Productivity has become a major concern across the developed world in the last decade. Even more so in the UK, where our productivity is lagging 15.1% behind the G7 average and 26.5% behind the US. The main culprit? Lack of investment in new, digital technology appears to be behind the UK’s sluggish productivity growth.
It should come as no surprise that some of the world’s most successful companies are also the most digitally advanced. Research indicates organisations like Apple, Dell, Google and Netflix – all Fortune 500 companies – are estimated to be 40% more productive than the average organisation. Surprisingly, this is not because they attract a higher volume of top talent (they employ roughly the same percentage of A players as the average company), but rather good leadership and the ability to eliminate organisational drag by wasting 25% less time on processes that prevent employees from getting things done.
In addressing the need for a more advanced digital infrastructure to stimulate productivity, the UK Government is investing £190 million in the country’s fibre infrastructure and a further £160 million in 5G – which will allow every organisation to digitise more effectively.
Very soon, fully digitised organisations across all sectors will be the new normal, meaning that if your organisation has not begun the transition to digital yet, the time is now.
Why You Should Digitise
Despite all evidence pointing to technology’s vital role in improving productivity – and hence, economic growth – our experience is that many organisations still perceive investing in new technology as a risky activity, particularly when it comes to mobile solutions. But as the old adage goes, keep doing the same thing, keep getting the same results. One might even go so far as to say, in today’s context, keep doing the same thing, get no results at all.
So, perhaps the question should not be, what is the risk in investing in new technology, but rather, what is the risk of not doing so?
No matter what their company size, the type of clients who come to us for automated solutions tend to be very forward-looking, recognising the need to update the way they work. Many of these organisations have grown significantly in the time we’ve partnered with them – up to 400% in 18 months in one instance – because they were prepared to take a calculated risk by:
- Investing in new technology early to gain a competitive advantage, and
- Investing the necessary time and resources in improving their productivity and service offerings.
4 Things you should consider when switching to digital:
1) Adopt a holistic approach
In acquiring new technology, it can be easy to forget the human element, but technology should be used as a tool that enables us to be more effective. In other words, focus not on the product but on how you put digital to work. An iPad, for instance, is a versatile device with infinite possibilities, but without the right applications, it holds no value for your business.
2) Define your goals
Invariably, some of your business processes will require an upgrade more urgently than others. In this case, it helps to determine what areas of your business to prioritise to get the quick wins that will allow you to digitise the rest of your business.
No matter how urgent the need for a full digital overhaul of your organisation, avoid the immediate 100% solution to your process issues. Instead, take advantage of the pareto effect. A solution that addresses 80% of your process issues will generally only require 20% of the development resources and can be implemented much quicker.
3) Choose a low-risk solution
Technology has advanced so much in the last decade that digitisation shouldn’t have to be a make-or-break decision. Out-of-the-box, highly configurable, cloud-based solutions like Formworks, can be set up, tailored and implemented in less than a month with very little maintenance required.
4) Use technology to empower your workforce
The carrot-and-stick style of management may have had its heyday in the early 20th century, but if the solution you propose is so easy to use and the benefits so obvious, your team will feel more empowered to adopt it, making the transition from paper to digital even more seamless.
The clients we work with – and who adopt our technology – frequently operate ahead of the curve. Certainly, their decisions are deeply considered and they follow all the right steps. But what separates the leaders from the followers in the digital age is that leaders use technology as an empowerment tool and followers, out of fear for the unknown, let it dictate their decisions.
Technology is only a means to and end. And in the end, the only way your organisation will gain a competitive advantage, is by empowering its workforce to deliver better, faster, more reliable service.