CHRIS VASSALLO CESAREO – PRESIDENT – THE MALTA CHAMBER
As the newly-elected President of The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, I see so much potential and business growth when one invests in tech and digitilisation. In fact one of the 5 main pillars in my vision for the coming two years is digitilisation.
As representatives of the private sector in Malta we find that the most salient barrier that really stands in the way of our progress with digitalisation is the lack of sufficiently skilled and reasonably priced human capital to make things happen. Digitalisation offers noticeable productivity gains and may be perceived as the easiest notion to get decision-makers to buy into, but technology does not just refer to digital technology. The latter has overtaken our daily lives to the point where we frequently associate the term “technology” with it alone, without the human element which complements it.
Thanks to our Public Private Partnership, The Malta Chamber together with Tech.MT are best placed to ensure an enabling environment for a business-friendly transition which would ensure that the essential elements that enable Malta to be a “winner” in the digital economy of tomorrow are in place.
The development of critical competencies, such as numeracy and digital skills, is relevant to everyone in our community and is not just important for academic or professional settings. As The Malta Chamber, we frequently argue in our contributions to policymaking, not least during our recent Jumpstart Learning conference in March which focused on Education. Indeed, modernising present employment and skills laws is vital to meet the demands of a world that is becoming progressively more digital.
Regardless of the industry or the nature of the job, proficiency in the use of digital tools and services is essential. The Malta Chamber insists that one crucial requirement is for the educational curriculum to give all children a foundational understanding of ICT, something which is unfortunately still missing today.
A comprehensive transformation approach goes well beyond cost reduction. It places our companies on a higher performance trajectory. It is true that some things require time, like altering mindsets and integrating digital technology outside of IT, but results will be rewarding.
In view of all this three essential stages must be accomplished to guarantee that changes stick, which are: (a) establishing a foundation for an expedient execution at the outset; (b) maintaining momentum beyond the initial launch; and (c) merging the operational infrastructure of the transformation into business as usual.
A variety of manufacturing and service sectors are adopting business models based on technology and product platforms, fundamentally altering the nature of the marketplace and the rules of competition.
In other words, there seems to be more emphasis about the tech (T) without the human resources (H)…
However, human capital continues to be the most important prerequisite for moving toward an open economy dependent on knowledge services, value-added manufacturing, and e-tourism – to mention a few.
Therefore, The Malta Chamber together with Tech.MT will continue to support you as you face and address difficulties associated with data security, lack of in-house IT professionals, employee resistance to change, organizational agility, and a plan for change along this digitalization path.
This article was first published in the Tech.mt Annual Report 2022.