Many of these new competencies are often overlooked as they are traditionally not considered to be necessary job skills and are rarely found in academic curricula in APJ. This reality is echoed in Capgemini's estimates that only a third of over 4.4 million IT jobs created in 2015 around big data opportunities will be filled. The International Labour Organization has also noted in its Key Indicators of the Labour Market report for 2015 that there is a mismatch between skilled persons and the number of available jobs that match their competencies and expectations. Organisations will have to address the challenge by developing existing talent even as they move forward on digital projects this year.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has generated excitement over the past few years, with governments, start-ups and established businesses in APJ all placing their bets on the industry's growth. The smart buildings in Hong Kong Science Park, Thailand's Provincial Electricity Authority Smart Grid Pilot, and Singapore's smart water sensors for water management were all lauded by research firm IDC in 2015 as outstanding smart city initiatives.
While IoT certainly has had significant buzz well into the beginning of this year, developments on interoperability and hardware have progressed to a point where some of the earliest investments have begun to pay off, with smart thermostats, wearable fitness devices and other innovations developing comprehensive ecosystems and gaining significant market share.
Early movers to develop supporting software for the IoT could reap a significant competitive advantage. Software that analyses the massive volumes of data from IoT devices and then accurately automates what is currently manual decision-making will soon come into the limelight. This is an opportunity for technology companies, according to Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, as well as for enterprises to research and develop edge analytics, streaming analytics, decision support and other automation software.
Organisations will thrive in 2016 and beyond by going future-ready. They have to understand how the drivers, threats and opportunities in the new digital landscape will impact their businesses. Preparing the ground for success will be critical. The importance of human resources cannot be underestimated, especially in the APJ population, which has such a wide range of skillsets and work experience, plus a large population of ambitious youths who are poised to enter the job market. Adopting the right best practices for digitisation in increasingly globalized and regionalised businesses will be essential, as will implementing cost-efficient, open and easily scalable technology. This is my recipe for providing the ideal environment for leaders working on optimizing strategy and leading change in 2016, the year of the digital-first customer.
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