Arming the Workforce of the Future: “The Renaissance Tech”
The following blog post is by Susan Schramm, Vice President of Sales Effectiveness and Global Channels at JDSU.
What does the future hold for individuals whose mission is keeping our critical communications networks humming? Will superhuman technicians with encyclopedic memories be required to keep the “internet of things” from going down? Could cloud and self-healing networks allow people to manage networks remotely from secret bunkers, and eliminate the need for technicians to ever visit a customer? Or will drones do all the work and human beings won’t even be needed?
OK, that probably sounds like science fiction. But our company has the privilege to work with thousands of companies who provide communications networks across the globe, from wireless carriers to cable and cloud providers to network manufacturers, governments, and enterprises. Some days, reality seems closer to science fiction, so we provide instruments, software, and services to help these companies navigate relentless change in technology and business models, enabling them to optimize the value of their networks and the productivity of their employees.
“The future of communications will demand individuals armed with a broader set of knowledge, skills, and tools than in the past – we can call them ‘renaissance techs.'”
We believe the future is bright for those pursuing careers supporting the critical networks of the future – but only if they are well-armed. History teaches that those who take on great challenges need to approach problems differently. Revered “Renaissance men,” from daVinci to Galileo to Benjamin Franklin, intently worked to expand their knowledge and abilities to address the big questions of their time. In the same way, the future of communications will demand individuals armed with a broader set of knowledge, skills, and tools than in the past – we can call them “renaissance techs.” At least three important qualities will define these individuals:
o Curiosity about the Big Picture: Maximizing the “customer experience” requires people who fully understand the interaction between the network, the device, and the application. Techs of the future will need unrelenting curiosity about what is happening end-to-end, and the ability to pinpoint problems and propose solutions proactively, often beyond their specific area of responsibility.
o Visibility beyond what is Obvious: Networks of the future are becoming overwhelmingly complex. In a panel discussion at the OSP conference conference, we discussed the challenges of quickly ramping “gigabit cities.” While some spoke to the challenges of technical scalability and financial investment, we believe arming people to take on the related complexity will be just as important. Real-time visibility deep into the network and powerful analytics that quickly synthesize the tsunamis of data into intelligence will allow techs to take the right action at the right time – and more often, right the first time.
o Customer “Trust-ability:” With burgeoning use of e-commerce sites and virtual agents, technicians are fast becoming the only human interaction a customer might ever have with their network provider. Those individuals who can communicate with their customers without using technical gibberish, who can predictively pinpoint and quickly resolve issues with the right tools and insights, and who can helpfully explain and guide customers to improve their experience, will not only differentiate themselves as trusted advisors but improve the brand of their employer.
Communications networks of the future are poised to disrupt and transform industries and economies. But it is imperative we also transform the workforce of the future so that they can implement, support and evolve those same networks. Armed with curiosity, visibility, and trust-ability, the future for “renaissance techs” will be a bright one.
Susan Schramm is Vice President of Sales Effectiveness and Global Channels at JDSU. She was recently featured in OSP Magazine as part of the Women in Telecom series. She talks about workforce efficiency and the technician of the future in the following video: http://bit.ly/1wyGXQs. JDSU offers a wide range of workforce efficiency and instrument management solutions that enable the “Renaissance Tech.”