Emerging Opportunities

Emerging Opportunities

As the idea of work is changing for employees and other stakeholders in a business, a crucial opportunity has emerged for businesses to become more flexible and open – increasing efficiency and reducing inertia.

It goes without saying that technological evolution has fueled every major business revolution, from agrarian to industrial. But every major business shift was spurred on by innovations that were seemingly unpredictable, yet visible to those with keen foresight.

Currently, the ever-increasing overlap between consumer and enterprise technology is opening up a number of opportunities for businesses to evolve – and this continued overlap will only increase the pace of change.

Technology

  • Cloud Computing: Cloud computing means faster, more relevant deployments of IT solutions with less financial burden and in a more adaptable tactical environment. Web-based services are also becoming more common elements of business communication and while security and data integrity issues persist, they are being addressed as solutions mature. Bridging cloud computing solutions, web based services, and on-premise IT deployments can provide organizations with new levels of infrastructure flexibility, user satisfaction, and significant cost savings opportunities.
  • IT Consumerization: Consumer adoption of technology has exploded, and people expect that their tools at work will provide the same robust level of communication as their personal computing options. The sophistication of affordable consumer devices is only going to increase and user expectations are set to spike as well.
  • Data Ubiquity: Content and data are everywhere. People are creating and curating content like never before. As data storage becomes cheaper, businesses are storing, archiving and mining more data than previously possible. The increasing openness of APIs and data portability make more enterprise data available for both consumers and employees to consume. Free flow of data also allows business partner relationships to be readily analyzed and optimized.

Exploiting these trends requires more than simply adopting new technologies. It requires forward-looking organisations to embrace change, mapping these trends to the strategic goals of the business.

Society

Social networks are fundamental to how people communicate with each other and with companies. Organisations that can embrace new technology, procesess, and attitudes stand to benefit greatly: from better-engaged customers to better-connected employee networks, businesses have a chance to leverage connectedness to achieve strategic goals.

  • Constant Connection: People are increasingly wired and connected. Many countries see internet penetration rates over 70 percent with high percentages of users on broadband connections. Social networking sites have grown at dizzying rates; for example, Twitter’s user base has been growing by percentages of hundreds, if not thousands, and Facebook now connects hundreds of millions of active users worldwide.
  • Crowdsourcing: Institutions recognize the need for community support to achieve objectives. During U.S. President Barack Obama’s transition into office, his campaign collected opinions from the public at change.gov. Radiohead challenged the music industry’s pricing model by allowing fans to name their own price for an album. Mainstream media outlets like CNN incorporate citizen journalism via Twitter into live broadcasts and field reports.
  • Brand Engagement: Consumers desire to engage brands via social media channels for many reasons, including customer support and feedback. Brands now have an opportunity to engage with consumers directly, without the perceived spin of a traditional marketing message. For example, companies like Intuit and KFC have corporate representatives participating in online conversations with customers. Through active engagement, consumers seek opportunities to participate in the businesses of their favorite brands.

Social tools are making relationships engaged and collaborative – among users, among employees, and between users and brands in every industry. How companies adopt these tools to evolve will set them apart.

Work

The way people work has changed dramatically as new tools and technology challenge the traditional rules of how and when people can do their jobs. This new definition of work as a constant and collaborative function means that organizations have an opportunity to adapt in order to leverage a new ethos of the hyper-connected, “always-on” workforce.

  • Shifting Shifts: Globalisation means that work no longer requires three sequential shifts in one location each day; work gets done by the first shift in a different location around the globe, around the clock. The nature of collaboration has expanded from inter-department to inter-office to international.
  • Always On: As born-digital workers enter the workforce, they bring new concepts of work/life balance to the table. The shift to information-based industries also makes the traditional delineation of “working time” difficult to pin down – people don’t turn their brains off when they walk out of the office, nor do they stay 100% task-focused during the day.
  • Accountability Is Key: Organisations have always attempted to optimise their operations with new forms of measurement, like Six Sigma or Activity Based Costing. However, the impact of social functionality has yet to be accounted for using traditional approaches. To further complicate matters, corporate scandals and the global economic downturn have increased focus on corporate accountability and transparency, making measurement an absolute must.

As the idea of work is changing for employees and other stakeholders in a business, a crucial opportunity has emerged for businesses to become more flexible and open – increasing efficiency and reducing inertia.

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