We are living the fourth industrial revolution.
Digital transformation is now driving productivity gains not seen since the steam engine was invented.
But, unlike the late 1700s, when there was one star innovation that unlocked an incredible boom in human output, it’s far more difficult to attribute a single innovation to the exponential growth that we are witnessing in the world around us today.
A confluence of factors are continually transforming how products, services and offerings are taken to market, while also impacting the very nature in which we work. This is the fourth industrial revolution.
Robotics, big data, and the Internet of Things are all unique technology trends that are profoundly intertwined. Each is building off the other to create an economic step-change that we are still trying to understand.
Another thing that sets this epoch apart is that it is inclusive. Businesses of all sizes can afford to be a part of it. In fact, they can’t afford not to be.
Personal computing devices such as laptops, mobile phones and tablets, powered by quick-to-charge and long-lasting batteries, connected to the cloud via high speed wireless internet are changing the way we work. Modern analytics platforms can provide insights into fleet efficiency, flagging unused assets that might be in a cupboard somewhere or measuring employee productivity.
Workplaces, physically speaking, are now far more flexible and connected, allowing staff to collaborate in ways that were never possible just a few short years ago.
This is a technology-driven revolution, and IT professionals are building it on a daily basis. For a long time, IT’s mission has been to become more business relevant, though now, we are in an era where it’s widely agreed that every company is a technology company at its core. IT departments are no longer cost centres, they’re a foundation and driver behind innovation and growth.
When the steam engine was being developed in the United Kingdom, the engineers and technicians responsible were not considered to be cost centres of the development, and in much the same manner, neither should IT professionals in today’s environment.
There’s a plethora of ways in which technology is driving innovation and growth in businesses today, and here are just three of them.
- Technology assists with staff retention
The efficiency dividends paid by an investment in the modern workplace are game changing, and paperless offices were just the start.
Today, workers can work from anywhere at anytime, and the idea that work has to be done in a defined place is an outdated one.
Work is a thing, not a place. It should be done in the most convenient and effective of locations, whether that be on-site or from the home office. With the technologies available today, the need for staff to be at their desks around the clock no longer exists.
In fact, numerous studies have found that workers thrive with greater flexibility and their employers reap the benefits in terms of loyalty and increased productivity.
A recent Diversity Council of Australia study found that flexibility was a key factor in employee satisfaction, especially for parents. The modern workplace can help firms retain high performing members of staff who are also juggling parental responsibilities at home.
- Technology creates digital collaboration
Cloud-based software like Microsoft Office 365 allows staff to collaborate on documents in real time. Working together has never been easier for staff in companies off all sizes, and those that encourage it are reaping the benefits.
According to a study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity in the United States, organisations classed as “high-performance” were up to five times more likely than “low-performers” to incentivize individual, team, and leader effectiveness in collaboration.
A focus on collaboration can also increase staff happiness, a Stanford University study found that workers persisted 64% longer on a challenging task when they collaborated with peers.
For companies looking to harness the benefits of collaboration, cloud-based tools are essential.
- Technology creates heightened security
The modern workplace comes with its own security challenges due to the proliferation of devices creating more access points to business networks and their increasing use in public spaces.
However these security threats can be brought to a point of acceptable risk. The beauty of cloud computing lies in its options – public, private and hybrid.
For example, private cloud is a strong option for storing sensitive, mission critical data and applications while public cloud can be utilised well for applications that hold a less significant risk to your core functions.
Data storage companies that house private cloud are set up with security front and centre. Their servers – often spread over several distinct locations – are exceptionally resilient to malicious attacks and natural disasters.
Better Online is a leading provider of independent IT solutions, and has significant experience transitioning clients to a more collaborative and flexible modern workplace. Visit better.online or call 0800 995 102 to reap the benefits of new workplace technology.