Blog

The Future of Work: Digital Transformation

Digital technology is transforming the very nature of work — the way we innovate, connect, interact and produce.

A recent survey by Intel revealed that 63 percent of employees no longer have a traditional office fixed-desk work environment. About 43 percent of employees work from home several days a week.

 Three trends are having a profound impact on the future of work:

  1. The Internet of Things: As connected devices are becoming more and more pervasive, the relationship between humans and connected machines will profoundly affect the working environment. Smarter devices connect to the internet and assist workers in accomplishing their objectives. Humans and intelligent connected devices, including robots, will work harmoniously to accomplish business objectives. The smarter devices become, the more proactive they will be in helping us carry out our tasks. Robots are already replacing humans in such predictive and repetitive tasks as distributing office mail.
  2. Big Data Analytics: We are witnessing an explosion of information that we ourselves are generating, but being able to extract intelligence from data — that’s the ticket. We need to get wiser and acquire knowledge from data. Through modern analytics techniques, we can mine data, using it to adapt our jobs accordingly. We can combine the knowledge of experts with the knowledge gained from data — including data generated by connected devices — to improve and transform the work environment, helping to carry out tasks more efficiently, intelligently and on time.
  3. Transforming the digital enterprise organization: The traditional top-down pyramid and functional unit organization structures don’t inspire innovation or digital transformation. Consider a new, flatter paradigm for specific projects and goals, which will help empower employees. A digital and agile organization organizes more effectively, removing bosses and replacing them with mentors. Business software needs to be more adaptive to support workers.

Here’s where the lack of a clear digital strategy hurts companies in their efforts to transform digitally. You need a strategy, an operating model and tactics to better compete.

But beware — there are four myths to steer clear of when trying to transform digitally.

Myth #1: Digital transformation is a technology-first approach.

The biggest mistake that companies make is thinking that by investing in new, cool technologies, they will achieve nirvana. Simplify the complexity associated with tasks. Then identify and implant the technology needed.

Myth #2: A dedicated budget isn’t needed for transformation.

Often, we have no idea what’s working and what’s not. But if you want to transform your business for the future, an ad-hoc approach isn’t going to get you there. Allocate at least 2 percent of your annual revenue — outside your IT budget — to efforts affecting transformation. You can budget any additional funds to transformation based on the vision, strategy and the risk appetite of your organization.

Spending needs to be tightly linked to such clear business outcomes as revenue growth and cost containment.

Leaders need a sharp focus on transforming their company digitally — with real investment — and the sooner you start, the better.

Myth #3: Leadership doesn’t need to be digitally savvy.

Digital thinking must be injected into your company’s core — and that extends to you and your managers’ social media presence. The “lack of time syndrome” happens because you feel you have more strategic tasks to fulfill that will impact the future of your company. But failure to establish or expand your participation in the digital realm will impact your own future and role, as well as that of your business. Personal participation digitally is key to understanding your digital consumers’ states of mind and unlocking digital’s real value. Transform your ideas with the power of digital, not in the hope of becoming a digital expert, but by simply jettisoning your old habits. Your goal? To be a leading digital-first company. It’s time to say goodbye to analog leadership.

Myth #4: Our CIO/CTO/CMO is well-equipped to lead the transformation as an added responsibility.

Digital leadership is not a part-time job; make sure you have someone in the company who can lead the change. Chief digital officer, anyone?

Through your digital transformation, you will challenge conventional thinking on product innovation, customer engagement, organizational structure, strategy and business models.