With organisations across virtually every industry utilising some form of digital technology, digital transformation is no longer a foreign concept. Yet, despite its widespread implementation, it’s a phrase that still causes anxiety among 80% of the workforce. As the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged the acceleration of new technologies amongst 47% of business leaders, with 29% developing plans to digitise in the future, this warrants a conversation around the role of the human workforce.
Amongst the most widely adopted technologies is cloud-based software, which, hand-in-hand with interoperability, allows enterprises to experience vast efficiency gains, cost savings, and improved customer service. Many organisations are also using this technology to digitise their supply chain, with the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data expanding companies’ potential with the ability to automate nearly 80% of work and 70% of data processing.
Interestingly, this means the capacity to make informed decisions has never been greater. With enhanced insight into consumer behaviour, businesses can utilise this information to tailor their services and inform future planning. Not only does this generate growth opportunities, but it also empowers the workforce to transition their roles from more onerous, time-consuming tasks towards impactful and more fulfilling contributions within their company.
The value of data
Digitally led automation, such as the introduction of OCR software, has become a driving force for process optimisation across organisations. One of the primary benefits lies in eliminating time-consuming manual tasks, such as data entry, re-keying, and administration. As these tasks form the foundation for many employees’ roles, it is understandable that individuals may feel anxiety around automation. However, in practice, automation creates multiple possibilities that show workforce anxiety around the purpose of their roles needn’t increase.
Primarily, increased access to data analytics means that employees are free to take on less monotonous roles in place of a more rewarding career, for example, strategy development and operational management roles that would allow staff to drive fundamental changes across the business. They could also become involved in the product ideation process, improving the current service offering.
Not only does this improve daily productivity and efficiency, but it also provides greater scope for progression. Enhanced digital capability can help develop new skill sets and provides career opportunities that would have previously been unattainable. However, extended managerial support and flexibility are required to underpin this employee development alongside a smoother transition to new technologies and processes.
Amidst the current economic backdrop, businesses face vast cost restrictions and financial pressures. However, the software can provide valuable insight into customer behaviours across other areas of the organisation, which can inform operations and build a more effective strategy. This data also offers insight into which areas of the business can deliver a better return on investment and where resources should be scaled back or reallocated to maximise profit. These data insights provide greater flexibility to respond to changing circumstances and remain competitive in a challenging marketplace.
One of the main drivers for long-term technological change within enterprises is AI. As these systems continually learn and adapt to organisation requirements over time, they will play an increasingly important role in how businesses interact with customers, stakeholders, and employees.
Advanced technologies highlight the value of the human touch within the workforce, and this is particularly true within customer service. Our research into business leaders’ attitudes towards digital transformation found that 90% believe that the human touch within customer service is increasingly critical alongside new technology – 40% of business leaders even described this as a ‘100% mission critical focus.’
Throughout the pandemic, customers across almost every industry experienced depleted customer service levels. Now, as businesses and individuals face economic challenges, the requirement for efficient customer service teams has arguably never been more critical.
As technology collects and stores valuable insight, organisations can use this information to improve future customer experiences. Whether this means adapting procedures based on recurring scenarios or equipping businesses with the resource saved from manual data entry and repetitive tasks to appoint dedicated customer service teams. This supports business leaders’ desire for human influence and makes organisations more likely to increase their competitive standing.
The human outlook
Digital transformation encompasses a variety of new technologies with transformative applications. However, employees unsure of what this transformation means for their careers must remember that its benefits do not solely apply to enterprises. Corporate digitisation and the human workforce must work in tandem with one another for technology to work to the best of its ability. As a result, this is an exciting time for employees to advance their roles and capabilities and develop a data-led skillset to use as a launchpad for exceeding their career potential.