Digital transformation: by choice or necessity?
Digital transformation may be the biggest buzzword of recent years. But, it could also be the single most important endeavor your business undertakes.
While a transformation means different things to different organizations, evolution is vital to keeping pace with industry leaders and innovative startups in a rapidly growing marketplace.
In recent times, not all digital transformation efforts have been planned. COVID-19 left many businesses in a life or death situation, requiring urgent upgrades simply to remain operational.
Moving forward, success in this new digital age will require foresight and careful planning—with a deep understanding of what the future of work will look like in the new digital age (“industrial revolution 4.0”).
Understanding your workforce
In 2020, the race was on to deploy smart technologies that would enable remote working for a predominantly desk-based workforce.
However, the desk-based workforce is progressively being replaced by an expanding deskless workforce—comprised of mobile and shift workers who “hot desk”, move between various sites, and deliver services in the field.
The next phase of digital transformation must cater to the needs of these deskless workers. It must also consider the requirement for transparency and oversight of a highly mobile workforce, where seeing a person sitting at their desk is no longer an effective way to measure productivity.
Assess your workforce:
What percentage of workers in your organization is deskless?
Do you expect this number to increase?
What are their technology needs?
What level of oversight do you have of their capacity and movements?
What may be holding them back from being more productive?
80% of the global workforce and growing
Our research tells us that the deskless workforce is the fastest growing workforce in the world, now comprising 80% of all workers.
Yet, many technologies are designed solely with desk-based workers in mind. They rely on the use of laptops or monitors, and may not factor in the mobile and security requirements of people who spend their days operating across multiple locations.
In our report, Solving the Software Gap for the Growing Community of Deskless Workers, 96% of technology decision makers we surveyed predicted that their deskless workforce would stay the same or grow in the next 1 to 2 years.
86% told us they would benefit from a dedicated technology platform focused on meeting the specific needs of their deskless workforce, and the majority said boosting productivity was the main goal for implementing technology designed for deskless workers.
Deskless workers are the face of your business
A key reason for implementing technology that is engineered to support deskless workers is customer experience.
While initial digital transformation efforts may have focused on ensuring service delivery or driving efficiencies to reduce costs, the value of customer experience cannot be underestimated.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business and their engagement, loyalty and opinions matter more now than ever before.
As the face on the frontline who is talking to and engaging with your customers every day, your deskless workforce must be fully equipped to provide the best possible customer experience.
To do this, the next phase of your digital transformation must include systems that empower frontline workers to reach their full potential.
The trouble with legacy systems in managing a next generation workforce
Some organizations believe legacy methods—such as spreadsheets, emails and phone calls—are sufficient for managing a deskless workforce. And while this may be true for a small operation, these methods are simply unsustainable for a growing enterprise.
The same applies to aging proprietary software that is clunky and difficult to extend. Managing a next generation mobile workforce requires agile technology that can be configured and extended to meet the specific needs of your organization and its people. This includes the ability to integrate with other new systems that form part of your greater digital transformation strategy.
Leveraging best of breed technology that has been purpose-built to drive efficiencies in specific areas, and is able to integrate with other best of breed technologies, is an astute strategy that could position your business well ahead of its competitors.
Digital transformation + data transformation
There is a complementary transformation happening within business worldwide alongside digital, and that’s the rising dominance of data.
As digital capabilities improve to enable greater capture and storage of operational and sales figures, the race is on to turn these datasets into valuable business insights that take informed decision making to new heights.
This is where the power of new technologies can really shine over legacy methods such as spreadsheets and archaic platforms. Data capture and analytics is a key component of cloud-based systems, where capabilities are pre-built into the software and form a central component of the service on offer.
No longer do you require countless man-hours to sift through disparate datasets, trying to make sense of the numbers. New platforms do the hack work for you: serving up crystal clear insights that make reporting, reviews and compliance easy.
The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning
Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning offer infinite possibilities as we move from the industrial revolution of the 18th century through to the fourth industrial revolution in 2020 and beyond.
As we seek to leverage robotics in new and unimagined ways, artificial intelligence offers unprecedented opportunities for solving age-old business challenges.
Leading global enterprises are rapidly building out their “second workforce” of AI, which operates behind the scenes and frees up human workers to do what humans do best: talk, relate, analyze and imagine.
By handing over manual and repetitive tasks to AI, we get back the one thing money can’t buy: time.