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Business and Technology Trends: Making Work Better

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As consultants, we work with various organizations in various sectors, and we have seen interesting trends emerging from the pandemic. "Working from anywhere" has made many businesses revisit traditional views of how the company operates. Businesses have been forced to understand their customers and their ecosystem better. Businesses have also had to find a way to work more effectively to get things done. None of this is particularly new or revolutionary, but some takeaways are worth mentioning.
 
Rate of Change
Organizations have been focusing on outcomes for as long as I can remember. The landscape is changing at an accelerating pace, and new daily objectives require companies to make decisions faster. New risks also appear daily, especially with technology security—necessitating a company to adapt more quickly. This adaptation requires new ways for businesses to collaborate more effectively across the enterprise.
 
Businesses must focus on outcomes required to keep up with the rate of change. The results will drive innovation.
 
Business Adaptation through Innovation
With internal and external forces changing faster than ever, businesses must become agile and adaptable to the new reality. Although technology generally plays a significant part in this adaptation, it isn’t solely about the technology; it’s about the workflow and the business processes. Companies must streamline processes and tear down silos. Technology can facilitate this digital transformation, but it requires a culture of change and innovation.
 
This culture change will require embracing digitally-enabled processes, communications, and collaboration to be effective. Businesses must build processes with resilience to ensure that they can deliver consistently. A cloud-first strategy should facilitate digitally-enabled processes that allow the workforce to work from anywhere. The processes must also incorporate a security strategy to support a zero-trust model to manage the ever-increasing external risks.
 
Businesses need to embrace a digital transformation methodology that focuses on adaptation through innovation. Technology tools will be enablers, but not the entire solution.
 
Work from Anywhere
The work from anywhere requirement was thrust onto businesses in 2020. This new business model put stress on the business's technology and required some connectivity and security changes. Work from anywhere has pressured people involved in a company and has introduced a new way for them to function. The last 18 months have proven that many roles and individuals are more productive in this new business model. A hybrid model will be required for many businesses as some functions are better in person. The collaboration tools have gotten better and have eliminated many of the previous barriers to remote work.
 
Businesses must find the hybrid model that works best for their teams to enable greater productivity on a role-by-role basis. Finding the enabling security and technology tools will play an essential part in finding this balance.
 
Data Decisions
The complexity of customer and supplier ecosystems has accelerated over the last several decades but even faster lately. Major and minor changes and shifts in customer preferences and habits have challenged many businesses. Most businesses have a wealth of data but not necessarily a wealth of information. Data often gets siloed in different areas of the company. The business requires the data to be viewed as trends and information to make timely and accurate business decisions.
 
Data analytics tools such as business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and machine learning have made tremendous strides, making them more affordable and accessible. The technology tools accelerate the processing of data into information, but they aren’t the whole solution. Knowledge workers are needed to determine the right metrics that are required to make critical business decisions.
 
In addition to tearing down data silos as mentioned, businesses must also and develop cross-organizational views of the information and trends that drive key business decisions.
 
Making Work Better
Businesses entered the pandemic facing some enormous challenges. Change accelerated, and they needed to adapt. Digital enablement and culture changes quickly became the norm to keep business moving. Working from anywhere became the new standard that required technology and cultural changes. Critical business decisions needed better information.

 

These challenges inspired innovation. Vendors and the business community accelerated enhancements in collaboration, workflow automation, security, and data analytics. The adage, "necessity is the mother of invention," may never be more accurate. The pandemic has been very challenging, but maybe the silver lining is that businesses will emerge stronger by embracing technology.


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Scott is writing on behalf of the SCTC, a premier professional organization for independent consultants. Our consultant members are leaders in the industry, able to provide best of breed professional services in a wide array of technologies. Every consultant member commits annually to a strict Code of Ethics, ensuring they work for the client benefit only and do not receive financial compensation from vendors and service providers.

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