In the last five years digital transformation and technological change have forced companies to completely rethink the way they conduct business, both online and offline.
The pace and scale of these changes has been drastic, with a new generation of customers and employees demanding ever more sophisticated experiences from the organisations that they work for and buy from.
While the digital age is already upon us, but the technological landscape is far from settled. Just as the corporate, marketing and IT landscapes have drastically evolved, the next five years will see no slowdown in the pace of technological change.
Businesses need to be prepared for whatever the future will throw at them. Here are the top five recommendations for how IT departments can future proof their organisations ahead of 2020.
1. Deliver the virtual
By 2020 flexible working is set to become the norm, with the vast majority of the workforce located across different regions and communicating almost exclusively through mobile, video, email and instant messaging.
As technology evolves, this will also lead to a growth in virtual offices, with companies shifting away from the physical in favour of the digital space.
Businesses need to own this shift and develop a strategy that truly works for them. Those that continue to associate working from home with “skiving” will quickly find themselves falling behind.
2. Transform together
In a study for Infomentum’s Beyond Digital report, 84% of office workers believed that cross-department co-ordination will be the biggest barrier to transformation ahead of 2020.
With this in mind, businesses must address this issue today to prepare for the future. While it is important for employers not to stifle employees at a day-to-day level, IT departments continue to play a vital role in the co-ordination and rollout of new technologies.
Technology will never be effectively implemented in silos. Listen to each department, devise a strategy that works for everyone, and then – when everything else is in place – decide on the necessary tech.
3. Serve for mobile – people and technology
With smartphones finally overtaking laptops as the dominant communication device, businesses should be taking the time to develop their mobile offering now.
From contactless payment to BYOD, organisations must ensure that both their internal and external touch points are secure, supported and ready for the mobile age.
As such, the latest mobile technologies should not just be supported – they should be ingrained as part of a business’s core strategy.
4. Streamline your tech
With half of the office workers surveyed by Infomentum demanding new IT equipment and a third believing their websites are out of date, there is clearly a long way to go before businesses are ready for the tech-driven demands of the 2020 employee.
To address this issue, organisations need to do more than just invest in the latest technology. They must first understand what it is that they need to achieve, and how new technology will help them to arrive at this point.
Businesses need to do more than just jump on the latest trends – they must remove unnecessary clutter and work to a fully-formed strategic technology plan.
5. Innovate with intelligence
When looking to innovate, the volume of information and data available within existing systems and externally can help businesses make informed decisions.
In the age of cloud computing, businesses can test innovative new ideas on a small and relatively inexpensive scale. If successful, these solutions can then be easily scaled up for a full company-wide roll out.
This is providing a great, low-cost way to develop successful new ways of working. It’s a process of continuous improvement. Plan your strategy, build your approach, and then analyse, feedback and repeat.
Both businesses and IT departments have a long way to go if they are to meet the expectations of the 2020 workforce, but these changes are an opportunity rather than a threat.
Businesses that are willing to own this change and adapt now will be first to prosper in 2020. Those that don’t will lose out on both the best workers and the next generation of customers.
Sourced from Vikram Setia, partner and chief commercial officer, Infomentum