The Workplace Today:  Checking On The Progress of Digitization


Welcome to the “fourth industrial revolution,” aka the digital transformation of industries and generally our daily lives.  (Bonus points for you if you can name the first three…on your own, and no googling!)

Adopting and leveraging rapidly advancing digital technologies to keep up with competitors, streamline operations and grab/retain demanding customers expecting kid-glove care and customization, has become the holy grail of businesses, both large and small.

And the quest is spreading fast.  A recent global study involving 15 countries and 800 organizations determined that one-third of those interviewed are quite far along in their digitization of the workplace.  Here are some key findings of The Dimension Data’s Digital Workplace Report: Transforming Your Business:

  • 64 % of companies are using analytics to improve their customer service
  • 58 % use analytics to benchmark their workplace technologies
  • 30% are far along in their digital initiatives and are already reaping benefits

And the digitization we’re talking about here is not just adopting technologies of the past.  The use of virtual advisers– those online bots that can answer questions and help you get things done faster without needing to speak to another human— for example, is gaining momentum.  Sixty-two percent of research participants expect to have this technology in a couple of years, while another 58 percent expect to start spending a lot of money on technology that powers virtual advisers, within the same timeframe.  So hello, textual Siris, Alexas, and Cortanas everywhere!

Let’s face it—the Genie is out of the bottle.  It’s pretty clear that those who don’t adopt new innovative technologies will fall by the wayside.  While about 30 percent of organizations interviewed for this report said that they are far along in their digital transformation, many others are still at the starting point—the planning stages.

And there are many hurdles to jump in this traditional-to-digital workplace transformation.  According to research from Deloitte’s Human Capital business, one major hurdle is the disconnect between these new shiny technologies acquired by the bedazzled leadership and the workforce.

The 144-page Human Capital Trends 2017 report by Deloitte notes that workplaces still have a long way to go to before the transition to digitization is mature, and that digitized workplaces are not necessarily more productive than more traditional workplaces.  Why?  Well, here we’re largely back to a very traditional problem:  the human resource issue.

Although digitization of systems and operations and other facets of organizations may be in place, a lack of qualified employees to work with these advanced technologies makes this progress, ironically, counterproductive.   At least currently.  Overcoming worker resistance to digitization and inspiring organizations to engage, empower and continuously educate workers to be “digital-ready,” are the first steps to take in this steep digitization hill to climb.

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