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The dire need to understand the management of new technologies

  • July 21 2022

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9 minutes to read

It is easy for managers to get overwhelmed by changing technologies. How do you keep up to ensure operational efficiency and optimal sales? How do you make sure you follow the right trends or invest in the right technologies for the future you want for your company? And then, closer to home, what if your understanding of the use of technology becomes so outdated that you are no longer employable?

Just about everything is being digitised – from services and products to our ways of working. If you don’t want to lead your project, division or company astray, and if you don’t want to be left behind, you need to become digital and data literate. This applies to all managers, not only those in IT environments.

 

“… you need to become digital and data literate”

 

This does not mean you need to become an IT expert. However, you do need to stay in the technology loop regardless of the industry in which you work. What’s more, you need to know in which way the world is heading so that you can make the right decisions for your company’s technological future.

In a recent study on the management of technology in organisations leaders said they “felt under fire from rapid technological change”. Here, 71.9% of the respondents indicated that they would like to educate themselves in this regard as most of them “learned on the job” and never received formal training: “We need managerial-level employees who can operationalise ideas and strategies, and who can manage the adoption of new technologies by people within the organisation.”

 

“We need … employees who can operationalise ideas and strategies, and who can manage the adoption of new technologies.”

 

It’s time to skill up

Ideally, the management of new technologies calls for two new skill sets: digital and data literacy, and a futures orientation. Why this combination of skills?

 

1.      Digital and data literacy

You need to get your head around the building blocks of new technologies. You need to know what technologies such as biotechnology, genetic engineering, blockchain, the additive internet of things, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, and sensors can do for your organisation. You need to understand ethics, change management, risk management, and more. Also, you need to understand how to manage people amidst all of this and how to take them with you on the journey of technological change.

2.      Futures Orientation

You need strategic foresight to make better long-term decisions for your company’s technological future. You need to understand the forces and trends that shape the future in terms of the relentless development of new technologies. The wrong decisions in this environment could cost you dearly and destroy your competitive advantage overnight.

In the report, the employers mentioned fears of “being left behind” and “being blindsided by a new technology”. They stressed their organisations’ “dire need” to manage the risk and uncertainty around new technology as innovation that can positively or negatively impact their value proposition.  The interviewees hammered on the importance of employees being able to implement strategies, execute plans, and operationalise ideas, particularly with regard to new technologies. A number of them cited promising technological initiatives in their organisations that fell apart at implementation.

 

“… the importance of employees being able to implement strategies, execute plans, and operationalise ideas, particularly with regard to new technologies”

 

The way forward is to keep on learning. But this learning is about more than following industry experts and reading up on technology. You need strategic foresight and new frameworks to work with.

And if you go about this in a practical way by studying while you work, you can start applying your new skills right from the start. Also, this will help to ensure your ongoing relevance in the workplace.

Stellenbosch Business School offers a new PGDip Futures Studies Managing New Technologies. It is aimed at those involved in organisations, divisions, start-ups, projects, or networks of gig workers, and who need to incorporate the management of new technologies into longer term planning. The programme runs over one year or two years, and is presented in blended learning format or modular format.

One of the key differentiators of our MBA degree is the Leadership Module which focuses on responsible leadership and allows you to develop your own authentic leadership style.

Learn more about our Business Administration courses today.

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