Tech-Talent-Whats-next
Technology Talent: What’s Next?

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November has seen uncertainties in the technology market with news of layoffs and hiring freezes from big names in the industry – Meta, Amazon, Salesforce, and Apple to name a few. These have impacted thousands of people globally, leaving tech talent with one common question, ‘What next?’

While the current situation and economic trends may seem grim, it is not all bad news for tech workers. It is true that people strategies in the sector may be impacted, but there are still plenty of opportunities for tech experts in the industry. 

Here is what Ecosystm Analysts say about what’s next for technology workers.

Tim Sheedy, Principal Advisor, Ecosystm

Today, we are seeing two quite conflicting signals in the market: Tech vendors are laying off staff; and IT teams in businesses are struggling to hire the people they need.

At Ecosystm, we still expect a healthy growth in tech spend in 2023 and 2024 regardless of economic conditions. Businesses will be increasing their spend on security and data governance to limit their exposure to cyber-attacks; they will spend on automation to help teams grow productivity with current or lower headcount; they will continue their cloud investments to simplify their technology architectures, increase resilience, and to drive business agility. Security, cloud, data management and analytics, automation, and digital developers will all continue to see employment opportunities.

If this is the case, then why are tech vendors laying off headcount?

The slowdown in the American economy is a big reason. Tech providers that are laying of staff are heavily exposed to the American market.

  • Salesforce – 68% Americas
  • Facebook – 44% North America
  • Genesys – around 60% in North America

Much of the messaging that these providers are giving is it is not that business is performing poorly – it is that growth is slowing down from the fast pace that many were witnessing when digital strategies accelerated.

Some of these tech providers might also be using the opportunity to “trim the fat” from their business – using the opportunity to get rid of the 2-3% of staff or teams that are underperforming. Interestingly, many of the people that are being laid off are from in or around the sales organisation. In some cases, tech providers are trimming products or services from their business and associated product, marketing, and technical staff are also being laid off.

While the majority of the impact is being felt in North America, there are certainly some people being laid off in Asia Pacific too. Particularly in companies where the development is done in Asia (India, China, ASEAN, etc.), there will be some impact when products or services are discontinued.

Sash Mukherjee, Vice President, Content and Principal Analyst, Industry Research

While it is not all bad news for tech talent, there is undoubtedly some nervousness. So this is what you should think about:

Change your immediate priorities. Ecosystm research found that 40% of digital/IT talent were looking to change employers in 2023. Nearly 60% of them were also thinking of changes in terms of where they live and their career. 

Ecosystm research found that 40% of digital/IT talent were looking to change employers in 2023. Nearly 60% of them were also thinking of changes in terms of where they live and their career.

This may not be the right time to voluntarily change your job. Job profiles and industry requirements should guide your decision – by February 2023, a clearer image of the job market will emerge. Till then, upskill and get those certifications to stay relevant!

Be prepared for contract roles. With a huge pool of highly skilled technologists on the hunt for new opportunities, smaller technology providers and start-ups have a cause to celebrate. They have faced the challenge of getting the right talent largely because of their inability to match the remunerations offered by large tech firms.

These companies may still not be able to match the benefits offered by the large tech firms – but they provide opportunities to expand your portfolio, industry expertise, and experience in emerging technologies. This will see a change in job profiles. It is expected that more contractual roles will open up for the technology industry. You will have more opportunities to explore the option of working on short-term assignments and consulting projects – sometimes on multiple projects and with multiple clients at the same time.

Think about switching sides. The fact remains that digital and technology upgrades continue to be organisational priorities, across all industries. As organisations continue on their digital journeys, they have an immense potential to address their skills gap now with the availability of highly skilled talent. In a recently conducted Ecosystm roundtable, CIOs reported that new graduates have been demanding salaries as high as USD 200,000 per annum! Even banks and consultancies – typically the top paying businesses – have been finding it hard to afford these skills! These industries may well benefit from the layoffs.

If you look at technology job listings, we see no signs of the demand abating!

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COP27-The-Journey-Towards-a-Sustainable-Planet-Continues
COP27: The Journey Towards a Sustainable Planet Continues

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The recently concluded 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) brought together Heads of State, ministers and negotiators, climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives, and CEOs in Egypt’s city of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss climate action. The conference aimed to build on the outcomes of COP26 to effectively tackle the current climate emergency and set goals for the future.

Where COP26 Left Off

Before we look at COP27, here’s a look at what COP26 committed to and what the progress has been. The conference had ended on an ambitious note with a slew of climate plans and pledges undertaken by countries for the upcoming decades. In addition, all countries agreed to come back to COP27 with stronger, more focused climate plans of actions. The event saw 141 countries promise to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. As part of the Paris Agreement, 151 countries updated their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Over 100 countries also signed the Global Methane Pledge to cut their collective methane emissions by 30% by 2030. The Glasgow Climate Pact was released at the end of COP26, which highlighted the need to phase out coal. During the conference, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) committed over USD 130 trillion in private capital towards achieving net-zero goals.

However, climate activists pointed out that there were some missed points:

  • Ocean crisis was not addressed
  • The progress on Climate Change Policy was hindered due to a lack of gender equality
  • There was a lack of agreement on loss and damage finance from mature economies to emerging economies facing wide-scale destruction of life and property due to extreme weather events
  • While many countries did set long-term goals, there was a lack of short-term targets for 2030

COP27 Continues to Pave the Path Ahead

Despite a lot of commitments being made during the previous conferences, not a lot of those targets were met. This year, one of the crucial focus points was the implementation of existing targets instead of setting new goals. The top themes at COP27 were climate finance, adaptation, loss and damage, and increased ambition.

Loss and Damage. In a first, ‘loss and damage’ was made a part of the provisional agenda of discussion on matters relating to finance. Smaller nations called for a treaty against fossil fuels, and a global tax on corporations’ profits from fossil fuels. Countries, including Austria, Germany, Belgium, and New Zealand, promised funds to emerging economies to help them with the loss and damage caused by activities undertaken by mature economies.

Adaptation. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry launched the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, which outlines 30 adaptation outcomes that, if completed by 2030, will positively impact about four billion people in lesser developed areas in the world. UN secretary-general António Guterres also addressed the conference and suggested a universal early warning system for five years. In addition, the UN Human Rights and Right Here, Right Now launched the Human Rights Climate Commitments (HRCC) which is an initiative for rights-based climate action.

Accountability. Apart from this, discussions to highlight how greenwashing and weak net zero pledges are threatening to undermine global efforts were held. Global securities regulators called for a closer review of carbon trading to prevent greenwashing by companies to offset their emissions. This has led to a need for transparency and holding organisations accountable for net zero goals as well as establishing clear regulations and standards.

Other key areas of discussions focused on integrating renewable energy and bringing better energy solutions that cater to diverse countries and requirements and the Ukraine war and its impact on the Middle East and Africa. The COP27 agenda this year focused on various topics around finance, resilience, industry, land use, water, energy, and transport to create a sustainable planet.

Future Expectations

With several successful conferences behind us, the world wants more focused implementations and lesser conversations. Here are some of the future expectations:

  • Emerging economies want to see ‘loss and damage’ a part of long-term climate agendas.
  • As extreme weather conditions continue, concrete short-term plans to deal with the water and soil crisis are just as important as long-term ones.
  • More collaborations are required between governments, corporates, investors, and society for new solutions and innovations.
  • Corporates need to commit more to funding sustainable projects, invest in sustainable technology, and actually, reduce their carbon footprint.
  • With today’s unpredictable times, policies need to be framed such that they can easily be amended and adapted to ensure that there is no pause or stop when implementing them.

The need of the hour is to address implementation blocks, facilitate conversations for funding and partnerships, and simple policies that are realistic – especially if 2030 and 2050 targets are to be met.  

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Ecosystm Podcast Episode 16 – Innovation for a Sustainable Future – Featuring SP Group and Equinix-Part 2

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Listen to the second part of Innovation for a Sustainable Future, where Ullrich Loeffler, CEO, Ecosystm speaks with Harsha Sundararaman, Managing Director, Sustainable Energy Solutions, SP Group and Yee May Leong, Managing Director-South Asia, Equinix on cost and energy savings in green buildings, collaborative sustainable efforts, how a good digital infrastructure impacts carbon neutral goals, and using data and AI for sustainable innovations.

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Ecosystm Podcast Episode 15 – Interview with Sharad Kumar Agarwal, CDIO, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. – Part 2

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Listen to part 2 of the conversation between Sash Mukherjee, VP Content & Industry Research, Ecosystm and Sharad Kumar Agarwal, CDIO, JKTyre & Industries Ltd as they discuss the challenges that IT leaders face in hiring and retaining talent, and the importance of partner ecosystem landscape for tech implementation.

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Ecosystm Podcast Episode 16 – Innovation for a Sustainable Future – Featuring SP Group and Equinix-Part 1

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Sustainability is top of mind for organisations and governments across the world – and Ecosystm research shows that in Singapore, 70% of enterprises have sustainability as a strategic initiative on their business agenda. It is time to talk to organisations that are leading in this space.

In this EcosystmTV episode Ullrich Loeffler, CEO, Ecosystm talks to Harsha Sundararaman, Managing Director, Sustainable Energy Solutions, SP Group and Yee May Leong, Managing Director-South Asia, Equinix about what their organisations are doing to create sustainable development measures, and the different approaches to achieving net-zero goals.

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Ecosystm Podcast Episode 15-Interview with Sharad Kumar Agarwal-JK Tyre-Part1-Cover
Ecosystm Podcast Episode 15 – Interview with Sharad Kumar Agarwal, CDIO, JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. – Part 1

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Sash Mukherjee, VP Content & Industry Research, Ecosystm speaks to Sharad Kumar Agarwal, CDIO, JK Tyre & Industries – one of India’s oldest conglomerates.

Here is what Sharad has to say about:

  • The opportunities for a CDIO in a data-driven world
  • How technology leaders can build a unified IT environment despite the proliferation of apps and workloads
  • The fine balance of being cyber-resilient without hampering customer & employee experience
  • The power of embedding sustainability within an organisation’s culture
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The-future-of-finance-Opportunities-Created-by-Cross-Border-Data-Flows
Opportunities Created by Cross Border Data Flows

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Ecosystm, supported by their partner Zurich Insurance, conducted an invitation-only Executive ThinkTank at the Point Zero Forum in Zurich, earlier this year. A select group of regulators, investors, and senior executives from financial institutions from across the globe came together to share their insights and experiences on the critical role data is playing in a digital economy, and the concrete actions that governments and businesses can take to allow a free flow of data that will help create a global data economy.

Here are the key takeaways from the ThinkTank.

  1. Bilateral Agreements for Transparency. Trade agreements play an important role in developing standards that ensure transparency across objective criteria. This builds the foundation for cross-border privacy and data protection measures, in alignment with local legislations.
  2. Building Trust is Crucial. Privacy and private data are defined differently across countries. One of the first steps is to establish common standards for opening up the APIs. This starts with building trust in common data platforms and establishing some standards and interoperability arrangements.
  3. Consumers Can Influence Cross-Border Data Exchange. Organisations should continue to actively lobby to change regulator perspectives on data exchange. But, the real impact will be created when consumers come into the conversation – as they are the ones who will miss out on access to global and uniform services due to restrictions in cross-country data sharing.

Read below to find out more.

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The Future of Business: 7 Steps to Delivering Business Value with Data & AI

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In recent years, businesses have faced significant disruptions. Organisations are challenged on multiple fronts – such as the continuing supply chain disruptions; an ongoing energy crisis that has led to a strong focus on sustainability; economic uncertainty; skills shortage; and increased competition from digitally native businesses. The challenge today is to build intelligent, data-driven, and agile businesses that can respond to the many changes that lie ahead.

Leading organisations are evaluating ways to empower the entire business with data, machine learning, automation, and AI to build agile, innovative, and customer-focused businesses. 

Here are 7 steps that will help you deliver business value with data and AI:

  • Understand the problems that need solutions. Before an organisation sets out on its data, automation, and AI journey, it is important to evaluate what it wants to achieve. This requires an engagement with the Tech/Data Teams to discuss the challenges it is trying to resolve.
  • Map out a data strategy framework. Perhaps the most important part of this strategy are the data governance principles – or a new automated governance to enforce policies and rules automatically and consistently across data on any cloud.
  • Industrialise data management & AI technologies. The cumulation of many smart, data-driven initiatives will ultimately see the need for a unified enterprise approach to data management, AI, and automation.
  • Recognise the skills gap – and start closing it today. There is a real skills gap when it comes to the ability to identify and solve data-centric issues. Many businesses today turn to technology and business consultants and system integrators to help them solve the skills challenge.
  • Re-start the data journey with a pilot. Real-world pilots help generate data and insights to build a business case to scale capabilities.
  • Automate the outcomes. Modern applications have made it easier to automate actions based on insights. APIs let systems integrate with each other, share data, and trigger processes; and RPA helps businesses automate across applications and platforms.
  • Learn and improve. Intelligent automation tools and adaptive AI/machine learning solutions exist today. What organisations need to do is to apply the learnings for continuous improvements.

Find more insights below.

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Two Weeks with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 – Here Are My Thoughts

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If you have been following my insights and blogs at Ecosystm, it won’t come as a surprise that I am a fan of foldable devices. I have owned the Z Fold3 for over a year now. In that year, I found myself reaching for my tablet less often as the larger screen on the Z Fold3 was enough for most of my needs. Most apps were resized appropriately and provided an improved user experience, and the upgraded OS with a MacOS style application bar made it even easier to switch between applications.

The larger screen of the foldable form factor boosted my productivity too – I could use multiple applications and respond to an email with the content’s source (PDF, Excel file, website, etc.) also open – meaning far less flicking between apps, which isn’t as easy on a smartphone compared to a laptop or a desktop computer. The computer style view for messages and emails (with the email list on the left and the actual email on the right) was brilliant. And I enjoyed using the external screen as a preview screen for taking selfies (I already have my work cut out in making selfies look good! So, being able to see the picture in advance helps a lot).

However, Fold3 had its imperfections. The slightly narrow front screen made typing difficult when the device was folded – I primarily used it to check the status of things (such as turning my coffee machine on/off, checking my solar production, etc.). The inside screen also had durability issues. After a year, Samsung installed screen protector was coming off, and then, the right inner screen gave up completely on me. That said, Samsung has been excellent at fixing these issues under warranty.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 – Enhanced Features

With the launch of the new Z Fold4, I was keen to get my hands on a trial device, and the good people at Samsung and their PR agency arranged that for me. I have now spent two weeks with this device. Despite it being similar in size to the Z Fold3, the upgrades do make a real difference:

  • The few extra mm of width on the front screen makes it much more usable – I can now use this screen for typing messages and entering data. I still prefer the larger screen for things such as consuming content and typing longer emails. But the outside screen is usable for more than just checking the status of systems or apps.
  • The shorter height and the wider screen mean that the inside screen now feels more “expansive” – more of a tablet experience – and is getting closer to an iPad mini. This makes consuming and creating content easier and more enjoyable. As an avid tablet user, even with the Z Fold3, I would hesitate when going out, wondering if I needed to take my iPad with me. I noticed that I did not hesitate with the Z Fold4 – I was fine without my tablet.
  • Typically, newer phones feature improved cameras. This is certainly the case with the Z Fold4 – the camera feels faster than the Fold3, taking lesser time to focus and take pictures. And the images too are sharper and richer.
  • The screen warranty has also improved – perhaps in acknowledgement of the issues with the Z Fold3 screen. There are specials offering screen replacements for a low cost, even if you damage the screen, as well as discounts on Samsung Care+, which offers two replacement devices in 24 months.

The only comment I have is that it is the most slippery phone I have used so far! It didn’t come with a protective case and in two weeks, I have dropped this phone more times than I have dropped any other phone in the past few years! It has slipped off seats and desks as well as out of my pocket and hands. Although, it does claim to “stand up to life’s bumps and fumbles” and this has been accurate so far (as it does not even have a scratch on it yet – which is a surprise as it has hit wood, tiles, and concrete pretty hard!). But if I were keeping the device for any longer, I would immediately purchase a case!

Who Will Use It Most?

Whether this device is right for you depends on your device use patterns. I do believe there is a case for businesses to invest in foldables ­– particularly for employees who share content one on one with clients or prospects, or those who want to be more productive and be away from their desks without lugging a laptop. Anyone who is considering a flagship phone with a larger screen (iPhone Pro Max or Pixel 7 Pro) should take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4. You will be pleasantly surprised with the quality and capability of this device. I know I will be sad to see it go when I hand it back to Samsung!

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