The Transformation of the Design of Work
The introduction of technology has radically transformed the way we do business, from customer interactions to strategy development. Organizations that become digital leaders are developing clear digital strategies alongside their business strategies as well as creating a culture and leadership around driving digital transformation forward. Choosing to move forward with digital transformation impacts a number of aspects of how work and business is actually conducted.
Technology has created a whole new way of communication and opened the door for businesses to reach consumers on a global scale as well as provide their employees the ability to work remotely. For interactions with customers, companies are no longer just using a “shout” marketing strategy, they are able to actually engage and build a relationship with their consumer base, developing trust and loyalty.
Employees, with developed telecommunications and the internet, are able to work remotely, whether that is from home or even a different country. Companies like IBM are focusing on the digital transformation in order to attract younger talent. They have found success with this focus through the quality of people they are attracting, the impact on employee engagement and attrition, as well as job performance. On the other hand, remote work adds an additional level of trust between and employee and its organization because working remotely means no one is closely monitoring their productivity throughout the day. Organizations need to develop additional policies and procedures to address the concerns around telework and determine if they will allow it and if so, how they will ensure employees are not taking advantage of the opportunity.
Technology’s Impact on the Future of Work
With technology advancing at a rapid rate, the day to day operation of a business have the potential to change almost overnight. Kurzweil notes in his article that “we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate)” (Technology Feels Like it’s Accelerating – Because it Actually is, p. 5). Business is moving towards a more globalized, or flat, world where outsourcing is becoming increasingly common. Organizations have the ability to move towards a 24 hour operation as they can employee people in different time zones that allow work to be done continuously. AI is being developed that can replace certain business processes and employees and output more accurate and up-to-date information. More processes will become automated, which, in the short-term will eliminate a number of jobs, however, over a period of time, new areas of need will be created. The labor force needs to change the way they market themselves to employers because certain skills may become quickly obsolete so demonstrating your ability to be able to learn and adapt is more important than demonstrating an expertise in a particular field.
Technology’s Impact on Business Processes
Technology has changed business processes significantly and continues to do so. One main area where technology has transformed business process is the ability to centralize information to counteract the silo effect of an organization. The development of enterprise resource planning (ERP) allows organization to have information flow throughout the company more efficiently and with fewer errors. This creates a major paradigm shift in how and where information is stored. It also changes the way employees communicate and work with one another, as the organization become more integrated instead of several departments working independently from one another.
Using collaborative tools instead of email creates a more centralized database of information that the team can readily access instead of having the information stored in locally stored emails. When discussing how to do a particular business practice, creating a wiki will enable future team members to refer to that document, instead of having to ask the existing team members who have to relay the information from memory or by tracking down previous email conversations.
Some challenges that global, virtual teams must overcome are:
- Language barriers and non-verbal communication
- Multiple time zones can cause a delay in coordination and progress
- Cultural barriers make it more difficult to establish a group identity which can negatively affect trust and productivity
How has technology influenced how you do business? Does it make it easier or more complicated?