For many of us change is rather disturbing, but intellectually, we all know that change occurs whether we like it or not, and increasingly these changes appear to be accelerating. This is particularly true in the technology space.
You may be too young to remember, but there was a time when neither mobile phones, nor email were in use in the workplace, never mind our everyday lives. This change started in the UK in the mid 1980’s (scarily around 30 years ago) when mobile phones were first introduced. It was probably another 10 years before we saw large scale use of email in business and it wasn’t until the noughties that we saw this become mobile with the introduction of a handful of mobile devices, but it was Blackberry who gained the most traction, and rapidly became the de-facto standard for mobile email.
Then came Apple
Apple disrupted the smartphone market when they introduced the iPhone and have been instrumental along with Android, in making us a mobile population. Our children are almost permanently attached to their devices and we are reachable wherever we are.
This newish phenomenon is not without cost, as we often find it difficult to “switch off” from work and often complain about the balance between work and home life.
That said, the change has also meant that we are increasingly freer to work from wherever we choose, and so bizarrely we have more freedom than ever to roam and work. Ultimately it depends upon the tasks we must undertake in our work lives and of course the infrastructure must be in place to support us.
The speed of change therefore can often “catch us out” as there are many moving parts to consider:
People – current employees’ skills need to be maintained and their requirements and technology at their disposal needs to keep pace with the changes. Business systems and infrastructure needs to keep pace with the increased burden of use and reliance, and speed of service as we all need more, faster etc – All of this of course, requires investment and planning. Attracting new employees means that you need to consider how appealing the business is for people to want to work there. Many businesses are seeing the benefits of moving from an on premise, cap-ex funded acquisition model, to a cloud hosted, op-ex model, affording them a more agile business capability, and lower support burden. Many organisations are stepping beyond this to a total outsource of all non-core business functions, preferring instead to focus their investment on their core business activities
What is for sure, is that “one size does NOT fit all” and your suppliers will increasingly become an extension of your business, and in so doing should be striving to add value beyond a support function of simply aiming to keep services always available. Instead, they should be looking to be your subject matter experts and trusted advisors enabling your business to serve your customers better and more effectively.