• Myra Knoesen - FAnews Journalist

The rise and fall of industries and professions

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has created the urgent need to adopt innovative technologies, we were reminded during the 2020 EBnet 3-D Conference that we need to adapt or die.

Henry Biddlecombe, Co-manager of Anchor BCI Global Technology Fund, said he came across a fictitious survey that asked, ‘who led the digital transformation of your company’? To which the options were, the CEO, CTO or Covid-19.

This got him thinking and he said, “the truth is, in most instances, it was Covid-19. Companies have adopted technology on a scale today, that would never have been the case before the pandemic.”

The cusp of a digital revolution

In Alvin Toffler's ‘Future Shock’ book, one of the driving themes of Toffler's work was that knowledge would become the driving force behind powerful societies. Toffler wrote that those people, institutions, and civilizations that failed to keep up with the pace of new information would quickly face decline.

Notably, fewer jobs today require employees to be physically present at the office. Toffler predicted this and the rise of home offices, writing that homes would one day resemble "electronic cottages" that would allow people greater work-life balance and a richer family life.

“Many of the characteristics of the changes discussed 50 years ago are relevant today, ranging from the disposable nature of goods, the rapid cycle of product innovation resulting in designs becoming rapidly obsolete, through to the rise and fall of industries and professions due to disruptive technological change. The rate of change is far greater than it was 50 years ago and is accelerating into the future,” said Viresh Maharaj, Managing Executive at Sanlam Corporate.

“We often hear about the fourth industrial revolution and the broad impact of Covid-19 will accelerate the pace of the fourth industrial revolution. In our view we are on the cusp of a digital revolution, driven by the need for cyber resilience, cost efficiencies, individualizations and customer experience. This is not changed for the sake of change, but in pursuit of member centricity, a captured vest by relevance, security continuity, value for money, engagement and satisfaction,” said Maharaj.

The institutes that embrace technological change and combine this with human empathy, according to Maharaj, will be the most effective in meeting the needs of members.

Working in a remote environment

On the same note, as many funds, administrators and product suppliers now have a lot of their workforce working remotely, they are grappling with the problem of how to effectively manage them.

How do you track and manage employees and ensure they are delivering value in a way that can still live up to brand promises?

In breaking down what it takes for people to work in a remote environment, in this sudden and unprepared experience, keynote speaker Jeremy Swartz, Vice President at TransparentBusiness, shared lessons and strategies for people in business, using three elements to thrive in a remote world.

Ways to thrive in a remote world