Posted 14 Feb 2017 12:42 PM

Come 2017, the era of water tight roles is dead. There would be a complete convergence of roles and sectors as you go high up the ladder. No more would Finance be from Mars and HR from Venus. With horizontal elevations and movements gaining momentum, following are some roles and sectors that would be close to merging in 2017 and the coming years.

Convergence of ROLES:

HR and Finance:
In 2017, HR would cease to be just a support function; it would occupy a more strategic position. It would have to understand finance and business. For HR to play a more effective, strategic role in the organizations and for them to apply quantitative analysis to HR functions, it is crucial that HR professionals possess the requisite skills.For example, you would need to apply financial modeling to better predict future workforce shortfalls.In addition to enhancing their HR departments, some companies would also move midlevel finance personnel to HR simply to give them more experience in preparation for higher positions.
If you are thinking that moving laterally from finance to HR would be a drag on your income, new compensation models are built for horizontal movement, so salary would not be a limiting factor.

HR and Marketing:
Thisyear you will see the walls come down between HR, marketing and customer service roles.With the talent crunch deepening, it is going to be all about candidate experience before and after he gets recruited in the company. A recent study found that nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience and 72% of them have shared their experience on an online employer review site such as When employers don’t notify candidates of their application status, they are discouraged from ever applying for another job at that company again, which limits their future talent pool. Furthermore, a bad candidate experience can turn away customers who may be your candidates, thus resulting in a loss of potential revenue.
Therefore, if you are in an HR role, you need to market yourself and the company so well that it should be the second best option in the minds of even the rejected pool of candidates. You should be for employees what the marketer is to customers.

HR and Data Analysis
HR has always been in the numbers game. From salary and benefits costs to headcount, the numbers have always been big.The key shift that you will see in 2017 is moving away from counting and reporting toward analyzing and predicting – and therein lies the challenge.As an HR professional, you should have the ability to analyze chunks of data and make it tell a story that has profound business value, allowing managers to forecast and align their corporate and people strategies.
To be successful in your HR role you should be hungry for data that supports what organizations do and demonstrate a real contribution to business outcomes.In simple words, it means that an HR professional need not be only a people’s person who can speak and negotiate well, if you have a degree in STEM, it would make all the more sense to move into HR and have an edge over others.

Marketing and IT
With an increasing need for marketing to be data-driven and for customer input to be quickly incorporated into product development, there is going to be a convergence of Marketing and IT. IT might cut across all roles but more so in Marketing. Recently, a Forrester report came out discussing the need for merger of marketing and IT roles as it would truncate the amount of time it takes to collect customer data and increase the value a company can gain from it. While traditionally each department may have existed in a silo, it’s now more important than ever that a Marketing professional also has an insight into the IT role.
Marketing is now more scientific than ever. Through A/B testing and goal tracking, customer interactions can be more closely tracked and messaging more refined than ever before. The key to success in this new model relies on processing all of this information quickly, and making sense of it while it’s still relevant.
The same is true for product development. With the layers between you and your customers effectively gone, many companies are beginning to look into ways to integrate customer feedback into the product development process..
More and more organizations would call them digital agencies going forward. By this there would be a need for people who understand both Marketing and IT.
If you wish to carve out a successful career for yourself, you need to understand that being technical and a marketer is no longer an oxy-moron.

Operations, IT and Data Analytics
Today, it is time to rethink what we mean when we talk about “operations.”A new set of relationships is being formed between the roles of Operations, IT and Data Analytics. Operationsis not only about managing the shop floor. It is also about being efficient and innovative in terms of cost and scope. To get an opportunity to innovate, you need to either have the knowledge of data and analytics or work closely with data and analytics team which in turn depends on the IT department.
So,if the essence of operations is bringing about innovation, digital technology is helping to bring about innovation. Whether we design a new financial investment product, or the next version of Snapchat, the bulk of any organization’s operating capabilities are going to be software-based.
Therefore, if your handle the Operations of your organization, you need to beef up your IT and data analysis skills.

Artificial Intelligence- An all pervasive trend
With teams from IBM Watson, Google DeepMind or Facebook AI Research focusing on Artificial Intelligence, the reality that stares us in the face is that all those repetitive tasks like assembly line manufacturing; minimally invasive surgeries that were once done by human beingswould be done by robots.In the automotive industry, robotic technology allows a car to be made with much more precise welds and almost zero tolerances-better than could ever be achieved by humans. In the healthcare industry, there are numerous successful examples of precise, minimally invasive surgery performed by robots, in some cases with the doctor as far as 200 miles away from the patient’s bed. Robotics would enable surgeons to perform micro cuts and operations beyond the scope of human ability.

2017 would give a new shape to all roles – you could be developing your advertisement with algorithms instead of data processes. With wealth, tax and investments shrinking in human interface and becoming more technical, IT and cognitive computing would shape our careers like never before.

Preparing for 2017
Where does it lead us to? Does it mean that the current jobs will become extinct? Or we would step backwards? There is a shift in the roles, but there is nothing at all to be scared about, all we need to do is reskill ourselves. In whichever role we are, we need to move horizontally- a step further and move towards upgrading our skills so that we are not wiped out.Just because technology can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. Just because certain jobs are at risk of automation doesn’t mean that new ones won’t emerge. There will be a creation of new kinds of jobs- one that need a tangential knowledge of IT and second the ones with a more strategic and global outlook.

Whatever path you may like to follow, one thing is certain- you need to either reskill or upskill yourself to successfully adapt to a world of work in which change is accelerating. And for those of you who think this disruptive change might never happen- we’ve learned a very important lesson in 2016: Never say ‘it will never happen’ because way too often, it does.

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