Digital transformation is changing the way we work. Historically, each generation uses innovative technology to make work more efficient and effective. From the introduction of the wheel, through to the invention of the internet – technology influences the workplace.
This blog is the second part of our digital transformation series. Part one analyses the impact of digital transformation on society.
In this blog post, we’ll look at how internet connectivity, instant messaging and automation has changed the way we work.
#1 – Remote working
According to the Office for National Statistics, half the UK workforce will work remotely by 2020. What started as a minor workplace trend appears to be the future of how and where we work.
Improvements in internet connectivity is cited as the main reason for the increase of remote workers. Fibre optic broadband and Wi-Fi hotspots enable us to connect to the office from any location.
So, you’re no longer bound to either the office or your home – you can work on-the-go from airports, coffee shops and restaurants.
If you’re fed up with your lengthy commute, or have other commitments, remote working gives you greater flexibility, so you can choose your optimal working environment. It can also help to reduce work-related stress and remove common office distractions, which can improve productivity.
Remote working also benefits employers. It’s unlikely job candidates will live in the immediate vicinity of your office. But with a clear remote working initiative, you can advertise global job opportunities. This will encourage a wider pool of candidates to apply for vacancies, enabling you to secure the best talent for your organisation.
#2 – Communication
There’s nothing worse than lengthy email chains. Often, we lose track of essential documents and miss vital information. But a decade ago, emails, along with phone calls and fax machines, were the most popular methods of communication at work. Now, modern instant messaging (IM) platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype & Slack have added to the traditional methods of communication.
It’s natural to think that IM is an unnecessary distraction at work. But, the tools mentioned above, if used as intended, can deliver greater collaboration and teamwork. The IM platforms also enable you to organise conversations using various fields, such as team, topic or project. IM has revolutionised how we communicate with colleagues worldwide. We’re not restricted by costly international calls, faxes and letters. Instead, we’re always reachable via an instant message.
#3 – Data analysis
In the past, you’d have to rely on face-to-face data collection methods. But now, through new analytics technology, businesses can get large amounts of data about their customers from a variety of integrated sources such as social media, previous purchases and CRM databases.
We’re no longer dependent on reams of spreadsheets and reports to make sense of data. Instead, we can use data analysis software such as Microsoft Power BI, Google Analytics and IBM Watson to display relevant insights.
As well as pulling up pie-charts, bar charts and graphs at a touch of a button, the current crop of data analysis technology is more powerful, cheaper and intelligent than previous generations.
Most software features predictive analytics – something that identifies potential issues and trends, to ensure you’re one step ahead of your competitors.
#4 – Automation
If you’ve seen any of the latest Iron Man movies, you’ll know how artificial intelligence and advanced robotics can improve the way we work. While, the idea of our own Jarvis is a bit far-fetched, machines are already carrying out physical and cognitive activities in our workplaces.
Does this mean robots will replace us? No, well, at least not in the short term anyway! The rapid automation of physical and knowledge work is redefining jobs, rather than eliminating roles.
For example, the introduction of electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) has revolutionised invoice processing. The technology hasn’t resulted in obsolete accounts payable (AP) teams. Instead, it’s allowed AP to automate the time-consuming invoice process, freeing up their time, which can be better invested in value-added tasks.
#5 – Organisation
Most people, use Monday mornings to plan the week ahead. Traditionally, you’d scribble away in your notebook. But thanks to digital transformation, written to-do lists are outdated. Instead, we can use intuitive project management software to organise our work schedules.
It’s more than your ‘digital to-do list’. Project management software such as Trello, OneNote and Asana enable us to collate notes, set reminders and collaborate with colleagues across many projects.
Cloud computing allows us to work on-the-go, across multiple devices. We can sync calendars, emails and documents to ensure we’re always up-to-date. Also, through applications like SharePoint, Dropbox and Google Drive we can access all the files we need from one central location, as well as back-up essential documents.
Digital transformation is in its infancy. Despite this, its influence on the workplace is indisputable, and there’s no signs of it slowing down. So, if your business isn’t on top of digital transformation, then you’re in danger of being left behind.