In the early days of the COVID pandemic, it quickly became apparent that businesses needed a digital operating model to survive. Those who had been slow to digitize their processes felt the urgency of a digital transformation. Even the companies digital-nativedesigned to serve customers through digitally-enabled channels, had to adopt new back-end technologies to support telecommuting or hybrid working
The pace of digital transformation has accelerated, with multi-year roadmaps implemented in just a few months. While this rapid digitization has allowed many businesses to adapt to the circumstances of the pandemic — and to better equip themselves to respond to market changes in the future — for many, it has also resulted in an avalanche of applications and specific point solutions by function, which have become operational silos. In short, these rapid digital transformations have created new, unintended operational complexities that are sources of frustration and inefficiency, and which IT leaders must now address.
To understand how the rapid digital transformations of recent years are affecting productivity and employee satisfaction, and to identify the most pressing challenges to prioritize, we asked research firm Savanta to survey more than 4,000 employees at time full in 14 countries. Their report, titled “Demystifying complexity in the modern workforce” (coming soon in French), details what they learned.
Technologies designed to make our lives easier actually make work harder
Three out of four employees believe that their work is becoming more complex, and 42% attribute this to digital transformation. A large majority (90%) say they experience information overload.
Digital technologies are designed to transmit and store data. With the growing adoption of digital solutions during the pandemic, businesses are capturing and generating more data than ever. But employees struggle to access this data or leverage the massive amounts to truly optimize their work and the experience of their customers.
Disconnected applications that complicate operations
For many employees, technology promised to foster collaboration and streamline operations, but nothing has yet materialized. The survey reveals that 89% are frustrated and have trouble navigating internal processes, and 43% say they have too many systems. Furthermore, more than one in three employees in the European Union and the United States believe that technology is unreliable and makes their job more complex.
Sure, companies have never had so many apps, but they don’t work in concert to improve operations or experiences. Employees continue to create workarounds to address data silos and redundant processes, and maintaining all of these applications strains IT resources.
the lack of training in new technologies frustrates professionals
The acceleration of digital transformation has created a skills gap. A majority of employees (87%) admit they find it difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of change, and 34% say that inadequate training on new technologies makes their job difficult. Hybrid workers, in particular, are more likely to find new technologies difficult to master.
Businesses can act now to improve their digital operating models and simplify work environments
Digital operating models are now the norm for businesses that want to be viable today and in the future, but as the survey suggests, digital tools and operations alone are not the answer. They can create greater complexity and more challenges if they are not part of an overall operational ecosystem. However, there are measures to ensure that solutions are implemented in a way that optimizes operations, promotes growth and improves the experience of employees and customers.
First, take an approach Center out to structure your business architecture. Start by defining the operational goals you want to achieve and the experiences you want to deliver to your customers and employees. Then, map out the steps for each of those workflows and automate those workflows end-to-end, with intelligent process automation.
By relying on a platform low code, at the center of your technology stack, you will be able to build and deploy apps and integrations that can call data from your repositories at the bottom of the stack, to deliver simplified and connected experiences at the other end of the stack, via canals. This approach allows your new and old digital technologies to work together to orchestrate data and processes between your applications, services and lines of business. The collaboration of your systems and your teams towards a common goal is thus simplified and facilitated.
Second, take advantage of the tools low code accessible, empowering business users, fostering collaboration between business and IT teams, and supporting the governance of business application development. To reduce complexity, governance is essential. The solutions low code used to produce role-based development environments that automate compliance with your security guidelines and best practices. The solutions created are thus more easily integrated into your operational model, while remaining scalable.
Third, take an approach always-on of training. As reliance on digital solutions continues to grow, the skills gap will only grow, and recruiting and retaining digitally skilled employees will remain a challenge. Invest in your current employees. The tools low code, which are easy to learn, help solve some complexity and capacity issues, but the rapid pace of technological change means constant training and retraining. Good news: employees want more training. More than a third say they need more or better training on the technology, and 29% say they need more support from IT experts to use the technology.
The right technology, implemented well, reduces complexity and drives success
If there’s one caveat to take from the survey, it’s this: Implementing new technologies isn’t enough to give employees the tools they need to perform at their best. On the contrary, it can complicate the IT landscape and daily work.
When planning your next digital initiative, focus on scalable technology that’s accessible to users of all skill levels, embedded in an intelligent, governed, center-out business architecture, and ultimately helps simplify employee and customer experience.