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Recently timed with a round of layoffs, Wells Fargo made the bold statement “100,000 banking jobs [more than a third of the company!] could be lost to automation in the next five years – its really a swap to bots from bankers”. Citing a 110-page report on the effect of digitization, Wells Fargo is clearly doing some homework to understand the major and often scary impacts of technology on organizations and workers of the future. But there are many organizations in every industry that haven’t addressed workforce impacts of digital technologies at all. Where are the biggest risks to our workforce and how can we create a better future for human workers and the planet as the boulder of automation and change roars downhill crushing many along the way? Today’s IT strategies are challenged enough streamlining infrastructure (tech plumbing) and sorting through hype about new possibilities from digital transformation – whatever ‘transformation’ means. More is needed as our planet has a growing awareness of diversity and the need to balance purpose with profit, and many new organizations like BCorp and Mindful Materials springing up to drive this vision. While vast numbers of jobs may not disappear or change much in one year, in five or ten years every industry will see changes in skillsets, jobs and a need to reorganize as a direct result of technologies that are already available today. Many organizations are already using technologies like robotic process automation (RPA) to replace repetitive human tasks, or augmented and virtual reality to design and construct, with more accuracy and lower cost. Job impacts will cascade to every function including mine as an IT leader. At the CEO and leadership level, data skills and talent (beyond reading reports) will become as important, maybe more, than relationships, intuition, experience and historical financial wizardry. Because banking services products are already “digital” (payments, cash, wallets, accounts, transactions), the financial services industry is ahead as usual. Wells Fargo forecasts two-thirds of back-office jobs and a third of front-office roles will be affected (in the next five years). Other industries will follow as processes and work become more digital. So, who is best equipped to understand how technology will impact jobs (and when)? Wells Fargo says “[software] Developers are the new bankers”, a strong indicator that those who understands the nuances of technologies already available are continuing to increase in value and replace traditional workers in an organization. Technologists (and IT teams) have a view across all parts of an organization, its processes and automation. Everyday, IT separates hype from reality, practically applying technologies in a world where the quality of technology in an organization is often invisible and judged by its ease of use. Still, in many cases, software is being sold and introduced in organizations where the IT team knows the problem is deeper than just replacing a system. Ground zero for understanding coming innovation, technology change and impact on workers are technologists– IT, digital, OT, software, cybersecurity. Drawing workers into “IT” or as Friends of Technology, especially those interested and working closely with tech increases innovation and reduces the gap between IT and “the business” and accelerates innovation. Augmenting an existing IT or innovation strategy or building a separate standalone long term IT strategy includes 1- understanding the key technology trends in markets and related industries and 2 – creating long term dialectical (opposing) scenarios to stimulate critical thinking and further understanding to 3 – create immediate plans and actions. While we can’t predict the future, can we be intentional today and create a long-term IT and innovation vision that prioritizes human well being, responsible technology, sustainability and protecting our planet?