Digital technologies are having a profound effect on practically every business. Certain industries like communications, media, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade have been quick to adopt digitalization, making use of new tools and approaches in a short amount of time. The impact on other sectors, notably government, health care, construction, and agriculture has been comparably less. Some units within these areas are at the forefront of digital change while others are clearly lagging.
By now it is very clear to every business organization that its success and even its survival is dependent on its ability to get a grip on digital change management. But how can this be done and which are the areas that a firm should focus on?
Many companies make the mistake of focussing on technology while neglecting the people who will be using it. Remember that your firm’s digitalization process will produce the best results when your workforce understands how it functions and the manner in which it can be used to gain a competitive advantage.
New firms, which do not have to contend with the legacy systems and procedures that incumbents are saddled with can quickly gain a lead and take away market share from established companies.
How can a firm ensure that its people are part of the digital change management drive that it is implementing? One important step that you must take is to get the entire company involved in this initiative, not just the individuals in the IT department. Because digitalization is more than just implementing a new tool. It’s a new way of business.
Buying IT assets and increasing your budget for implementing new systems is the easy part. But the only way that your organization will be able to reap the complete benefits that digitalization has to offer is to increase digital usage within your company and its different departments. Because what use are the best tools, if nobody uses them?
The transformation should include utilizing the advantages that new technologies have to offer for improving the manner in which transactions are carried out. Firms will have to relook at the way in which they deal with their clients and their suppliers. The digital change management program should touch every function in your company.
Many activities that have been carried out using traditional methods will need to be changed to take advantage of digitalization. Your digital change management roadmap should prioritize customer-facing tasks. Priority should be given to those areas where the competition is ahead of you. So take a look at each of your departments and facilities. Which are the ones who make the most out of the available tools? Which aren’t and why? What marketing software is your competition using and which are the latest data management tools available for your customer relations department? These are just two...
The future of work seems to be moving from physically being present in an office to working remotely. In the face of globalization, cloud computing, internet, and mobile, virtual teams are a reality that businesses can never run away from. In addition, the aforementioned factors improve virtual team communication and thus the success of virtual team operation. According to 34% of the Business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London, 50% of their workforce would be working remotely by the year 2020. An additional 25% said that more than ¾ of their staff will not be working in any traditional office come 2020.
Globalization is affecting the way companies are recruiting and retaining skilled workforce. Companies that are able to balance their employees’ needs with their business needs can maintain a competitive edge in the race for talent. Here’s a look at the factors that are driving this trend of virtual teams:
Many thought the high unemployment rates would create a talent surplus. However, this is not true. There is a shortage of great talent in critical positions. Work flexibility is a deciding factor for one in every three workers considered to be a top talent. This statistics is higher among millennials as well as family people who do not have children.
Generation Y (the digital natives) will dominate the workforce in the coming years. Their acquaintance with mobile technologies as well as online collaboration tools – factors which are already transforming the way businesses operate – makes it so natural for them to work remotely. Millennials consider flexible working conditions as a key retention factor for any organization. A research by Deloitte confirms that 88% of millennials wish to have work flexibility.
Adam Henderson of Millennial Mindset also asserts the need for consideration of virtual teams in the following quote: “A flexible approach to work also helps businesses retain their best talent as they are giving their employees an option to do great work, but in a way that fits their lifestyles, providing a win-win scenario for all.”
According to data cited by Gallup, 43% of Americans worked remotely at least part of the time. In this open talent economy, employees are no longer bound by location. The new phenomenon is already redefining the 9-to-5 workday program and research confirms that remote workers are more productive and log in more hours than those in the office.
Now that we’ve looked at the reasons behind the implementation of virtual teams, let’s take a look at the advantages and the disadvantages of creating a virtual team.
First up are the advantages:
We can no longer turn a blind eye to the question of collaboration, especially given that more than 34% of the US workforce is already a virtual workforce, and 50% of the workforce is being projected to be virtual by 2020. For instance, how would you launch a new product with designers in Chicago, the marketing team in Paris, and engineers in Berlin? How do you get all of the participants reading from the same page when they are not in one room? Online collaboration tools provide the answers to the modern virtual working environment – they help virtual teams achieve greater productivity and attain their goals.
Collaboration and online collaboration tools have been found to increase team efficiencies and make it easier to achieve team goals. A study by McKinsey Global Institute confirms that online collaboration tools increased the productivity of workers by as much as 20%-25%. Collaboration tools are so critical in modern day businesses that up to 40% of modern employees wouldn’t mind paying out-of-pocket for their own online collaboration tools to enhance job performance.
Communication is key for virtual teams to achieve their maximum potential. An online collaboration tool that will make it easier for team members to share information, connect, and thus enhance working together both at an individual level and a team level is the ideal tool for you and your company. So when choosing a tool you should consider tools that have:
Most people are busy and impatient with tools that appear strange and complicated. Ease of use greatly influences the rate of adoption by users. The easier a tool is the better.
Therefore, consider the following features when choosing online collaboration tools:
Thanks to the latest technology standards, people have become much more impatient with tools. This also applies to the work processes. The longer the collaboration processes are, the more frustrated team members tend to grow. So when picking out a tool, consider the one that enhances real-time working without a team member having to logout and wait for others to process their files. In particular you should look for tools with: