Future of Work: Industry Perspectives

Digital technology is rapidly transforming the telecommunications industry. Although the US is not a leader in this area, emerging technologies such as the cloud, edge, 5G, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data management, and security have provided an opening for American companies to compete again. These technologies are highly disruptive and US developers are taking advantage of this opportunity which is in turn generating new employment across the country.


This guide is designed to describe some of the Key Industry Perspectives in the future of work. It tries to summarize some of the important insights which were discussed in the Future of Work Pioneers Podcast. There is a great deal of nuance in these discussions and the reader would benefit from going straight to the original podcasts online, with the summary in this guide serving as a sign post for topics he or she finds interesting.

Guide Overview:
1. John Roese (Global CTO, Dell Technologies)
The Future of Digital Transformation for Telecommunications
2. Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau (CEO & Publisher MIT Technology Review)
The Future of Media & Technology
3. Tanuj Kapilashrami (Group Head HR, Standard Charted Bank)
The Future of Work in Financial Services
4. Anant Agarwal (Founder & CEO, edX)
The Future of Education & Lifelong Learning
5. Cathy Fraser (CHRO, Mayo Clinic)
The Future of Work in Healthcare
6. Kristen Anstrom(Chief, Intel & Chandra Osann(Visualization
Manager, Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
The Future of Work in Intelligence Business

The Future of Digital Transformation for Telecommunications

Discussion with John Roese (Global CTO, Dell Technologies)

Digital transformation isn’t a new thing for digital businesses. According to Roese, non-digital businesses now realize the importance of this transformation, and the vast majority of enterprises have at least started the shift toward digitization. As a concept, digital transformation is just using technology to win in your space – but what technology?

Roese describes six emerging technologies: cloud ecosystems, edge, 5G, AI & ML, data management, and security. He tells us that as long as businesses get those six major technologies right and are continually making progress, their industries will move forward. 

Future of Work: Industry Perspectives

In just a matter of weeks since the COVID-19 outbreak, telecommunication companies found themselves at the heart of a fast-changing world. 

Looking back a decade ago, Roese tells us that there were no telecommunication companies based in the United States, creating a telecom skills gap in America. Furthermore, telecom skill sets were not prized in the United States and almost all the telecom development was based in China, Sweden, or somewhere else – but not the U.S.

Interestingly, as the world started to move into the 5G era, companies like Dell, Microsoft, and even industrial companies like Corning, have started to build the next ecosystem to deliver on this modern take on wireless. 

So, what can someone do if they want to start or restart their career in telecommunications?

Roese points out two things. One, if you have telecom skills that you didn’t think were valuable because of how the U.S. lost its edge, that’s coming back and is bringing job opportunities with it.
Two, if you’re a developer who can intelligently utilize a more distributed mobile environment based on technologies like 5G, then telecommunication companies are eager to leverage your skills.

The tech industry perspectives have been accelerated by many modern Chinese tech companies. Roese’s work with Longway provided him with a first-hand view of what a modern Chinese company looks like and the active role played by the Chinese government to catalyze the industry perspectives. According to Roese, the Chinese realized that technology is a great equalizer that can be of strategic advantage, and one of the significant technical areas is telecommunications. The Chinese have also realized that AI & ML are foundational, and that the amount of forces that are producing engineers, data scientists, and data engineers is significant. 

Roese makes us aware that the Chinese possess an advantage over the West when it comes to access to data. The rules around privacy of data in China and what you can do with it in the service of AI are less stringent as compared to the United States and Europe. This means that Chinese companies have an advantage when it comes to developing and training AI models, while getting access to large quantities of data without the same restrictions faced by their competitors in the Western world.

We are now entering an era where data pipelines are being built in a multi-cloud concept. 

For those who are not familiar with this concept, Roese proceeds to share the origin of the cloud, how it works, its advantages, and what this means for businesses globally.

From a security perspective, it is important to see the multi-cloud infrastructure as the foundation enabling digital transformation. According to Roese,

If you get to a point where you can…see a coherent view of a collection of clouds, edges, and a telco all working and providing services to you, then you have a foundation to actually have a digital transformation on.

The next five years will be about refining and maturing, with the idea of the hybrid multi-cloud system as the end state for most customers.

This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book.


The Future of Media & Technology

Discussion with Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau (CEO & Publisher MIT Technology Review)

The world of media and technology is also being transformed by digital technology. This is true in terms of how content is created, consumed and distributed. As has long been the case, the low cost of reproducing digital media create enormous challenges for traditional media so they must develop new business models to remain viable commercial enterprises.

There has been a surge in media consumption since the pandemic began, with people around the globe trying to stay updated on the crisis and its impact. Bramson-Boudreau sees the aggregators like Apple News and social media companies like Facebook and Twitter bring fresh challenges for media companies and their business models.

In a hyper-competitive environment for eyeballs, media firms are trying to define their niche and MIT Review has been no different.  Given its affiliation with a major university and its delivery of cutting-edge content have given the Review a way to differentiate itself and grow its user base. 

Bramson-Boudreau emphasizes that content should be paid for, but she also understands that there is a limit to the number of different subscriptions that users can purchase. If there’s one thing that MIT Technology Review can promise to its readers, it is their long-standing credibility and authority in the world of technology. Readers subscribe to the Review to get insights into technology, where it’s coming from, what it’s going to do, where it’s going next, and how it can have an impact on the way people work and the way people live in a society as a whole.

Thanks to the political discourse in the U.S., even the most credible media companies have come under attack. There is a lot of misinformation about the so-called “fake news” and other media myths that impact the media’s credibility today. 

How does MIT Technology Review operate in this kind of environment, and what steps is the Review taking to maintain the trust of their readers?

According to Bramson-Boudreau, the Review has experienced journalists who are dedicated to delivering credible news on tech and science, and who are constantly consulting with experts in whatever topic the article is about. This is where the MIT relationship becomes very useful in giving added credibility to the Review, and as a platform, the publication has dedicated itself to engaging the world’s top subject matter experts in its reporting on critical issues.

There is a big shakeup in the competitive landscape of media, and according to Bramson-Boudreau, large publishers like The New York Times and The Washington Post will become more and more dominant as they begin to build out coverage in a wide range of topics. Media sites that used to focus on business are also developing large teams to cover topics like technology that were not their areas of focus. As people become overwhelmed with the number of subscriptions they need to maintain across different websites, they are likely to gravitate toward these larger platforms, if they are successful with the new content. 

So, how does MIT Technology Review approach this new world of media?

By digging deeper into what people cannot get from other media companies – the deep tech; the understanding of what is coming out of labs; and what’s being developed in R&D centers – this kind of specialized reporting the larger media companies cannot match.

MIT Technology Review grapples with a wide range of topics, such as the societal, political, and commercial impacts of technology. What are the trends that Bramson-Boudreau is seeing that would impact societies from a macro perspective and in the future?

For the last 20 years, MIT Technology Review has been releasing an annual list of the top 10 breakthrough technologies, and Bramson-Boudreau mentions that they have recently released the one for 2021 prior to the podcast.

From this list, Bramson-Boudreau highlights three of the technologies that have caught her attention. Two of them relate to the ways in which artificial intelligence is emerging and evolving. The other one is a type of technology that leverages natural language processing to create linguistic text by pulling together a number of different sources.

Bramson-Boudreau ends the podcast by encouraging people to support journalists who have dedicated their lives to delivering credible, good content to everyone. The content and subscriptions that people pay for go to the salaries and wages of the writers and the editors. She believes that good content shouldn’t be seen as something that you can get for free, and if it were, it wouldn’t be as good. 

Bramson-Boudreau concludes,
I think the world we live in will only be better if we have a functioning journalistic media industry.

This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book.

The Future of Work in Financial Services

Discussion with Tanuj Kapilashrami (Group Head HR, Standard Charted Bank)

Finance has long been at the forefront of harnessing digital technology. Increasingly, this is true not just in terms of how financial service firms engage with customers and analyze the vast stores of information they gather but also in terms of how they interact with their employees.

When leaders speak about the future of work, flexibility is almost always mentioned first. Kapilashrami agrees and also sees agility as a huge component in the future of work paradigm. 

According to Kapilashrami, financial services, as a sector, had never experienced any level of flexible working, mostly because of regulatory constraints. The industry perspectives of the financial services is a highly regulated one and many of the jobs have clear regulatory standards.

When the pandemic struck, in a matter of days, 80% of Standard Chartered’s global workforce started to work from home. The rules of the game changed for much of the business, the exceptions being a few branches and service centers.

Kapilashrami says that it was both a cultural and an infrastructural challenge to have people work from home. Standard Chartered had to equip its employees with the necessary infrastructure and also tweak traditional banking operations, which are usually done onsite. It was a big change. 

Kapilashrami has been a passionate advocate for redesigning the employee experience at Standard Chartered. One of the things she did in the early days of her tenure, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, was establish an employee experience council. This was jointly chaired by the bank’s Chief Technology Officer and Kapilashrami herself. In this context, she sees herself and others engaging in this kind of transformation as product managers, and their product is employment. Like any good product manager, one needs to deploy design thinking in order to obtain the best results. Having such a forum focused on employee experience became a valuable asset for the bank’s HR leadership as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded.

As a progressive organization, Standard Chartered has launched a program called Future of Work Now. The future of work has arrived and the bank’s leadership has been working on solutions to the current challenges facing its employees.  How do you implement flexible work at scale? What is Standard Chartered’s point of view around hybrid working? These are some of the questions people need to work around in redesigning how work gets done, so that flexibility won’t just be about working remotely.  It needs to take into account work, family and the cultural context in which the employees operate.

This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book.

The Future of Education & Lifelong Learning

Discussion with Anant Agarwal (Founder & CEO, edX)

More customized, personalized educational experiences are enabled by digital technology and that mode of learning is now here to stay. The old model of every student sitting in a classroom at one designated time is now obsolete. In a world in which continuous learning is a sine qua none, workers must be empowered to learn at their own pace and to study at any time during the day. Digital technology makes that possible which is why it will become intrinsic to education going forward.

Professor Agarwal tells us that various studies have shown that by 2030, more than half of today’s jobs will be transformed into newer jobs. So, this raises the question: If half the planet is out of a job because of automation and technology, what do we do? Clearly, half of the planet can’t be just out of a job. Thus, this brings us to the challenge of having to upskill millions of people. You might go from being a truck driver to working in IT or from doing marketing to becoming a digital marketer. One thing is clear, the rise of AI and Machine Learning are completely transforming how we think about work.

 Professor Agarwal defines the problem:
These are all completely transforming how we think about work. And then, very quickly, you realize that we have a planet-scale upskilling problem on our hands, and the only way around that is to educate people and get them to upskill.

There will be plenty of people who will not be able to go back to a university to get a degree. Let’s take the case of a worker who has a child and is in his mid 30s. The opportunity cost will be too big, so those people won’t be able to take off a year of work and go study at a campus. That would simply be too hard. So, this raises the question: What does a professional like that do to upskill themselves?

As mentioned before, they won’t be able to go to campus. In other words, for the future of work, working professionals have to learn online. They have to learn from where they are. According to Professor Agarwal, “[L]earning has to come to them as opposed to them going to learning.” 

Secondly, learning has to become modular. Many professionals don’t have the time to complete a full master’s degree. One way to implement and realize this idea of modularity is edX’s example of MicroMasters, which are about 25 percent of a full master’s degree. This type of modular credential would allow for upskilling and reskilling opportunities that can lead to career advancements for professionals. It requires less time and is cheaper than more traditional options. This would be one concrete example of how to rethink education for the future of work. 

Another critical piece for the future of education has to do with credentialing. Professor Agarwal strongly believes that credentialing needs to evolve. Many people have thought about degrees as the final way of judging a person’s worth. Obviously, in some ways, this way of thinking is rapidly shifting. An example of this would be companies who removed a bachelor’s degree as a requirement in order to give someone a job. However, the real challenge is how do you measure the skills right now? How do you determine whether someone knows something?

In the past, people measured things such as pass rates. So, did you pass a sign of success? However, in these cases, no one actually cares to see if passing a course would lead to getting a good job or not. That way of thinking has to change. edX measures its success based on outcomes. In other words, after finishing things such as MicroMasters, how many learners would have a career advancement (e.g., a pay raise, a promotion, or a new job)? Did you get (as a learner) what you were looking for? Did you get an outcome that you cared about? And, did you get the right skills that would help you get a career advancement to do better at your job? Clearly, in these cases, the important metrics should really look at the actual outcomes rather than metrics that focus on things such as the time a learner put into a course. 

We wanted to know what Aggarwal thinks would happen in the next 30 years? He identified the following three characteristics, which will be relevant for the future of education:

1. Education will become modular
Instead of education being one-size-fits-all, where you will get a degree or you will be a failure, we will be moving towards modular education where people will be earning micro credentials for smaller pieces of learning. These smaller modular credentials will stack up into full degrees, and many of these degrees will come from multiple institutions. Professor Agarwal refers to this approach as “the Lego way”, i.e., “Lego education.” You can mix and match pieces of education from different places to create full degrees.

2. Education will become omni-channel
Omni-channel education will just be like omni-channel retail. Amazon, now also owning Whole Foods, allows you to ship in person or you can order online. Similarly, education would become omni-channel. Professor Agarwal believes that every university that will still be standing at that time will be offering both online learning and in-person learning, both for residential students and for online students. Blended learning will become the new normal.

3. Education will become life-long

Lastly, education will consist of life-long learning. Learning in today’s age generally tends to be equated with learning between the ages of 18 and 22. You learn for four years and then you start work. Professor Agarwal believes that in the future, learning will be completely life-long. This phenomenon can already be observed in the context of the future of work, where you have to keep learning just to stay abreast of where you are, and you have to learn to make progress.

This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book.


The Future of Work in Healthcare

Discussion with Cathy Fraser (CHRO, Mayo Clinic)

Health care is a part of the human capital paradigm. Due to its high degree of regulation, it has been slower to adopt digital technology but that is rapidly changing as health care providers embrace cost-saving tools such as informatics, telemedicine and internet-connected medical devices.

For most people, when they think about healthcare, they think of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and clinics – the view in which healthcare has traditionally been about clinic rules only. There is always going to be an element of clinical rules, which is the actual part of delivering healthcare. 

For Fraser, the future of healthcare is increasingly about digital, informatics, human capital, logistics, and devices. A challenge that Fraser sees is that there aren’t enough people looking to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, so stimulating that pipeline is going to be really important. 

How healthcare is delivered today is going to be different from how it will be delivered in the future. Fraser says that upskilling and reskilling at Mayo Clinic involves having better digital competency. Mayo also encourages its workforce to be attuned to diversity and inclusion, and be able to focus on the experience of a patient and their family.

Fraser makes us aware that Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit and educational organization, and while it provides services in healthcare, another major focus is on education. The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science (MCCMS) is a  research university that trains physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals. Mayo Clinic sees the College continuing to provide a significant pipeline when it comes to recruiting.

People enter the MCCMS learning a specific way of practicing medicine and how to align with the organization’s core values. This way when they hire graduates, it is a continuation of their learning experience rather than having to start fresh.

How we work in many different industries will be radically altered by digital technology in the years to come. Human capital development on a continuous basis depends upon the coordination of innovation in industries as varied as telecom, education and health care. All of this has been accelerated by the pandemic which has forced industries to utilize new digital technologies as never before.

This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book right here.

The Future of Work in Intelligence Business

Kristen Anstrom(Chief, Intel & Chandra Osann(Visualization Manager, Office of the Director of National Intelligence)

The mission of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence is to lead American intelligence agencies in a collaborative effort to help keep our country safe. In the innovation- driven world we live in today, there can be no complacency, and that’s why people like Anstrom and Osann are working to drive change in the intelligence community. They are working with federal partners to leverage new technologies that create extraordinary opportunities for the intelligence community and tools which will transform how they do business. As an example, Osann tells us that they have piloted a crowdsourcing platform in which IC officers can pitch solutions and pledge money to their favorite ideas:

We’re doing this to encourage a more diverse group of participants. Since creativity can be expressed in many different ways in terms of obstacles, I think we’re still transitioning to thinking of innovation as a team sport having the brilliant idea. Is just part of the puzzle. You still need to implement it.

With the help of colleagues in the contracts and legal departments, they are working to demystify implementation and create a cadre of golf caddies who can advise innovators along the way. Their expertise in navigating the legal and security paperwork will ensure that anyone’s good work is protected, and their training ensures that they’re able to identify and obtain funding for their great ideas.

The Intel Community developed strategic initiatives that create a framework for how they work across the intelligence community. Over the course of the last two years, there’s been
a lot of discussion, both internally and with partners, about how best to describe what these strategic initiatives are and what they mean to them as part of the technology ecosystem. Two of these initiatives are called Augmenting Intelligence with Machines or the AIM initiative and the Right Trusted Agile Workforce, or RTAW initiative. According to Anstrom, focusing
on leadership capability is not just a matter of investing in talent. It means augmenting their intelligence with emerging technologies and creating a workforce that is more agile and productive. It means creating a culture where they trust people to do their job and always do the right thing. It also means to empower everyone to grow the community and drive results.


AI is an augmentation to the way people work. So, it’s not meant to replace humans, let alone replace their jobs. What it’s really doing is automating and designing for this concept of human intelligence + artificial intelligence machine. According to Osann:

“If we start with the human need first, rather than the technical capability, and that’s something pretty big in design thinking, it’s understanding your users, understanding what their needs are, what some of their challenges are, and then identifying and validating potential solutions to meet those needs.”

Anstrom adds that it is important to understand that all of these initiatives and all of these changes are going to start changing culture as well. While they have embraced technology in new ways in collecting intelligence, applying it to their processes and their people is a whole different challenge. It’s a challenge to try to find that perfect balance between the human side of their mission and the machines that make them as effective as they possibly can be.
This exclusive content is part of The Future Of Work: Lessons From The Trenches Of Corporate America | Download the E-Book right here.