Impacts of digitization
Today, the size of a business doesn’t matter, its agility and the capability to re-invent is that gives companies a sustainable advantage to compete in a digitalized world. So, here arrives a question: Has digitization ultimately been good or bad for the society? The question has been debated on since digitization is on attack.
There are multiple ways in which digitization has been a blessing for the evolving digital era: increased productivity, less need of a dedicated workspace, increased mobility and new innovative tools. The world is witnessing an accelerated pace in digitization — the mass adoption of smart and connected ICT by consumers, businesses, and governments. Digitization has helped enhance the world and society in general through flexible and greater work-life integration.
Although blurring the lines between private and work life works wonders on employee and corporate performance, but the implications on family life and health leans on the negative side.
Here are the most significant trends triggered by digitization:
1. Digitization of the processes is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached a new tipping point. The connection between Big Data and robotisation evolves a new economy and hence a new world of work.
2. There are two principal features of this phenomenon: one is the revolution of the platform-based economy with a “winners take all” philosophy, and the other is peer-to-peer exchanges.
3. Digitization can also be considered as the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was that of the steam engine, the second of electrification and mass production, and the third that of the computer. Digitization impacts consist of developments in IT, automation of workflows and processes, robotisation, internet and in field of defence and fight against terrorism.
4. Digitization can create new types of jobs, new sectors, new products and new services (data architects, data developers, data analyst and application developers)
5. Digitization could also accelerate fundamental changes in working practices. New forms of workers, machine-integration and process can bring out new kinds of jobs.
6. Digitization might also lead to job-risks owing to automation of work process, computerization and robotisation. While there is no consensus of how many jobs will be lost, certainty is that the numbers will be very high.
7. Digitization is likely to create an increasingly polarized economy characterized by gaping the inequality between “winner-takes-all superstars” and the masses of losers.
Here’s a list of different impacts digitization is creating over different aspects-
- Connected world, open systems, knowledgeable economy
- Networks, exchange, sharing and collaboration, with access based on functionality rather than ownership
- Integration of industries and services: intelligent factories, energy systems, mobility, transport and cities and optimized governance
- Automation, robotisation, learning machines
- Productivity, efficiency and profitability gains
- Zero marginal cost economy
- Innovative products and services, proliferation of mobile apps to make life easier.
- New auto production capacities, micro factories
- Jobless growth, jobless future
- Emergence of super powerful oligopolies, new world data masters
- Concentration of power and wealth in value chains (equivalent losses for other companies, sectors and countries)
- Protection of personal data exposed to intrinsic risks
- Under- investment and under-utilization of digital tools for the social emancipation of low-income sections of society
- New jobs (computer engineers and scientists, network experts, etc.)
- More ‘agile’ work organization; new forms of more flexible and more autonomous work
- Abolition of repetitive and routine tasks
- Better performance of heavy and complex tasks; Better ergonomics
- New forms of collaboration and cooperation among workers
- Massive destruction of medium skilled jobs
- Intensification of ‘anytime anywhere’ work; blurring of the boundary between private and working life leading to stress and burnout
- Loss of control by workers of their own expertise and know-how and free will
- Digital management, risk of mutual loss of trust between employees and management
Reference: Jobs in the digital economy, Christophe Degryse in “Digitalisation of the economy and its impact on labour markets.”