25 September 2018
According to a recent PwC study…
“Up to 30% of UK jobs could potentially be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s.” https://www.pwc.co.uk/economic-services/ukeo/pwcukeo-section-4-automation-march-2017-v2.pdf
That’s not long – especially when you consider that 20 years ago The Spice Girls were number one in the UK charts with Wannabe. Old Spice springs to mind.
While I am an avid supporter of technological innovation, robotics, AI and machine learning etc., I find PwC’s findings a tad alarming. Putting unemployment issues to one side, we must consider how this hybrid workforce of humans and robots can move forward in harmony. The hardest part of transforming any organisation is changing the culture. We are creatures of habit and with the best will in the world, even the best technology and systems cannot override human prerogative. If we want to future proof our businesses for the new world we are accelerating towards, decisive action must be taken. Changing mindsets and attitudes will not happen overnight. Every CEO needs to lead by example and get the whole organisation singing from the same song sheet.
You would be surprised at how many firms are still dependent on old versions of Windows or other outdated operating systems. It is unacceptable that people often have a better technology set up at home than they do at the office. I accept the challenges of upgrading legacy infrastructures are real – migrating 2,000 seats to Windows 10 is not for the faint hearted, but that’s no excuse. Change nothing and nothing changes. The modern workplace is being built to improve productivity and to enable better collaboration between colleagues and clients, no matter where they are. Workers must be mobile – able to operate as effectively on the move as they can from home or at their desk. No CEO can afford to underestimate this important issue.
Security has to be front and centre of everything you do. Innovation, especially in the UK is one of our biggest assets, but it comes with a price. The impact of Increasing regulation, together with the rise in cyber related crime cannot be ignored. I don’t need to spell it out but encryption, authentication, privacy and all those other security related words are a must. All transactions and devices must be authorised, manageable and fully auditable. The world is littered with examples of business failure because security was not taken seriously enough. Every CEO’s worst nightmare.
So now you have the workforce tooled up securely and everyone is raring to go. But that’s only part of the story. Digital transformation is driving the data economy, after people, data is a firm’s most valuable asset. To remain competitive you need to think very carefully about that data. Data management is tricky to do retrospectively, rigorous policies need to be in place in order to capitalise on advanced business intelligence and visualisation capabilities. And then where does one store that precious asset? Cloud is a given, but cost, security and geo-locations are more considerations to add to the pot. If it’s not already, a robust Cloud migration strategy should be high on every CEO’s agenda.
As you implement new technology you must also help your people to embrace the revised workflows, processes and systems. Absolutely no one should feel isolated by technology or new ways of working – and don’t forget experience is priceless. You can’t discount the grey hairs just because they are not completely up to speed with every new development. A cohesive and collaborative team spirit is required. This will ensure valuable skills and business knowledge can be channelled appropriately, fully optimised throughout the workplace environment. Inclusivity and diversity must be all CEOs number one priority.
The number of moving parts when undergoing a cultural and IT infrastructure change programme are far too complex to cover here – it would take forever. The key message is that no one can escape the impact of social change or technological advancement. The leaders in financial services and insurance must act now otherwise they are in danger of always being a wannabe. Is that what you really really want?