Anyone who has worked in the business world for a few years will have noticed some fundamental changes in the way that operations are managed, and resources deployed. The shift is happening across all departments, primarily driven by changes in technology and this has impacted on costs, resource utilisation, efficiency, productivity – and even working cultures themselves.
One key example would be the move to more flexible working. Facilitated by developments such as cloud computing models and increased availability of affordable digital and portable devices, staff can work from anywhere and at any time. Whether they are submitting a progress report via a smartphone app, taking a client’s details via a tablet or writing a report on a laptop at home, staff can remain linked into the office and retain a healthy work / life balance, whilst still carrying out their job effectively. This boosts morale, takes cars off the road, and helps to cut carbon emissions in the process.
Many businesses are taking the trend a step further and encouraging purely flexible and home working roles which don’t require the fixed overhead costs of providing a desk in a corporate office. As long as training is provided so that staff know how to use cloud software and relevant applications, the approach can work to everyone’s advantage.
This is the buzz word of the decade and applies to staff, customers and other stakeholders. Tools such as social media and advanced CRM systems are facilitating far better engagement – whether that is through a self-service HR system at work, or a CRM system that allows customers to read far more targeted and appropriate marketing and communications in the way that they want, and when they want. As ever, the cost to serve is also reduced, and the cloud model constantly updates software releases.
Self-serve and automation
Technology is revolutionising all different departments. Take HR for example. Self-service models mean that staff can update their own employment details, manage leave and flexible benefits, submit self-certification updates for sick leave and even manage their own training and career development processes using integrated systems. This frees up administrative time and cost for the HR team and allows them to focus on more strategic issues. There are also greater compliance and accuracy benefits where data is quality checked using automated software, reducing user error and the cost and time of checking and correcting.
Technology and cost to serve
Consider too how technology is helping customers to receive a better service at a better price. Online shopping is an example, whereby automated systems help customers to receive their item quickly and easily – and with the business stripping out manual layers of delivery intervention by using slick technological systems. These apply from the point of sale, down to the logistics operation and order tracking. As ever, it is more cost effective and better quality in the long run for the business to develop a high quality and integrated business system, than to rely purely on human input and management.
These are just a few of the trends occurring in the business world that are being driven by technological and cultural change. What other trends would you add to the list?