The future of work. We all talk about it and we all know it’s coming quickly. For some, it conjures images of humans and robots working side by side, for others it might be the death of the physical office or meeting customers in a Virtual Reality (VR) world.
These all seem rather eye-opening, but – whatever the future holds – there’s a long way to go to bridge today with tomorrow.
And it’s important that process starts now. Businesses are becoming increasingly digital-based, with transformative technologies opening up new ways to communicate with customers and colleagues, new ways to innovate based on data and insights, and even enabling new business models.
Knowing where to begin can be difficult. Here are just three technologies that are set to shape the future of work and that organisations must invest in.
Data analytics will fuel your business
For years, businesses have spoken about the potential value that data can bring to an organisation. But data analytics is coming into its own today.
By investing in tools and technologies that offer real time processing of data to give insights, companies can shape the way it does business. This might be informing product development, customer interactions, office layouts, supply chain optimisation, expansion, and more.
What’s critical here is to not jump into data analytics straight away. A data strategy must be created – particularly in light of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation – that outlines what the purpose of data is, how it collected, processed and stored, and why.
This may not be a quick process, but it’s vital to get right.
Collaboration tools to make things happen
According to the analyst house, IDC, the team collaborative applications market grew 13.6% from 2015 to 2016 and is expected to be worth more than $22bn by 2021. This market is growing; and fast.
Why? Businesses are increasingly focused on improving collaboration and breaking down siloes. While traditional businesses have long operated with non-communicating divisions and teams, more successful companies in recent years have prided themselves on a far more open culture – Google being the poster child for this.
Collaboration tools are how companies can make this happen. Microsoft leads the way here, with 36.8% market share and its powerful suite of productivity tools across Microsoft Office.
It’s vital to invest in tools that give your employees the flexibility and freedom to get work done on their terms and the company’s. Not every employee will have the freedom to work from home – maybe they need to be on site with customers or to be in the same location as their team.
The best tools enable this flexibility, without compromising on security, reliability or functionality. The work we’ve done with food manufacturer, Kellogg’s is a great example of this.
Artificial Intelligence will unshackle your workforce
Much is speculated around the impact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have on the workplace. Science fiction literature and films often depict images of humans being overrun by countless machines and automated overlords.
A more realistic and positive vision is far more likely. AI is ultimately – at least for now – about automating repetitive tasks. These are often the boring jobs that people don’t enjoy doing. This has two results for a business – the first is far greater operational efficiency as machines carry out these tasks more quickly and more accurately.
The second is that companies will be able to reallocate these workers to carry out more creative and more rewarding work. In fact, in our latest research, we found that over a third of business leaders cited AI as the most beneficial tool for customer services.
With Gartner believing that AI technologies will be in almost every new software product by 2020, it’s time for businesses to think now about how AI might change their organisations.
A productive future
With powerful advances in technology and a more strategic approach to its implementation, businesses have the opportunity to transform the way they work. Workers can be more productive and freed from the monotony of dull repetitive tasks, customers can benefit from more personalised and personal interactions from companies, and organisations can benefit from the insights that data has long promised.
Now is the time to invest. Because how we work together is ultimately how we get things done.
Sourced by Mike Guggemos, CIO at Insight