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In the cloud economy, reskilling is key to sustainable growth

By Richard Chambers, Area Vice President, Africa & MED, Salesforce

As we emerge from the global pandemic, the need for connection and collaboration in every sphere of life is fuelling the expansion of cloud computing. Companies are looking for new ways to seamlessly engage with customers, partners and internally, and they’re turning to cloud computing to free up IT resources and enable business innovation.

Although tools enabling seamless engagement with customers and partners existed before the pandemic, we’re going to continue to see a huge wave of innovation which will make workplace collaboration and socialisation easier and simpler. Just as companies invest in technology, it’s imperative that they also invest in people.

According to this year’s IDC Salesforce Economy Study, cloud-related technologies are expected to account for a quarter of digital transformation IT spending globally in 2021, growing to 37% in the next five years.* Specifically, IDC predicts that what’s known as the Salesforce economy alone will create an estimated 9.3 million new jobs by 2026. According to the IDC, nearly two-thirds of these jobs are expected to require skills specific to the occupation, such as certification or extensive on-the-job training.

Equipping people with the skills to succeed

The expansion of cloud technology has significant impacts upon the already existing digital skills gaps and increases the urgency to bridge this divide to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive. In an all-digital world, from now on remote work will just be work. E-commerce will just be commerce. Video meetings will just be meetings. Every company has to be able to work, sell, service, market, collaborate, and analyse data from anywhere. Effectively, companies need to equip employees with the skills to communicate and collaborate in a digital-first, hybrid work environment.

Just as the Fourth Industrial Revolution demands that we close existing hard skills gaps, the work-from-anywhere world we now live in requires us to further invest in soft skills. Every company is going to need teams which can leverage new technologies fast. Increasingly, too, they will rely on individuals who can solve complex problems, challenge the status quo, and engender a shared sense of purpose among distributed teams.

Doing business and growing sustainably

The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of transparency in building trust, and that technology and sustainability go hand in hand.

Just as communities have taken the task of responding to COVID-19 into their own hands, for instance to track infection rates, similarly, strong leadership will be needed to navigate climate change. This explains why more and more companies are embracing new digital ways of tracking, analysing and reporting environmental data through cloud platforms.

The decisions companies make today to solve the digital skills gap, too, will echo for a generation. A commitment to bridging the widening digital skills gap is fundamental to our world’s future success and prosperity. And doing so in a manner that promotes equity and effectively leverages untapped talent within the workforce. By willing to reimagine the ways we do business, by ensuring that growth is sustainable and that people are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow can we be confident of success in the digital economy.

*The International Data Corporation (IDC) is a leading market research firm that has been driving forecasts on the impact of cloud computing since 2012.

IDC White Paper, sponsored by Salesforce, “The Salesforce Economic Impact,” doc #US48214821, September 20, 2021.

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