As the world continues to learn how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, one lesson we should take away is that businesses need to be prepared for anything.
Digital transformation has accelerated across the entire business landscape, though some industries are still playing catch-up with unfinished projects.
The last 18 months have proven that digital transformation is not just a necessity for today, but critical to allow systems and processes to be flexible and adaptive to whatever may come in the future. With the right tools in place, organisations can improve efficiency across every department while maintaining compliance obligations, ultimately leading to happier and more productive employees and overall better results.
On the flip side, organisations that have rushed their digital transformation projects without putting in the effort to get the implementation right, may end up overcompensating by purchasing more systems and applications than needed. This causes headaches for employees who are forced to adopt new systems without knowing exactly how it will make them more productive, viewing it more as a hindrance than help. A recent Okta study found that large organisations saddle their employees with an average of 175 applications, which can be incredibly complicated for staff to get their head around.
This balancing act of enabling employees with the right technology without making it cumbersome to adopt has manifested during the rapid shift towards hybrid work we’re experiencing. While many businesses have taken well to their new work environment, some businesses were forced to rush up to four years of digital change to completely migrate to hybrid working while maintaining optimal client engagement.
We recently conducted a study that found close to a third (30%) of Australian tech hardware/software employees don’t have faith in their employer to successfully transition staff to a hybrid workplace model. However, the majority of tech hardware/software employees (93%) believe a hybrid workplace would be successful if their employer can get the technology stack right. A minority (33%) of Australian tech hardware/software employees don’t think their employer’s tech stack can support a hybrid workplace, which should be a wake-up call to all employers who are holding off on digital transformation.
Australian tech employees told us what they wanted out of their employer’s technology stack: It has to be friendly and intuitive, integrate with daily workflows, and be adopted company-wide to ensure colleagues can work together. Employees want tech stacks to work for them, not the other way around.
Seamless integration for daily workflows
For all the turbulence caused by the pandemic, it’s also provided a much-needed catalyst for digital acceleration. There are many reasons why businesses should continue to prioritise improvements to their tech stack, including productivity and profit boosting. Whatever the reason, the key to success with digital transformation is ensuring the right process is put in place from the beginning. Businesses can’t do this without seamless integration of their daily workflows and tasks. Businesses that roll out technology prematurely run the risk of neglecting integration, posing more problems for employees.
Without seamless application integration, employees are forced to spend obscene amounts of time simply looking for information that’s been duplicated or lost across the various systems within their organisation’s technology stack. Our research found Australian employees spend an estimated 4-6 hours a week trying to track down information across different applications at a cost of more than AUD$75 billion a year lost in productivity.
Business enablement stacks
A business enablement tech stack includes any technology application or process that allows staff to do their job. A good business enablement stack should streamline IT spending, align the entire workforce with technology to enable high-quality work, and provide a unified business experience across the entire organisation.
The key to creating an efficient business enablement stack is ensuring it centers around content. From legal documents to pitch decks to emails, businesses rely on content to be successful. However, too often content becomes disconnected within an organisation due to lacking integrations across the tools employees use day to day. Content enablement solutions help to solve this by embedding directly into company-wide workflows to give employees the exact content they need directly within applications they already work in. It also guarantees content is always on-brand, compliant and optimised to drive strong business outcomes. This type of seamless workflow allows employees to not only work more effectively but also enables them to create better performing documents faster through connected content.
Future tech-expectations of employees
Employees already have their own preferred consumer applications, and these apps normally serve a better customer experience than a comparative business tool. However, the gap between consumer and enterprise applications is shrinking, which means employees increasingly expect the same intuitive experience using a business tool as they would any other.
Australia’s workforce also has more representation from Millennials than ever with 35%, while Gen Z’s account for 24% of the overall workforce. These younger generations are more likely to value technology proficiency from their employer. In order to attract workers from these generations, businesses need to look at their technology stack as a competitive differentiator and promote a workplace culture that enables collaboration.
The ways we work have dramatically changed over the past 18 months, and it will probably shift again before we get used to “the new normal.” Businesses need to be prepared today if they want to tackle the challenges of tomorrow, and that means ensuring your tech stack works for you, not the other way around. Business leaders must keep business agility and efficiency front of mind, while also bringing employees on the journey to inform you on how best to help them be more productive in their own jobs.