All employees should have ‘tech roles’ in today’s enterprise


  • Demand for tech talent has evolved rapidly since the start of the pandemic. 
  • The only way to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis; companies should reskill their workforces so every employee is well versed in technology.

Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. You can pretty much buy any technology, but your ability to adapt to a more digital future depends on developing the next generation of skills, closing the gap between talent supply and demand, and future-proofing your own and others’ potential.

Undeniably, this year’s pandemic has presented us with the vast opportunity to change — rapidly in order to survive. As Winston Churchill once said, we should never waste a good crisis. Perhaps this is the biggest gift of the current pandemic, that it provides us with the opportunity to rethink our potential and ensure that we are positioning ourselves toward the future

While the future is more ambivalent and uncertain than ever, inevitably the future is to focus on reskilling and upskilling people so that they are better equipped to adjust to change. In a 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report, it was estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14% of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. 

However, a more recent McKinsey Global Survey indicated that 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years. But less than half of the respondents had a clear sense of how to address the problem.

Include all employees in “technology roles”

To be frank, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more urgent. Workers across industries must figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and companies have to learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities

But, with a growth mindset and the opportunities to reskill and upskill, it is no longer as difficult for people who are not technically-trained to contribute to technology-driven innovations. Take Singapore for instance. Recently communications and Information Minister S Iswaran recently said at Parliament that while technology talent in Singapore has grown by about 10,000 year-on-year and he reckons demand for tech talent will continue to outstrip supply. 

To put it into context, prior to Covid-19, the Infocomm Media Development Authority projected that Singapore’s demand for technology talent will increase by another 61,600 by 2021. That said, Covid has only widened this gap as the demand for tech talent to help companies compete in a digital world increases.  In fact, despite the Singapore job market showing small declines due to the pandemic, financial institutions are still moving forward and continuing to hire tech talent, according to Financial Services Tech Job report.

Tech talent continues to be a hot commodity 

In a recent LinkedIn Business’ report, tech positions are among the most in-demand jobs with the fastest-growing demand. “Cloud Engineer jumped 12 spots in our rankings of the most in-demand roles, making it the job with the seventh-most job posts on LinkedIn in November,” it stated, attributing it to the working from home culture. “The cloud services that remote workers rely on have never been so business-critical.”

But cloud computing professionals aren’t alone — technical roles like Oracle Specialist, User Interface Designer, and all kinds of developers also saw big spikes in demand over the past month. As expected, tech companies have done relatively well during the pandemic, but it’s not just the tech sector hiring tech talent. Companies in virtually all industries have a greater need for engineering as they’ve had to pivot to more online operations — accelerating a trend that’s been growing for years.

 





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The USS Enterprise Might Be the Best Ship the U.S. Navy Ever Had


Here’s What You Need To Remember: The ship was, far and away, the most decorated ship to sail in the Second World War. 

In May 1938, the U.S. Navy commissioned the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the seventh ship to bear the name in American service. The second of three sisters, Enterprise made a central—perhaps the central—contribution to the war effort in 1942. The U.S. Navy began 1942 with six fleet carriers (excluding the small Ranger, which served in the Atlantic). Over the course of the year, Japanese aircraft and submarines would sink four of those carriers and put a fifth (USS Saratoga) out of action for long periods of time. Enterprise fought with distinction in most of the major battles of 1942, and survived to contribute for the rest of the war.

In short, USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the finest ship ever to serve in the U.S. Navy.

Construction

Second ship of the Yorktown class, Enterprise was laid down in July 1934. The Yorktowns constituted the greater part of the second generation of U.S. fleet carriers, after the experimental ships and the conversions of the 1920s. Experience with USS Ranger and the Lexingtons indicated that large carriers had many advantages in serviceability and survivability over smaller ships, so the Navy decided to go large. Enterprise displaced twenty-five thousand tons, could make thirty-three knots and could comfortably carry around eighty combat aircraft. U.S. naval architects incorporated many of the lessons learned from the Lexington class into the Yorktowns, and they became the world’s most advanced, effective carriers when they entered service in the late 1930s. They would provide a template for the Essex-class aircraft carriers, which would begin joining the U.S. Navy in 1943.

1942

USS Enterprise joined the Pacific Fleet in 1939, and operated in a variety of roles in the years immediately preceding the war. Having just ferried aircraft to Wake Island, it narrowly missed the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, arriving on the evening of December 7, and putting back to sea shortly thereafter to (fruitlessly) search for the Japanese task force. On December 8, its aircraft found and sank the Japanese submarine I-70. Across the winter and early spring of 1942, Enterprise raided across the Pacific, striking Japanese installations on several recently acquired islands. In April, it escorted USS Hornet on the Doolittle Raid, only narrowly missing the Battle of Coral Sea on its return.

In late May, Enterprise sortied to intercept the expected Japanese invasion of Midway Island. Serving with its sisters Yorktown and Hornet at Midway, its dive bombers helped destroy four Japanese carriers, along with a heavy cruiser. This victory broke Japanese momentum in the Pacific, but did not offer any rest to Enterprise, especially as Yorktown had sunk during the battle.

By mid-July, Enterprise had sailed the South Pacific, where it served throughout the Solomons campaign, taking damage at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and at the Battle of Santa Cruz (its last sister, Hornet, was destroyed in the latter battle). Despite this damage, it left the action only briefly for repairs, continuing the fight for almost the entirety of 1942 and early 1943. Its aircraft helped destroy HIJMS Hiei in November.

Later War

As the Essex class carriers began to come into service in 1943, Enterprise’s importance to the war decreased. A four month overhaul in mid-1943 helped bring it back to full combat effectiveness. Enterprise contributed to the great carrier actions of 1944, fighting at the Battle of Philippine Sea and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. These battles tore out the heart of the Japanese carrier fleet, and also led to the destruction of several battleships.

In late 1944, Enterprise re-equipped for night operations, pioneering Navy efforts to maintain air superiority around the clock. It supported U.S. operations on Iwo Jima and eventually Okinawa, suffering damage from two kamikaze attacks in the latter. Its repairs from the final attack were completed just as the war in the Pacific ended; the most important single warship of the war, it nevertheless missed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay.

Postwar

Enterprise’s first duty in the immediate postwar period was to help return U.S. servicemen to the United States. It left service permanently in early 1946; although only ten years old at this point, Enterprise had been superseded by the Essex class and the much larger Midway-class carriers. Unlike its sometimes partner USS Saratoga, Enterprise was spared destruction in the Bikini atom bomb tests. Instead, it entered the reserve fleet.

Enterprise won twenty battle stars in the Pacific, more than any other U.S. ship. There was widespread recognition of its service, and several efforts to preserve it as a monument. Despite the advocacy of retired Navy personnel, however, these efforts failed, and it was sold for scrap in 1958. This is now recognized by many as a tragic failure of the United States to properly maintain its military heritage; in the years after Enterprise’s scrapping, several other battleships and aircraft carriers were preserved.

Into the Future

Shortly before USS Enterprise went to the breakers, a new ship bearing the name was laid down; CVN-65, the world’s first nuclear aircraft carrier. The latter USS Enterprise served for fifty years, before decommissioning in 2012. Another USS Enterprise, CVN-80, is scheduled for completion by 2025.

An altogether unforeseeable event immortalized the name even more. In 1965, Gene Roddenberry gave the name Enterprise to the starship of his series Star Trek. Just as CV-6 survived combat situations that destroyed other carriers, NCC-1701 would survive wildly improbable scenarios. The wild, and unpredictable, success of that series and its spinoffs would lead to a variety of other Enterprises, each with the same improbable success as their World War II namesake.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.This article first appeared in 2017.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.





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How to Introduce Enterprise Virtual Reality to Your Organization


If your organization is researching, testing, or using virtual reality tools to build your efforts to train, collaborate, and compete, you’re in good company. The enterprise VR category is growing exponentially, projected by PwC to grow from a $13.5 billion sector in 2019 to $450.5 billion by 2030. Organizations, in fact, are adopting VR hardware faster today than the earlier cutting-edge consumer market. 

Many sectors are finding and pioneering bold applications for VR. Hospitals use it to train surgeons; architects, to correct design flaws early; petroleum companies, to give drivers practice handling hazardous materials; hotels, to help employees empathize with their customers and their colleagues. And most value its effectiveness in gathering remote teams into the same “room” to work face-to-face, especially when it translates to greater productivity and employee engagement—and lower travel expenses. 

With so many use cases emerging, the question for your organization might not be whether you need VR, but whether you’re ready to adopt it. Your IT leaders will first need to evaluate hardware and software, the processes they’ll need to implement it and manage its use, and the independent software vendors (ISVs) they’ll bring on to develop the software and guide the effort. 

Getting Started with VR 

Bringing VR to your organization begins with establishing a core team to drive the effort. The VR launch team needs a project manager, to kick off the effort and keep it on track; a business champion, to determine the smartest uses and KPIs at your company; an executive sponsor, to advocate for its value to the C-suite; an IT lead, to help determine, introduce, and manage the VR tools your organization needs; and the ISV you’ve chosen to help you bring your vision to life. 

As you assemble this team, a six-step process can help you drive your enterprise-VR initiative. 

  1. Your project manager will first establish a feasible timeline for your team to research, test, and introduce VR hardware and software at your organization, which includes schedules for securing the budget and identifying the optimal ISV. 
  1. Your business champion will lead strategy on determining the right initial use for VR, such as training management, coordinating teams, building 3D models, or handling cargo. This role will identify which audience at your organization will test this technology; which milestones to use to measure success; and which developer has the closest potential offering to help. 
  1. The executive sponsor must establish and maintain the support of your organization’s executive officers. Not only is their buy-in essential for funding the project, you also will need their feedback to hit the right goals, and their promotion of the cultural change VR will bring to every level of your organization. 
  1. Your ISV developer will build your first VR application by following your specifications and incorporating your initial and evolving goals and user feedback to iterate and improve the software before launch. 
  1. The launch team’s IT lead begins testing your application, taking the VR hardware and software online to the trial audience and maintaining and troubleshooting as those employees identify necessary changes. 
  1. Your business champion and project manager manage VR at liftoff. With the technology off the launchpad, the business champion analyzes the results in the data, adds KPIs, and identifies additional uses to develop VR as you scale it across the organization. 

Adopting a VR Culture 

As with any emerging technology, introducing VR may present you with a cultural challenge as well. Changing any outdated but lingering perceptions at your organization of VR as a hobbyists’ platform may require you to find persuasive use cases and introduce live demonstrations to prove VR’s potential value as a cost-effective tool that can help your enterprise build efficiency, productivity, and growth. 

One strategy might help you win over VR skeptics: Hand them a headset and let them take it for a test-drive. They might come away persuaded, and maybe even amazed. 

Click here to learn more. 

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