?
Some believe that increased use of artificial intelligence will eliminate many in-house jobs in the short term because machines can perform many tasks much better than humans. However, this really does not mean that workers will face unemployment. Employees will have to look for new specializations and skills. Moreover, they will be more likely to work with software houses selling their unique skills to companies that will need them in their IT projects.
So, while AI will eliminate many simple jobs, it will create new ones requiring more in-depth knowledge. Specialists will not be hired directly by the companies but rather on a B2B basis for a specific project or task. This approach, of course, has advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage will be the opportunity for specialists to expand their knowledge by taking part in many projects and thus building their value on the labor market. The biggest challenge for managed team providers, however, will be employee retention and building a sense of cooperation within the main organization.
At Fabrity, we have been working in a managed team model with dozens of enterprise clients. Therefore, we know how to manage such projects and retain the best specialists. Our partner approach allows us to build long-term relationships and give added value to our clients. We can react faster and more flexibly to market challenges. Our IT specialists have the most up-to-date knowledge that is available in a cloud-like model of managed teams.
Should you need our help with your upcoming IT project, drop us a line. We will see how we can help.