“Over the past two and a half years, Italy’s investment plan has been particularly focused on training young people. Today, however, we are also prepared to back workers and adults who need to retrain in order to adapt to what ‘industry 4.0’ requires”, says Agostino Santoni, CEO of Cisco Italia. “It’s taken a lot of effort, but by now, we’ve established what digital is and how important it is, even politically speaking”, he explains. “Today, if anything, we face another issue altogether: How long will it take for us to digitalise Italy?”.
How long will it take for us to digitalise Italy?
It is an appropriate question, but it is even more difficult to answer. Re-skilling adults is the latest step in Cisco’s plan. The CEO explains that the project is set up like a social-responsibility programme aimed at supporting the country’s competitiveness, without direct effects on the company’s profit and loss account. Countries that adapt the skills of their workers to what industry 4.0 requires do not just benefit from significant advantages, but are the only ones able to really compete in new business environments.
Re-skilling does not just happen overnight, but at Cisco – thanks to experience gained as a technological partner for companies and institutions across the world – they are convinced it can be done quicker. The key is to combine skills and technological investment in each project. If you keep working on both of these aspects, you will help develop strong e-leadership able to spearhead change. At the same time, by paving the way for people to acquire specialist digital skills, you help workers to unlock their potential and get on board with innovative strategies, leading to improved results.
To grow, we have to become an agile country, and rethinking how things work in Italy by digitalising them is fundamental if we want to become agile: it’s worthwhile for both the state and businesses
“I feel that this is being approached in a very pragmatic way, which is good because to grow, we have to become an agile country, and rethinking how things work in Italy by digitalising them is fundamental if we want to become agile: it’s worthwhile for both the state and businesses”, explains Santoni.
Santoni says this with a great degree of certainty, especially after Cisco rendered digitalisation an irreversible process. The company made quick progress and committed itself to ‘Digitaliani’, the Italian investment plan for training launched in 2016 by the world’s leading IT company, with a training programme involving 100,000 young people “who are now aware of the benefits the internet provides for businesses and public authorities”.
The results were immediate: among 100,000 trained students, more than a tenth followed ‘career-ready’ paths, i.e. they were guided directly toward acquiring professional Cisco certifications useful in the world of work.
Our mission is to bring innovation to the forefront: all our platforms must be straightforward, open, programmable and secure. These are four attributes that you can apply to anything: companies, institutions, Italy, Europe.
“We want to focus a lot of our attention on southern Italy”, adds Santoni, “We have a Cisco Academy at the University of Naples Federico II, collaborative ties with the University of Palermo, and we’ve established training partnerships in Puglia. We are focused on skills, security and southern Italy, with the aim of using technology to create jobs. “We’re doing this because our mission is to bring innovation to the forefront: all our platforms must be straightforward, open, programmable and secure. These are four attributes that you can apply to anything: companies, organisations, Italy, Europe, etc.”.
Skills and training are the keys to productivity and competitiveness. But, above all, if it’s true that digital technology can increase the value of a company’s assets, it will definitely enhance the most important resource: human capital. “We must never forget this”, concludes Santoni, “if we want to lay the foundations quickly for continuous and sustainable growth in Italy”.