Digital transformation is a transformation because it affects everyone within the organization from the c-suite on down. But at this point in time, is it more of a theory – something that organizations aspire to – or a reality? A group of recent studies provide insight into the degree to which non-IT employees desire and are helping to move the needle.
Age Discrepancies Are Real
To start, Capgemini Consulting conducted a 2016 joint research study with the MIT Center for Digital Business. The partners interviewed over 150 executives across a broad range of industry sectors and geographies. Not surprisingly, the research found that younger workers today have greater familiarity with digital tools and ways of working than their more tenured counterparts.
The Capgemini consulting executives highlighted a growing gap between older and younger workers in their expectations and work habits around technology. Where older employees face a learning curve, millennial workers are often underwhelmed by the digital tools available to them.
One executive commented: “these people coming into the company, mid 20s, late 20s, even early 30s, they do everything electronically. They say: ‘Come on, I know the company is over 100 years old, but our information and IT capabilities don’t have to match the age of the company!’”
Along the same lines, according to the Dell Future Workforce Study, which was conducted in 2016 by Penn Schoen Berland, nearly half of American millennials (42 percent) said they’d likely quit a job if workplace tech didn’t meet their standards – nearly 4X as many as baby boomers (14 percent). Eighty-one percent of millennials reported the technology available influences their decision to take a new position compared to 53 percent of baby boomers.
Sixty-two percent of millennials said remote teams and better communication technology will make face to face communication obsolete compared to 48 percent of Gen X-ers and 32 percent of baby boomers. And nearly 3 in 4 American millennials (72 percent) said it’s likely they will be working in a smart office using the Internet of Things in the next five years – compared to 52 percent of Gen X-ers and 35 percent of baby boomers. Finally, 68 percent of millennial workers anticipated using AR/VR products in their professional life (compared to 55 percent of Gen X-ers and 42 percent of baby boomers), and 70 percent of millennial workers agreed that their jobs could be made easier with the assistance of AI (compared to 49 percent of Gen X-ers and 34 percent of baby boomers).
Adoption Remains A Barrier
Some of the executives Capgemini Consulting and MIT interviewed reported success in using platforms such as enterprise social networks or collaboration tools, but others highlighted challenges. Given the investment made in these systems, lack of adoption is a serious concern. One respondent stated: “We’ve spent an awful lot of money on technology, but I still see people working in the old way.”
On the user side, executives reported a lack of understanding and unclear business value as major issues. A leader in the food service industry explained: “I think people are apprehensive about new technologies. They don’t understand them and there is a fear of the unknown. They don’t fully understand how they’re going to drive business outcomes.”
Many of Capgemini’s respondents recognized that new digital tools, automation of business processes, and an increasing role of data in decision-making can increase transparency in an organization. But, as conversations move online and information is more freely available, they also witnessed resistance from management employees.
Managers may view these trends as a threat to their autonomy or influence. Explaining sales managers’ reactions to the introduction of a real-time reporting platform, one Capgemini executive commented: “That kind of transparency, they’re not used to, so there’s an initial push back.”
For the rest of the post, head over to the QuickBase Fast Track blog.