Evolving Technology

Evolving Technology

Winners in the digital age know success comes from more than just completing a checklist

of technology. It hinges on people! Keeping up with changing technology is vital. But today, it’s just as important to evolve the organization’s corporate culture. In a disruptive world, workforces must be built to adapt, to embrace new business strategies and continuously learn new skillsets.

Succeeding in today’s digital world is a challenge that can’t be solved simply by consuming more and more technology, or, as some fear, replacing humans with technology.

Instead, enterprises must focus on enabling people – consumers, employees, and ecosystem partners – to do more with technology. That demands a digital corporate culture enabling people to continuously adapt, learn, create new solutions, drive relentless change, and disrupt the status quo. In an age where tech is grabbing the limelight, true leaders will, in fact, put people first.

After one decade, one dominant force has emerged: digital. Its rapid expansion is set to continue as time goes by. Digital is all-pervasive, offering unprecedented possibilities and rapid, constant change: New technologies and solutions. More data than ever. New marriages between legacy and new systems. An upsurge in collaboration (inside and outside the enterprise). New alliances, new startups, new customer demands… new everything.

The new normal is change. Some companies are finding the accelerated pace of technology change overwhelming, leading them into a state of digital culture shock. The winners not only embrace change, but they also thrive on it. They instigate it. They are constantly equipping employees, partners, and consumers with new technology capabilities that are allowing them to have an unmatched ability to create fresh ideas, develop cutting-edge products and services, and disrupt the status quo.

Digital evolution simply means:

  • Accelerated rate and expanding scale of change
  • Adopting new working practices, methodologies, and processes
  • Accessing and implementing surging flows of data
  • Enabling new models for employment and partner collaboration
  • Heightened customer expectations and increased digital interaction
  • More opportunity… and more risk

Pillars for success

The four pillars of a successful digital culture

  1. Data-driven: Data becomes so pervasive and readily available that it supports insight-driven decision-making everywhere.
  2. Built for change: Changing how you’re built to develop new skills, new processes, new products and whole new ways of working. Your people accept change, enterprise-wide.
  3. Embrace disruption: An inspirational vision of how technology enables different-and better-processes… so the business can play a lead role in forming and coordinating existing and future ecosystems.
  4. Digital Trust Awareness: Technology change creates new risks. But you can’t reverse-engineer security, privacy and digital ethics around a technology. Instead, they must be integral to development from the outset.

Digital means people too

We’ve come a long way in a short time. Technology advances just keep creating amazing new opportunities. Companies no longer just serve customers. They collaborate with them. They no longer compete against rivals. They partner with them. They no longer are limited within industry boundaries. They ignore them. But if there’s one thing they can’t ignore, it’s people! Change your status today by inventing a new culture. Make change part of your digital culture’s DNA. A place where technology empowers people to do things differently and do different things. Create results few expected but all admire.

“The mantra for success: People first”

The five trends behind a ‘people-first’ approach: Intelligent automation, liquid workforces, the platform economy, predictable disruption, and digital trust.

1. Intelligent Automation

Weave systems, data, and technology together to change what your organization does and how it does it. And then relish the results. Do things differently, do different things and create new jobs, products, and services. Leaders embrace automation because they know it’s the secret to overcoming the breakneck pace of digital change. The true visionaries use intelligent automation to create a new digital world where they are masters of competitive advantage. Their latest recruits include machines and software intelligence that they are using to bring new skills to help their people do new jobs and invent a new future for themselves and the organization. Intelligent automation brings fundamental changes to how businesses and individuals work. Machines have different strengths and capabilities that complement their human supervisors. Together, they’re changing what’s possible.

2. Digital’s “big footprint”

Software’s immersion within businesses, process and objects have expanded the scope of what could be automated. When you add in rapid advances in artificial intelligence, you start seeing a lot more interest in technologies that are increasing how well machine sense, learn and act. Investors are taking notice – investments in artificial intelligence start-ups by venture capitalists have increased roughly 20x in the last four years. What’s your Intelligent Automation play?

3. Successful adaptation

The pressure to keep pace is relentless. The opportunity to leap ahead is available to few. Key barriers for large enterprises include scale and complexity. Intelligent automation has the power to make things simpler. It can help integrate everything that’s coming your way – new products, services, technology tools, business models, alliances, ecosystems and more. Machines and artificial intelligence will be the newest recruits to the workforce, bringing new skills to help people do new jobs, and reinventing what’s possible.”

4. Liquid workforce

New technologies require new talents. Liquidity takes on new meaning in the workforce: become adaptable, change-ready and responsive. Today’s digital demands call for highly agile skillsets. By exploiting technology to enable workforce transformation, leading companies will create highly adaptable and change-ready enterprise environments that are able to meet today’s dynamic digital demands. This liquid workforce competitive advantage is apparent as IT and business executives surveyed report that “deep expertise for the specialized task at hand” was only the fifth most important characteristic they required for employees to perform well in a digital work environment – other qualities such as ‘the ability to quickly learn’ or ‘shift gears’ were ranked higher.

Shift in State

A changing labor market is disrupting how business leaders need to approach their workforces. The rapid pace of technology adoption is one key driver. As they pursue advantage from the latest technologies many enterprises are experiencing a ‘skills-gap’. Their investments are outpacing the labor market’s ability to provide the digital skills that’ll drive new strategies. What’s more, automation radically alters the in-demand skillsets, as machines begin to handle many routine tasks previously done by people.

Beyond technology-driven disruption, the employee pool itself is changing dramatically. Businesses with liquid workforces don’t just conquer challenges. They make them advantages. Enterprises with liquid workforces focus on building fluidity into three main areas: skills, projects, and organization. Businesses across industries are evolving from rigid, decades-old structures to create workforces built to and for change. It might sound like a challenging proposition. But the rewards are immense. Once organizations start to harness the power of a liquid workforce, they’ll find they can grow smarter and faster than they ever imagined. In the digital age, that’s not just desirable. It’s mission-critical.

“This digitally powered workforce isn’t just changing what businesses do; crucially, it’s changing how they do it.”

5. Platform economy

Platforms are trending and for great reasons. New business models are adaptable, scalable and interconnected. Ecosystems are the new bedrock of digital. Industry leaders are unleashing technology’s power by developing new technology platforms.

But more than that, it’s the platform-based business models and strategies they enable that are driving the most profound global macroeconomic change since the industrial revolution. In the digital economy, platform ecosystems are nothing less than the foundation for new value creation.

What makes platform models special? They create value externally with digital partners and communities of users. In these new configurations, the platform is the business model. It opens entirely new paths to growth. Far from being untested, these new models are already enabling digital-born organizations (DBOs) to dominate. Platform companies represent $2.6 trillion in market capitalization worldwide. How? Through the value-creating power of their platform ecosystems and digital assets. Within five years, a core component of corporate valuations and capital markets will be based on platform ecosystems and digital assets.

BUILDING BLOCKS TO MASTER

Cloud services – the foundation
Open-source and reusable software – the accelerator
Internet of Things – the catalyst for real-time business models
API strategy and architecture – the digital glue
Mobile development platforms – the digital treasure chest
Containers – the independence and portability of software

It’s no longer just about tech and digital-born organizations. Digital leaders across all industries are seizing this new opportunity for growth and capital rewards. Many are accelerating their uptake of digital technologies and cloud foundations as the crucial first step to break into the platform world.

From products to platforms

Predictable Disruption

Every business now understands the transformational power of digital. What few, though, have grasped is quite how dramatic and continuous the changes arising from new platform-based ecosystems will be. Digital ecosystems blur boundaries, in a foreseeable way.

Fast-emerging digital ecosystems – think precision agriculture, the industrial internet or smart cities – create foundations for the next big wave of enterprise disruption. Digital ecosystems like these, and the businesses that power them, are already straddling markets and blurring industry boundaries. Leading enterprises are making big investments in digital platforms. But that’s only half the story.

As more companies build or partner in industry platforms, new digital ecosystems are growing around them. These will become the foundation for the next major stage of technology and economic disruption.

Industry leaders must act now, and act fast to build the services and develop the new partnerships that will allow them to stake their claim in these ecosystems.

Digital trust

Pervasive new technologies threaten trust. Without it, businesses can’t share and use the data that underpins their operations. That’s why the most advanced security systems incorporate a powerful commitment to the highest ethical standards for data. As security risks increase, so do opportunities to earn customer trust.

As each piece of the business world goes digital, opportunities to catalyze change and scale operations increase exponentially. Unfortunately, this increased ability to scale also brings increased exposure to systemic risks. As every digital advancement creates a new vector for risk, trust becomes the cornerstone of the digital economy. Without trust, digital businesses cannot use and share the data that underpins their operations.

To gain the trust of individuals, ecosystems, and regulators in the digital economy, businesses must possess strong security and ethics at each stage of the customer journey. And new products and services must be ethical- and secure-by-design. Businesses that get this right will enjoy such high levels of trust that their customers will look to them as guides for the digital future.

In a digital economy where businesses can reach vastly more people, iterate quicker, and make faster, better decisions than ever before, trust attracts customers. But these same capabilities also amplify mistakes and make exposure to business risk more systemic. That could mean losing customers, market share, and value. Boards’ recognition of new digital trusts has already spurred cybersecurity investment, with global spend set to top $100 billion by 2019, according to Gartner.

Now, digital and data ethics are also becoming boardroom conversations.

83% agree that trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy.

In today’s digital business environment, trust is built on two important components: Digital Ethics and Cybersecurity.

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Digital ethics should be key to any digital transformation. But it’s a new consideration for most businesses.

Wherever regulatory scrutiny strikes next, one thing’s certain: indifference to digital ethics can increase reputational risk and create unwelcome headlines. And ensuing public outrage will often play a significant role in forcing companies to change their data policies.

But too often, it’s ‘too little too late’. Transgressions erode hard-won trust. And that’s hard to win back. Trust is only as strong as the security that keeps data out of the wrong hands. The unprecedented digital risk for businesses meets the need for new levels of trust.

In an age of ethical digital dilemmas, it’s hard to know what to do now.

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