In our day to day lives, it is difficult to imagine what it would be like without any form of technology at our fingertips. Anything from smartphones to televisions, from supermarket checkouts to online food ordering, we have come a long way since the introduction of the IBM personal computer in the 1980s and schools now spend £900m on education technology each year in the UK.
In business, technology is vital to success. It is not feasible to imagine a successful company not using technology for general word processing, bookkeeping, scheduling appointments or creating a database of clients or customers. Even if a company were to work in this inefficient way, any interaction with other people would be difficult as it is assumed that most businesses keep up with the fast pace of technology – if you hired a copywriter, you wouldn’t expect to receive a copy document in the post! If you hired an accountant, would you be satisfied if your annual accounts were produced in hand written form?
Technology is designed to make life more efficient and in business it is important to benefit from all the enhancements in order to save precious hours. Technological enhancements can save a business money; increase efficiency and distinguish your business from your competition. In 2016 UK businesses spent £22.2 billion on business enterprise – with an average annual growth rate since 1992 of 4.3%.
A recent enhancement has been the focus on making businesses mobile. The recent shift towards flexible working can only be achieved with state-of-the art technology. A user needs a laptop to carry on the move, a wifi connection to access the internet and software applications and access to cloud accounts to work on documents.
A key element of day-to-day technology relates to communication. This includes the vast world of social media, which in itself is vital to businesses, but the array of ways that enables people to communicate globally. This can be calls over wifi connections (VoIP), text messages, internet messages (WhatsApp, Skype, Voxer, Slack) or as part of collaborative apps (Trello, Asana, Taskworld).
According to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting, the vast majority of managers believe that “achieving digital transformation is critical” to their organizations. According to Wikipedia, Digital transformation is defined as “change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society. In a narrower sense, ‘digital transformation’ may refer to the concept of ‘going paperless’, which affects both individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government, mass communications, art, medicine, and science.”
As with any kind of changes, there will always be those reluctant to embrace technology enhancements within an organisation. It is important to emphasise the benefits and how the technology makes everyone’s lives easier; reward employees for adoption and focus on key, influential individuals to adopt early; build new technology to be engrained into the day-to-day routines of everyday life as quickly as possible. In parallel, it’s important to not introduce overly complicated technology as this will be difficult to adopt by even the most positive employees.
It is well known that today’s millennials have the best IT skills of any generation, due to the established integration of day-to-day technology in their lives from birth. Given the focus on technology in all industries, it is vital that everyone has the relevant skills when in a competitive job market and as IT underpins all industries it will always be an advantage to have strong it skills.
In today’s world, it is not just important to have a tech savvy organisation, it is also important that those around the boardroom also understand the technology foundation. It is not surprising that the most successful CEOs of the most successful companies are tech companies with technical backgrounds – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezoz and Larry Page all have IT backgrounds and have a fundamental and practical understanding of the technology that their businesses are based on. It is also beneficial that start-up CEOs have this inherent understanding of the technology behind their business.