Over the last thirty years, the technology that powers today's businesses has evolved dramatically. Many employees, now see what was once seen as 'best of breed' technology, as prehistoric today. Throughout this period, organisations have acquired software to help automate processes and, in the main, to drive back-office productivity.
However, at some point, the very tools that helped organisations to become more productive is now making them inflexible. This is because the software applications implemented were designed before the frantic pace of todays digital world.
Quite often these systems took years to implement at massive cost. As more modern alternatives have emerged there has been little appetite to upgrade because the complexity and cost of change is prohibitive.
From their viewpoint, employees are burdened with wading through archaic systems that were just not designed for their current jobs; this can feel like putting on the handbrake whilst trying to accelerate. They want to do a good job but the systems are holding them back. Recent research has revealed almost 40 minutes per day are wasted per employee in UK offices, mostly simply locating files, yet costing businesses over £2,100 per employee a year. This inefficiency adds up to 21 days a year wasted due to slow or inefficient technology. No matter how good the employee, they will struggle to perform with old systems holding them back.
It's time to empower your workforce.
Old systems, unfashionably inflexible
The first wave of efficiency came from automating processes. When these are working well, all is good. However when something unique or adhoc happens outside the plan these existing systems tend not to support this well and problems arise. Employees have to navigate complex systems to get to the answers and solve problems, which in their outside work lives would be easy. If you have visited a mobile phone shop recently with a query or adhoc requirement you will have seen this first hand. It is painful to watch the staff typically negotiating two or three different online systems to get the answers you need and fulfil your request, which is why the queues build up in the shops so quickly and the wait times are so long.
Imagine a world where work is as simple as ordering an Uber, booking a restaurant or having a meal delivered to your door from your smartphone.
We need to make life at work 'iphone simple.'
Technology is now available to help unlock the potential from these systems. It is now possible to create micro-apps from processes embedded in 'pre-digital' systems like Oracle, Salesforce and SAP to mobilise the workforce, increase workflow speed, and satisfy the expectations of modern-day workers.
Changing attitudes influenced by consumer apps
Consumer applications are playing a vital part in creating a user revolution in corporate life. No longer do users believe the technology they are given by their employers hits an acceptable benchmark, based on their consumer experience and the work experience of their peers. This matters for staff satisfaction, workforce retention and loyalty. It is the existing systems embedded in traditional enterprise businesses that are the problem. This hands new businesses who are implementing brand new systems, the advantage.
Because mobile-first workers are now used to the 'Swipe left. Swipe right' ease of consumer life, their frustration and irritation with the tools they are expected to use is on the rise. Why would an employee be okay with having to log in and spend thirty minutes filling out expenses, approving a purchase order, or logging a field service visit when they can order a pizza with three thumb clicks?
Consumer applications have created discontent with the technology people are being provided with at work. Millennials will not tolerate unproductive technology because they have seen 'the grass is greener', even on their daily commute to the office. Organisations who believe in empowering their employees should not burden them with unfit, clunky technology.
New world, pioneering businesses are attracting the best talent because of changes in the way business is conducted. They prove their credentials as digital winners with the systems they provide to their employees and customers. In contrast, 'Old world' businesses with Jurassic software will start to struggle in this environment.
Businesses must act to attract the best talent and resources. Modern technology enables this change in approach, to mirror the changing culture shift in the workplace, without renewing the entire system infrastructure. The 'Swipe left. Swipe right' culture shift is embedded in many workers today. It's time for traditional businesses who want to use their human talent to beat the competition to empower their employees with technologies that enhance productivity not slow it down.