Digital culture shock slowing you down? Put people first!

Technology is accelerating at such a rapid pace that many businesses, their cultures and the workforces that power them, are in a state of digital culture shock. It can be paralysing, because if your people cannot keep pace with technology, you cannot take advantage of the opportunities it presents. The message: Digital means people too!

Leading enterprises that develop a people first approach will win in today’s digital economy. To integrate change into organizational DNA in the most effective way possible, businesses need people. This is the core message of Accenture’s just-released Technology Vision 2016 which makes “People first” its leading theme.

To succeed in today’s digital economy, enterprises cannot simply continue to consume technology; they need to adopt a more holistic approach. By empowering people (employees, partners and consumers) to continuously learn new skills, they can accomplish more with technology and achieve better business results.

Keeping up with changing technology is vital, and it’s as important to evolve the organization’s corporate culture. You cannot just change the technology — when it comes to digital, getting the most from technology means changing the way you run your business.

Businesses need to build a workforce that can adapt, embrace new business strategies and continuously learn new skillsets. To build that, a culture and a structure change is in order.

The workforce of the future is dynamic, liquid, elastic, entrepreneurial.

We are moving from static workforces organized around specific skills and functions to adaptable workforces organized around projects, with embedded training. The evolution is from specialised skills to generalist skills, from depth of capability to breadth — powered by technology. This is the kind of workforce that will thrive in a flatter work hierarchy where decision-making is closer to the edges of the organisation.

Intelligent automation and artificial intelligence will be instrumental in creating breadth. They bring new skills to help people do new jobs, and re-invent what’s possible. At the same time, the platform economy that has emerged with digital brings new strategic models that bridge industries, as well as different models of value creation. The workforce that is able to function in these digital ecosystems is agile, flexible and change-ready, shaping their skills with the help of technology to suit the tasks at hand.

Businesses with the right digital expertise, resources and knowledge will be able to predict disruption and ride the wave. Are you building that expertise? Do you know where and how to tap into a global pool of resources? Will your business keep pace as technological advances and disruption accelerate?

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Tech Vision 2016 (#TechVision2016)

To support its Tech Vision findings, Accenture Research conducted a global survey of more than 3,100 business and IT executives across 11 countries and 12 industries. Eight-six percent of them anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase at a rapid or unprecedented rate over the next three years.Read the full Tech Vision 2016 report here.

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About Lee Naik

Lee Naik is the Managing Director of Accenture Digital in South Africa. Lee has a deep understanding and appreciation of the transformative role that technology and digital can play, and works with organisations to transform their businesses to remain competitive in an ever-changing and increasingly digital world.

Lee was named one of Top Voices of LinkedIn for 2015.

Read his other blog posts and follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter