Administrator’s Day: professors say that data can add value to this profession
Today, September 9, is Administrator’s Day in Brazil. Administrators are multidisciplinary professionals who work in both the public and private sector, in a wide variety of areas, such as logistics, people management, marketing, and marketing administration.
To celebrate these professionals, FGV News talked to four professors: Bernardo Buta, public administration course coordinator at Fundação Getulio Vargas’ School of Public Policy and Government (FGV EPPG); Tatiana Soster, another FGV EPPG coordinator; Carla Soares of FGV EBAPE; and Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti of FGV EAESP.
In this interview, the professors highlight a series of new possibilities for administrators in the private and public sectors, based on the digitization of processes. They all stressed the transformational potential of data and digital acceleration in the field of administration.
How has digital acceleration affected business and public administration in recent years?
Bernardo Buta (FGV EPPG) – Through a series of possibilities for providing services that are migrating to the digital environment. In the case of public administration, the amount of paper in offices is also declining. Today, the processes at most government bodies are all digitalized. We have data available to the population and this makes the public sector much more transparent. Citizens can make demands for information and oversee the state. This is bringing a more democratic aspect to public administration.
Tatiana Soster (FGV EPPG) – Digital acceleration has impacted absolutely all areas that make up any type of organization, whether public or private, in services or industry. I can mention some examples, such as the marketing area, which now makes extensive use of digital marketing, the operations area, which uses all the technological apparatus of Industry 4.0, and people management, which offers online, in-person and hybrid training.
Carla Soares (FGV EBAPE) – Administrators can take advantage of all these digital instruments to make decision making much more efficient. This gives them a great opportunity and a great advantage as managers in this very competitive market that we have today.
Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti (FGV EAESP) – Digital acceleration is affecting the administration area and all its sub-areas in a radical way. We can say that there has been a paradigm shift in the way companies are managed and this change needs to be quickly understood by all those who want their companies to remain competitive in the market.
How has the education of new administrators changed?
Bernardo Buta (FGV EPPG) – To deal with this new and constantly transforming environment, public administrators now need training in programming and big data analysis.
Carla Soares (FGV EBAPE) – Today’s administrators need to have the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn at the same speed. They need to be more open to change and much more flexible. They must understand that new data analysis tools can affect their daily routines and technology is also leading to new business models that are emerging all the time. Well-educated administrators have multiple opportunities in the market, as they have a critical analytical capacity, which is fundamental to efficient management.
What can we expect in the near future regarding digital acceleration’s impacts on this area?
Bernardo Buta (FGV EPPG) – Within the next 10 to 20 years, more than 50% of the jobs that we know today will no longer exist or they will have changed significantly. So, people need to prepare for that. In our case, the impact may be a little smaller, because public administration professionals perform activities that require a high level of knowledge. These activities are less impacted by digital transformation. Thinking about public administration, we have an endless series of new possibilities to provide public services through digital means.
Tatiana Soster (FGV EPPG) – We are already experiencing this future and the tendency is for digital transformation efforts and investments to increase further. As a consequence, manual and repetitive activities will continue to be replaced by machines and systems, affecting the type of professional needed for administrative and operational areas, for example. In addition to technical skills and digital literacy, people management areas will invest in employees’ soft skills, to help them maintain healthy interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Workers will need to refine their skills continuously. After all, the only certainty we have is that change will be constant.
How has the field of administration been contributing to digital acceleration?
Carla Soares (FGV EBAPE) – Data management is necessary for efficient management. For example, artificial intelligence can help marketing managers program customer journeys based on data collected within the organization itself.
Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti (FGV EAESP) – The administration area is making three fundamental contributions to this digital acceleration.
- The first one concerns the extraction of relevant insights from increasingly massive amounts of data in all kinds of business areas.
- The second concerns the identification and implementation of important technologies, which can often completely change the game in a competitive environment.
- The third contribution concerns the assertiveness with which leaders are driving this technological change.
What skills should administrators pay attention to today?
Tatiana Soster (FGV EPPG) – Research indicates a set of essential skills for the job market, including digital literacy, logical reasoning, critical and analytical thinking, innovation and creativity. Managers are expected to take the initiative, show leadership, be resilient and flexible, and know how to solve complex problems. They should also be open to learning continuously to serve market needs and improve their own lives. In this context, collaboration and empathy are crucial to understand your customers, partners, employees and competitors.
Maria Fernanda Cavalcanti (FGV EAESP) – To enter this digital acceleration race, administrators should pay attention to five main skills:
The first skill is directly linked to the development of quantitative reasoning, which in the past was not so necessary for managers, but today is closely linked to the tools needed to handle massive amounts of data.
The second skill concerns the development of this refined analytical capacity so that you can extract meaning from data.
The third skill is less linked to technology and more to management, which is extremely important when it comes to ensuring the success of these initiatives for businesses.
The fourth skill is mainly linked to soft skills, to drive the change processes that are needed in these initiatives.
The fifth skill entails the development of ethical reasoning to understand the social and human implications of the use of these new technologies and this acceleration.
This article is part of a special series called “Connections for the Future,” launched on July 22, which is Social Scientists’ Day in Brazil.