New skills required

As intelligent automation changes enterprise workflows, businesses must blend and extend the strengths of their people with the capabilities of machines. New workflows need to be constructed so that the most predictable, rote and repetitive activities can be handed off to intelligent software, while humans specialize in using judgment, creativity and language.

Central to this challenge is the concept of “upskilling” — possessing skills and capabilities that cannot be supplied by even the smartest machines. In 2016, respondents were lukewarm on the importance of skills such as decision making and, especially, learning; today, these are cited as the two most important skills as we look ahead (see Figure 5). It’s critical to have people on a team who can help drive automation and understand how the work people do will change. Automation champions for each major business process can ensure automation does not languish in isolated pockets.

Build a skills renaissance around decision-making and training

Respondents were asked which skills would become more important in the next three years.

Response base: 4,000 senior business leaders Source: Cognizant Center for the Future of Work Figure 5