Staying digitally relevant is a constant consideration for the European Commission. As the market begins to see more businesses move closer to Industry 4.0, the Commission is concerned that European small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups will become technologically unable to compete with their international counterparts. To address their concerns, the Commission launched their first digital industry-related initiative, the Digital Single Market package, in April 2016. The package included the establishment of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) that ‘are ecosystems that consist of SMEs, large industries, start-ups, researchers, accelerators, and investors and they aim to create the best conditions for long-term business success for all involved’. They are complete, one-stop help centres that aid their clients in becoming technologically competitive.
While DIHs are good for Europe’s businesses, one might ask ‘why are they relevant to ITPE and to IT professionalism? DIHs are relevant because as more businesses become more technologically advanced, the demand for ICT skills will grow in proportion. Therefore, it enables IT professionals to anticipate the needs of these firms as they also have access to the DIHs, and they can contact them for training advice. Moreover, as DIHs advise both businesses and individuals, both parties are equipped with the compatible skills and a common understanding. Furthermore, as DIHs are very accessible, they create new opportunities within the industry as they can be contacted for advice and for information regarding the models that they use to guide their clients. Knowing the information and advice that DIHs provide, allows organisations and individuals to anticipate the demands of the market as they can predict the actions of firms that use DIHs.
Knowing the demands of the market enables individuals and organisations to capitalise on future trends. With this knowledge, individuals can also acquire the ICT skills that will make them more desirable to employers, such as information and knowledge management or information security strategy development – both competences identified in the e-CF. Organisations, such as digital skills training providers or certification authorities, can also use this information to develop tailored products that address the demand for specific ICT skills, like developing courses specifically designed for digital inventory management. Furthermore, specific products such as software or refresher training courses can be developed to complement the existing services that DIHs provide.
Being able to anticipate market demands will benefit both the consumer and supplier as it will lead to an equilibrium between the supply and demand of ICT skills, something that is essential for a healthy European economy, as it will be able to run efficiently. Moreover, as demand increases and more IT professionals enter the labour force, it provides an opportunity to build new standards within the IT profession.
As businesses’ demand for ICT skills grow, it provides a new opportunity to set new standards within IT professionalism. As the IT profession becomes more integrated into society, new practices will need to be established to regulate the IT profession and ensure that best practices and skills are standard amongst IT professionals. Thus, stakeholders are now in a crucial period where they can influence how these standards are formed, via the political processes of the EU. Overall, as Europe pushes to remain digitally relevant, it is up to us to take advantage of these new opportunities to create new business and to shape IT professionalism as a whole.
Learn more about Digital Innovation Hubs on the European Commission’s website
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