Now that Davos is over, it’s time to start reskilling those 1 billion people

The World Economic Forum concluded its annual meeting in Davos last week. Society and the future of work was one of the key themes. A common requirement running through this theme is the need to reskill and upskill about 1 billion people. That’s not a typo - with a “b”. So about 46% of the global population needs the appropriate education and training to be prepared for the future of work. Additionally, the World Economic Forum’s research points out that in the next two years – by 2022 – 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change. To get it right for people that need retraining and for K12 students currently going through education systems, a massive transformation in the way we structure and deliver education is required. Of course, technology will be a key component in enabling this transformation. One investment area that will help education CIOs make immediate progress is moving communications to the cloud. Making this transition now frees up time and money to reinvest, provides a cost-effective way to extend the classroom and empowers teachers and administrators with secure and reliable collaboration tools.

The emergence of clusters of professions of the future, 2020-2022

Source: WEF Jobs of Tomorrow 2020

Reinvest time and money

Digital transformation isn’t cheap, so leaders are looking for real dollars they can redirect to fund reinvention efforts. Communications are often overlooked as a source of meaningful savings. When it comes to the topic of moving communications to the cloud, do any of the following remarks sound familiar?

  • “With our current number of employees, it is going to be an expensive and time-consuming process that will be too disruptive.”
  • “Although our system is pretty outdated, we just signed a 3-year maintenance contract with a third party vendor.”
  • “I am worried about the length of the learning curve and the demands it will place on the IT team if we decided to make the switch.”

With aging on-premise telephony, how expensive are the maintenance contracts? How easy is it to upgrade capabilities? Can you get timely, accurate and complete analytics? How much time is your IT team spending on managing the phone systems? How are you enabling secure collaboration between teachers and students? Teachers and parents? Are you able to cost-effectively extend the classroom to remote students? Can you easily bring experts into the classroom without having them be physically present?

As you evaluate moving communications to the cloud, questions like these are important when calculating transition costs as transitioning to cloud-based communications results in savings – both hard dollars as well as soft dollars. To get a sense of the potential savings, try out this simple ROI calculator.

At the WEF in Davos, Switzerland, discussions took place that revolved around the current global education crisis. Populations across the globe need to restructure their education systems and funding in order to meet the demands of an ever-changing and highly-connected world. Considering the fact that 46% of the global population needs a more modern education plan, a major transformation in public school funding across the globe is long overdue. Estimates of some 42% by 2022 will need core skills to meet changing requirements for high-tech employment. CIOs, therefore, need to have a sense of urgency to drive changes in education and training so that their school divisions are not left behind.

A good example of such proactive action is taking place in the Commonwealth of Virginia. On January 27, 2020, thousands of public school teachers descended upon the State Capitol to protest and demand an increase in teacher salaries (currently $8,500 less than the national average) along with per-student funding (down 8% since the recession in inflation-adjusted dollars). Textbooks are outdated and the teacher-student ratio is high. Governor Ralph Northam is proactive in handling these funding issues. Governor Northam’s budget includes a $1.2 billion investment in public education. Although generous, the budget falls short of proper funding for modern technology. Other states and nations globally should follow suit and properly fund their education programs to meet the demands of the ever-changing world. Cloud communications will help save time and money while enabling school divisions to collaborate amongst teachers, students, parents, and administrators.

Extend the classroom to the students

Extending the classroom to the students is essential in 2020. Technology CIOs can support the transformation at scale by extending the classroom to the world - cloud communications. Or, more specifically, unified communications as a service (UCaaS).

With voice, video and chat capabilities, UCaaS provides an affordable way to extend classrooms to the world.

The new ways to collaborate will enable teachers to communicate with other teachers. This will also lead to changing the way we communicate with students and transform the way we deliver instruction and curricula.

Enable new ways to collaborate

Moving communications to the cloud can free up time and money and while enabling educators to reskill and upskill in order to prepare students for the future. To do that, both educators and schools are in need of additional funding. Cloud communication can increase collaboration in many different ways. Examples could include video-based instruction, professional development, and distance education.

Distance hinders collaboration. Therefore, video conferencing enables communication across geographic boundaries and helps facilitate educational and cultural exchanges.

Time is not your friend

The time to implement these changes is now. School CIOs should be aggressive in advocating for proper technology funding and implementing cloud collaboration technology to deliver the education the children need to prepare for the world of the future.

Moving communications to the cloud can free up time and money that can be redirected in up-to-date classroom instruction and collaboration.

Proper funding for public education utilizing cloud communications is important, in that, we need to properly prepare the next generation of tech-savvy students for the future.