Written by Simone Jones on Wednesday December 4, 2019
Technological advances that seemed like science fiction only 20 years ago have become staples of modern life. There are employees entering the workforce now that don’t know life before smartphones, colleagues who weren’t born before the advent of the Web.
How do we address and understand such changes? One attempt is the acronym ‘VUCA’. Coined in the US military, it has been adopted in the business world as a response to the world’s increasing unpredictability (VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).
Taken on their own, these nouns arouse feelings of unease. Taken together, they can amount to anxiety. In effect, they sum up the new terrain in which we today find ourselves, the gnawing feeling of not knowing what’s around the corner. What lies ahead in 20 years’ time? What about the next 10, or even 5?
The fertile ground of the Internet provides a veritable forest of competing predictions, but the simple truth is that no one knows for sure what lies in store. We can only focus on what we do know: that the fast pace of change will continue and that technology will be the centre of that change.
Technology: opportunity and risk
With this in mind, let’s focus on technology, for it is this in particular that is raising questions around the world for its potential impact on jobs.
Earlier in 2019 the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) commissioned a study on how both automation and data analytics are likely to transform or augment jobs in the financial sector in Singapore. Of the 121 jobs studied, they found that all would be affected in some way, with individuals having more responsibility for tasks involving judgment and creativity.
Dave Lefort, Chief editor at Compliance Week speaking at Compliance Week Europe 2019
Associate Director of ICA David Robson recently chaired a panel at Compliance Week’s European conference on ‘The Compliance Officer of the Future’ and one of the discussions from this was the focus on technology – both as an opportunity and as a risk.
The potential for technology to change or even replace some roles within the workplace (a topic addressed previously on ICA Insight: Will AI replace compliance professionals?) is a recurring topic of discussion. But artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are just two developments that have the potential to change our future landscape; other technologies, such as Blockchain and virtual currencies, have also been flagged as having the potential for disruption.
Whilst it’s easy to focus on the disruptions, it’s worth remembering that there are abundant opportunities opening up too, as evidenced by the power of technology to help combat serious crime, such as human trafficking.
Skills to prepare for future
There may be many aspects of the future that are outside of our influence, but something that we can control is our ability to invest in our knowledge and skills to better prepare us for the opportunities and challenges that we may be presented with.
As we come to the close of a decade and look forward to the 2020s, we must consider what we need in order to succeed. The best way for compliance professionals to confront the challenges the future will present is to become adaptable lifelong learners with a broad depth of understanding. These twin concepts will help the future become something we participate in, rather than something that is imposed upon us.
At International Compliance Association, we are committed to helping compliance and financial crime professionals develop the knowledge and skill set required to face the rapidly changing world around them, effectively respond to threats and manage risk.
Through our portfolio of professional qualifications, awarded in association with Alliance Manchester Business School, we aim to equip and prepare our students and members with the skills that they need to flourish in the future, however uncertain that may seem. Visit this page to find out which ICA course is the right one for you.
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