Digital transformation will elevate humans to new jobs aligned with human strengths - communication, empathy, creativity, and critical thinking.
Technology solutions within companies are rapidly disrupting the concept of ‘work’ across all industries and locations by changing the type of work that needs to be done. Companies’ increasing use of technology solutions, and the rapid development of those solutions, are the main factors in its digital transformation. Without a doubt, this transformation already has, is, and will do more of automating jobs away. However, it would elevate humans to new jobs aligned with human strengths - communication, empathy, creativity, and critical thinking. This fundamentally changes how humans make an impact in a company, how our economy functions, the concept of job security and money, and other massive social implications.
Certain trends within technology are making bigger impacts than others. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are making huge strides in knocking down organizational silos, creating new business opportunities, unlocking international growth, and more. Within a company, there are also business units that use technology more than others, and it’s only a matter of time until every department is using technology for every aspect of their job. A few areas stand out as ripe for a dramatic increase in the use of emerging technology: Human Resources, IT & Platform, Legal, Accounting, and Operations.
Existing corporate technology infrastructure for these groups is often ill-equipped to handle emerging trends in the workplace, and implementing large systems to fix these issues can take months to years when new emerging technology can come out in much shorter cycles. This puts companies in a tough dilemma: always playing catch-up with new technology. Catching up with trends and technology is tough, risky, expensive, and time consuming. This is especially prevalent in the explosion of data. In just the past five years alone, the amount of existing data has grown over 900%, with 2 trillion gigabytes as of last year. It’s not just data related problems.
Another interesting trend is that companies are competing for top talent more than ever, and technology can be their differentiating factor. With a labor participation rate that is gradually but consistently shrinking in the US, it is estimated that the world could be 40 million college-educated workers too short by 2020. Meanwhile, those that are currently employed are reporting high rates of dissatisfaction, resulting in 75% of the overall workforce identifying as passive job seekers.
Enterprise 2.0 (otherwise known as the Future of Work) is workplace innovation transcending every industry and geography -- it is built on the fact that every process, down to smaller tasks and transactions, determines how enterprises compete and challenge the future. Digitalization of the back office can transform entire management structures, company culture, and how work gets organized.
Companies have always understood that attracting, developing, and retaining talented employees is essential for future success. A study involving 77 companies and over 6,000 executives reveals that the most important asset to a corporation is talent: “smart, sophisticated business people who are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile.”
A study involving 77 companies and over 6,000 executives reveals that the most important asset to a corporation is talent.
However, there are several issues surrounding the current state of talent acquisition and retainment. As traditional work models are transforming around the ideas of independent work, the gig economy, and outsourced services, corporations are finding it increasingly difficult to hire and retain leading talent in their industry. Although the trend is not new, it’s undeniable that remote work and the flexibility of contract work is an appealing opportunity for the modern workforce.
Smaller companies with a clearly defined, singular goal are providing alternate workplaces to traditional corporations that are often seen as a more engaging and fulfilling place to work. In order to stay relevant, corporations have to innovate in every aspect of enterprise-level human resources: recruiting, talent management, employee retention, reskilling, and benefits.
Fortunately, with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, new technologies are able to help traditional human resources compete with young companies across the board in hiring, retainment, and reskilling. Startups are offering advanced platforms to help global enterprises reach qualified talent from around the world and collaborations tools to increase the productivity of distributed teams.
Recruiting is arguably the strongest focal point of human resources innovation in the digital age. Companies are beginning to rely on modern technologies to attract and hire the most qualified talent for a job opening. Artificial intelligence is dominating how recruitment tools screen resumes and communicate with candidates. These tools use algorithms to easily screen thousands of applicants for a job opening. By automating the administrative tasks and improving the candidate experience, recruiters are working faster and smarter. Digital recruiting is a $200 billion global market, which is reflected in the number of startups that are currently working on perfecting recruiting processes. Startups are leveraging the increasing volume of data and improving speed to insight to take a more predictive approach to talent acquisition and team management. The upgraded recruiting tools have taken a strong foothold in the recruiting space and will continue to have influence in the future.
Corporations can also find a competitive edge by improving employee engagement and retention efforts. It’s becoming clear that companies with above average employee engagement levels will see higher productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction. However, in 2018, the tech industry had the highest turnover rate at 13.2% where even the best companies to work for experience average tenures of 1 to 2 years. Numbers like these have encouraged enterprises to adopt advanced technologies to enhance their purpose, culture, workflow, and physical workspaces. Tools for career mapping and digitized career development allows employers to maintain engagement and create a more cohesive, productive team. Career mobility platforms also help companies in reskilling their workforce, allowing employees to gain new skills and try different positions without compromising their current one. In general, employee engagement and recognition technology help align the employee and employer’s professional achievements and targets.
The digital era has created an overwhelming amount of information, with a total amount of data projected to rise to 44 zettabytes by 2020. Data is now being captured through products, video cameras, credit cards, cell phones, and numerous other touchpoints. Corporations are finding it increasingly more difficult to optimize analytics for the sheer amount in existence. Emerging technologies in AI and blockchain are powerful enough to analyze, measure, and aggregate big data, but traditional companies are slow to adopt.
The concept of big data and its importance has always been a priority for enterprises, but advanced technologies have greatly improved the speed and efficiency at which large sets of data can be analyzed. In the current age, data is created from every customer interaction with technology, regardless of whether it’s active or passive. These datasets play a huge role in understanding valuable insights about target demographics and customer preferences. Big data analytics, done correctly, can provide a huge competitive advantage for companies - they can leverage these insights for product improvements, business strategy, and marketing campaigns with unprecedented precision.
97.2% of executives reporting their companies are investing in cognitive and AI initiatives.
A recent study in 2018 shows that Fortune 1000 corporations are more willing than ever to innovate in big data technologies, with an overwhelming 97.2% of executives reporting their companies are investing in cognitive and AI initiatives. For the first time, enterprises are able to integrate disparate data into meaningful sources for AI algorithms to manipulate and understand behaviors. Big data will change how even the smallest companies do business as data collection and interpretation become more accessible.
Operations and Workplace Collaboration
Team collaboration software is on the rise. Every year businesses lose over 20% in revenue due to inefficiencies. Smaller companies have long been using workflow management tools to increase productivity among teams. However, large enterprises are finding it more difficult to adopt across their entire workforce.
As the workplace changes and distributed teams become regular, collaboration continues to evolve as new tools are developed. External factors like customers expecting faster responses and improved customer experience are also influencing enterprises to adopt new collaboration technology. Early adopters are reaping benefits and one McKinsey study found that innovative business collaboration techniques can improve your company’s productivity by 20-30%. Chatbots, content collaboration, and automation are a few common trends in collaboration tools that startups bring to the market.
There is also no shortage for enterprises to implement robotic process automation (RPA) and when combining it with other technologies, the power of workflow automation becomes obvious. Given each business can have complex unique workflows, workflow automation tools balance on the line between customizable and simple. The RPA market is expected to accelerate because past RPA projects have proven to save money, have a strong ROI, and not require significant IT architecture changes or complex integration.
Legal & Accounting
Traditional legal and accounting departments in large corporations are notoriously slow to innovate while adhering to antiquated processes. At the same time, fast advancements in AI and machine learning are creating opportunities to improve analysis tools, recommendation systems, and complex processing. With technology innovation changing the competitive landscape, enterprises are finding new opportunities in legal and accounting to help automate processes and save time.
Advancements in technology and the demand for faster innovation has made improvements across the board in the legal industry. Artificial intelligence and blockchain technology are influencing all aspects from legal research to contract management and drafting. For example, instead of relying on manual hours for lawyers to figure out if a patent exists, blockchain technology reduces this work to seconds, therefore empowering legal teams and saving significant time.
Advancements in technology and the demand for faster innovation has made improvements across the board in the legal industry.
Managing contracts with a cloud-based solution is also a growing need in the legal industry, as trends like electronically signing and secure management are bringing huge value to the entire contracting life-cycle. Even legal research and prediction is being improved with data analysis tools. Documents like docket data, legislation, case opinions, and client contracts are being converted into digital forms to create complex legal datasets. Startups are offering tools for deriving useful, targeted information to reduce litigation risk, improve effectiveness, and predict legal spend.
Traditional accounting processes in bookkeeping, taxes, and internal reporting are also being updated for the digital age. By using artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies can help improve the speed and accuracy of automation while improving predictive analytics and fraud detection. Blockchain technology has the potential to make bookkeeping more reliable and transparent than ever by introducing a triple-entry accounting system using a third ledger, the public ledger showing every blockchain transaction.
As businesses become more interconnected and data is seamlessly shared across all departments, platforms can highlight significant drivers of the organization’s success in close to real time. These tools with machine learning are becoming the norm for enhanced predictive analytics to help accountants manage their resources. By implementing these advanced technologies, tax departments are spending fewer resources on tax compliance, planning, reporting, and risk management and focus more time as a strategic partner to the broader organization.
New technologies are forcing changes in the corporate workplace. Technology companies and startups are constantly making huge strides in the advancement of AI, robotics, and automation. In order to remain relevant in the digital era, large enterprises must take action to update antiquated processes in the back office. While difficult to implement, there are corporate innovation platforms like our Enterprise 2.0 program that help corporations discover the newest and most efficient technology to modernize their back office.
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