In its Industrial Strategy, the Government has set out to address the problem of the UK’s low productivity. Various think tanks and business organisations have also offered solutions.
One common theme is that significant adoption of technology by business, or digital transformation, is seen as key. The CBI said the UK needs more “Magpie” businesses which have the skill to find and adapt technology to lift productivity.
The good news is UK businesses are looking at technology. We conducted a survey and found the number of formal digital transformation strategies had doubled in the last year. But, that is only the first step. A plan is nothing without implementation. Success depends on the attitude of senior leadership to technology and whether it has the right expertise.
>See also: Digital transformation for the UK economy
Businesses need to see technology as an enabler of new revenue streams and business models and not just a cost. And, there are a lot of straightforward things businesses can do to transform themselves. What is needed is a pragmatic approach, and some know how. Here are five things that can improve any business, increase productivity, save money and gain competitive advantage.
1. The cloud
Adopt a cloud-first strategy. Many organisations are still reliant on legacy IT systems. Aging servers that regularly fail with customers and staff suffering. With the right help, IT systems can run 24/7, 365 days a year with little maintenance.
Businesses need to start building a bridge to the cloud and phasing out old physical systems. Cloud-based services open up a whole world of new opportunities.
Make workforces flexible. Cloud-based technology means staff can be as connected at home or on the move as they are at work. Team spirit and happiness is key to business performance.
Businesses can end the morning rush hour in cities across the nation, saving wasted time if staff can adopt flexible hours. Imagine what that can do for morale and the lives of working parents?
3. The information age
Turn data into information. Data is the new currency and unlocking its value is critical. Not enough businesses have invested in the tools to understand their data to turn it into information that informs business decisions.
The best companies are investing in technology that feeds off data like analytics, AI, and machine learning and are delivering better products, more services, and higher productivity.
Secure networks. Too many businesses haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect their systems in case of cyber-attack. The downtime and data loss can be catastrophic for companies, especially SMEs, and the solutions are straightforward.
5. CTO inclusion
Make the CTO an integral part of the leadership team. The case for digital transformation needs to be expressed by a technology expert in a senior role to improve the chances of success.
These five ideas are the foundation to transform businesses and the productivity problem. Daisy Group works with 600,000 organisations of all sizes across the UK, and it is exciting to see how new technology is changing whole industries. But, some businesses aren’t embracing the opportunities. They are holding the UK’s productivity back, and now the clock is ticking.
Many companies are fast approaching their “Kodak” moment. And, like the famous US giant, if they don’t embrace change now, then they will become quickly obsolete versus competitors who are already in the cloud.
Sourced by Nathan Marke, chief digital officer, Daisy Group