The word “digital economy” implies the wide use of information technology in all aspects of running organizations, be they business or otherwise. The technology underlying the digital economy goes far beyond the internet and personal computers. It permeates systems and processes at the core of these organizations.
As such, it calls for all those working in these organizations to be computer literate or have IT skills, lest they be declared redundant.
As IT continues to get cheaper, faster, better and easier, organizations have no choice but to adapt. It is no wonder that very many organizations have digitized their processes. The differences between those organizations that have adapted and those that have not are palpable.
As organizations continue to be transform into being IT compliant, it is becoming a necessity or mandatory for individuals to undertake computer courses in order for them to fit well in these organizations. This best explains what we mean by digital economy, an economy where most of the things are done using computers.
Because even simple business transactions are no longer recorded manually, employers are keen on those who have some form of IT experience. It is no longer about just having a degree in a relevant field. Those who have IT knowledge and experience have an added advantage when it comes to job seeking. Employers do not want to incur an extra dime to train new employees on matters IT. They want those who already are trained.
The digital economy presents a big challenge for older employees. Indeed, it is increasingly becoming necessary for them to go back to class to learn basic computer skills. The threat from new employees who are tech savvy is real and the older generation, popularly referred to as “analogue” could see themselves losing their jobs if they don’t up their game.
Instead of just sitting and complaining about this real threat, the older generation should go back to school to learn some basic IT skills so that they can fit in the digital economy. Having the skills will render them relevant, useful and productive.
While the young generation may consider itself ahead, they cannot also sit on their laurels. The IT world undergoes changes so fast and drastically. Tech gurus are launching new programs like literally overnight.
Before you have completed learning a program, updates come calling. If you don’t quickly upgrade your knowledge, you are quickly left behind.
It is no longer enough to have scratched the surface of some computer packages after high school. You must have something that makes you stand out in the fast paced IT world. To be more competitive, one needs to learn more advanced skills, say for instance aspects like programming, networking, trouble shooting, cloud services, CAD programs and so on. Such skills serve to broaden the opportunities of getting employment.
Holding a CPA qualification does not mean that you will only be employed as an accountant in this digital economy. Your employer may actually hire you not just because you completed your CPA but because you also hold a diploma in IT and are hence more productive.
We should therefore stop complaining about lack of job opportunities and instead work towards making ourselves into what the employers need. The advantage to most students is that IT has been integrated within their syllabuses hence one has no excuse for ignorance.
Benefits of a digital economy
There are several advantages that accrue to a business for adopting information communication technologies.
That information communication technology has a great impact on a firm’s performance and its competitiveness is beyond debate. A firm that has adapted the use of modern technologies will incur lower operation costs as tasks that require no creativity are assigned to IT controlled systems ran by a handful of personnel. This translates to lower wages for organizations.
While many may argue that the IT race is resulting in retrenchment of many workers, it may actually work better for the digital economy . Indeed, the retrenches venture out into new business start-ups that could eventually offer more employment opportunities.
Most organizations are currently adapting to the online forms of business such as selling and advertising of products. This is a rapidly growing trend and is very profitable for the organizations that succeed in it. Online business models brings down running costs significantly, especially overheads. The reason is because such businesses do not maintain an actual physical office which would incur expenses like rent, electricity, water, repairs and so on.
Instead, they create what is called a “virtual” office whose only footprints are files on computers. The only costs such businesses incur are those of the warehouse where they store their commodities before shipment or delivery to customers. They don’t even need manual book keeping as their transactions are done online via credit cards or mobile money transfer services.
Consumers have also learned that this is the most convenient way to purchase products, especially when you consider that home delivery is part of the package. With time, this will undoubtedly and eventually become the most common way of doing business because online business have market reach that is a much wider physical outlets.
Information technology also helps improve the quality of products that a firm makes. The finesse of such products renders them more desirable to the consumers thus increasing the competitiveness of an IT compliant firm in comparison to similar firms making similar products using “analogue” methods.
To survive and succeed for long, old and new organization would be well advised to transform and adapt the new IT technologies and processes.
Enhancement in communication is also a great benefit to those organizations that have adapted to the digital economy. Tasks are accomplished faster since no physical movement is required to pass information. E-mails and short messages are the norm. Ideas are also shared among those in similar lines of business or even among the employees thus improving production methods.
As the country intends to go digital, we should too. Learn current trends and keep up with technology so that your skills do not end up obsolete, costing you your job or even company.