In 10 years, my business will be out of business.
That’s the view of a recent article in The Financial Review which suggested that 500,000 white collar jobs (including accountants and financial planners) would be replaced by automation/technology/robots by 2025.
It is easy to dismiss these claims as alarmist or to pretend that 10 years will be a long time coming but the reality is that the technology to make this happen already exists and there are clear signs of this trend emerging. Ignore them at your peril!
We all welcome the opportunities that technology provides to make us more productive (at home and at work) but, as the assistance becomes smarter, we reach a stage where human intervention is no longer required. Look what happened to manufacturing.
Recently a client asked us to analyse the cost/benefits of shifting part of their operation off-shore. Our analysis showed that local, available technology was able to deliver similar cost savings without the problems associated with off-shoring (which is only possible because of technology!)
For me, this was a surprising outcome and the clincher was that overseas wages will rise – the relative cost of an automated solution will not.
It’s hard to imagine an occupation/business that is not being significantly impacted by technology. I initially thought of lawn-mowing but robots can vacuum so why not lawn-mowing (provided the robot can empty the catcher!)
Of course, humans still like to deal with humans and that may slow the progress of what’s possible with technology but I am sure that we will evolve to being comfortable with automated business as much as we have become comfortable with virtual friends.
I’m not sure how motivating a robotic aerobics instructor would be and I am sure that school children will break teaching machines as quickly as they break human teachers so there may be “pockets of resistance”.
But evolution is the key. Your business needs to evolve if it is to survive the next decade and I am not talking about the glacial evolution of Charles Darwin. We need evolution on steroids. You cannot afford to assume that the status quo will remain. “Change is the only constant” may sound trite but it is very real and cannot be ignored.
Even if you plan to be retired in 2025, future-proofing your business so you have something to sell would be advisable.
So, as you sit down to plan what’s in store for your business in 2015 (you will be doing that, won’t you?), you’d better factor in some consideration of how your business will look in 2025.