It’s impossible to talk about digital transformation without also discussing agility. At Converge, we’ve spent a lot of time studying the importance of agility in ensuring survival in the new digital landscape. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the best indicators of success in today’s business world. But for many companies, the concept of improving workplace agility is still an abstract one. Sure, we’d like to change—but amidst an influx of technology and disruption, change can be an overwhelming thing to implement. Where can you even begin?
The thing is, I’m not into advocating that every company needs certain specific technologies to be agile and efficient. Blockchain is great—but it isn’t necessary for everyone. Virtual reality is awesome—but many companies might not need it right now, if ever. Improving workplace agility isn’t about just staying on top of the latest tech trend. It’s about creating a clear digital strategy while keeping of productivity and efficiency in mind.
Improving Workplace Agility: How Agile is Your Company?
Not sure? A great place to start is understanding the processes in place to make change happen. Are you a company where paperwork is cumbersome and confusing? Where projects get sidetrack by lengthy approval processes? Where the company intranet is out-of-date and HR is constantly inundated with basic requests to explain benefits and payroll processes? If so, you’re definitely in need of improving workplace agility. But the good news is there are plenty of ways to do that.
For one, automation is huge in today’s digital environment. Creating smart contracts and automatically routing documents through the approval process can save huge amounts of time and money for your company and can be created with technologies as simple as Docusign and as complex as blockchain. With the use of smart contracts, such as those developed by Ethereum, you won’t just speed up contract processing—you’ll also have greater fraud protection, as well.
Improving Workplace Agility: How Much Freedom do you Give Employees?
The smartest companies know that the global workforce is changing. Gartner predicts by 2022, 70 percent of all software interactions will occur on mobile devices. By allowing employees greater freedom in working from home, the coffee shop, or even during lengthy meetings, they don’t just improve productivity. They also increase employee satisfaction. Teammates know they have the leeway to work where and when they need to. And companies know their employees will be able to combat every issue, wherever they are, safely and quickly.
Making your workplace mobile-friendly doesn’t have to be an over-the-top experience. With so many cloud and as-a-Service program providers available right now, it’s never been easier to empower employees to be as productive as possible. Things like virtualized desktop environments allow employees to access whatever documents and programs they need, from anywhere in the world. (Check out my piece Virtualized Desktop Environments: The Future of Work in the Enterprise to learn more.)
Improving Workplace Agility: Is it Time for a Time Study?
Chances are good at least some of your employees are spending time on repetitive tasks that could easily be automated with the help of artificial intelligence or machine learning. Digital assistants like Amy from X.ai can help free up time, sending emails, scheduling meetings, filtering and forwarding messages, and even responding to simple emails on her own. On the back-end, numerous new technologies exist to help automate the HR and finance processes, especially when it comes to repetitive monthly processes. And on the marketing side, there are tons of ways to automate—and optimize—your company’s message, while also pulling impactful data from your campaigns. There is truly no reason not to research the options out there to automate certain parts of your business, no matter what industry you’re in.
Sure, you can stress about incorporating robots and AI and blockchain and ALL THE THINGS when improving workplace agility. But the truth is, none of those things will increase your company’s workplace agility unless that have 1) a clear business purpose for the tech you adopt an 2) a clear strategy for implementation, such as training and leadership support, that will ensure the technology is consistently utilized. What I’m trying to say is: technology can definitely help your company be more agile. But as with anything, you need the right technology at the right time to maximize that effort. Do some research. Talk to others in the industry. Building a more agile workplace might be easier than you think.
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.