Five actions to prepare for digital disruption

Published:  01 November, 2017

Okappy provides five tips on how you and your business can adapt to the shifting landscape of an increasingly technology-focused world.

Whatever your industry, significant disruption is on the way if it’s not already happening. New technological developments are serving as foundational building blocks for forward thinking and digitally based business models. These changes reap many benefits for businesses however, if they do not adapt with the changes, they may get left behind.

Workplaces are dramatically changing and less and less people are constrained to an office. Virtual reality (VR) is predicted to really take off between the next two to five years, which will revolutionise the way we interact with digital content. Watching films will soon become an immersive experience, and VR will also shake up how education is delivered and virtual travel will become a new norm.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also set to skyrocket over the next five years. AI can now help diagnose illness – perhaps one day AI will replace doctors! The 2020s will also see driverless cars go mainstream, potentially putting thousands of couriers and drivers out of work

Intelligent automation techniques are reducing costs, dependence on labor-based processes and ultimately optimizing efficiency for service delivery. What steps can we take to prepare for the changes that new technologies will bring? Read on to find out about the top five actions we believe companies should take now to prepare for the technological disruptions to come over the next twenty years.

Understand the disruption

Step one is to understand the disruption and why is it occurring. Technology changes our expectations of the world. Identifying the disruption of the future is really just about understanding the culture of the present.

Let’s take a look at Uber – one of the most well-known industry disruptors of the last five years. In the digital age the world has shrunk and communication has become more instantaneous. Internet culture made way for a perfect product-market fit for Uber’s ‘on-demand’ taxi service. All Uber was doing was meeting the needs of the current cultural climate.

As a company you can also look at the culture around you as an indicator for what is around the corner. Once you understand the demands, you will be able to see where the opportunities for the disruptors lie and make preparations before they even begin to come into effect.

Have a strategy

Once you’ve become aware of the inevitable disruption, you must now assess the impact. On what scale will it come into effect in your industry? What does the data point towards? What is the likely timeframe?

Once you have assessed the impact you can then choose your tactics. It’s imperative you have a strategic response to digital disruptions, if you do nothing, you will get left behind. Implement it into your current business plan and have set target business outcomes. What is the future value chain? Apply this knowledge to the strategy.

Revamp the way education is delivered

New technologies are being developed every day, and with them come new job opportunities. How will people’s skillsets develop at a fast enough pace? In order for companies for thrive, they will need an intelligent, adaptable and highly educated workforce. How that education is acquired may look very different to today’s traditional university degrees or college certificate.

Everyone will need at least a basic understanding of both the technologies and the mindsets shaping the future. Companies need to start developing essential skills including collaboration, problem solving, navigating complexity, scenario thinking and accelerated learning. It’s essential to constantly be expanding your area of expertise and the pool of knowledge surrounding your industry.

Listening to the latest podcasts, reading about new releases and researching into the scientific data can all help you get ahead of the game. You may also want to consider using school facilities out of school hours, researching gateway courses and e-learning options.

Embrace cultural shifts

Once you have understood the disruption, got your plan together and revamped the way you approach education, you will already be on a path to improving the culture of your company. There is nothing more dangerous for an industry than holding onto the past. A successful business will evolve and change as the market changes.

You should be able to identify what is working and leave behind everything that doesn’t. Current trends of the workplace include decentralisation and a growing millennial workforce that value flexible working hours, collaborative work environments and work/life integration. Millennials will make up 40% of the workforce by 2020 and so some of these are things that you may have to get alongside as a company. Remember, diversity is a powerful tool and will be key in preparing for industry disruption.

Increase support for innovators in the company

Inventing and re-thinking new ways of doing things is an essential action for moving forward. As some job roles will become defunct many companies will be forced to take the future into their own hands and create their own jobs. This may mean you will have to adopt an entrepreneurial spirit and expand support for the existing inventors and big thinkers already within the company.

More investment in innovation would generate more employment opportunities, both for the mentors and accelerate the rate at which the company can diversify to keep up with technological developments. Make sure you budget in for research and development when making your business plan.

Digital disruption is happening and it is having a big impact on the way businesses are structured. More and more companies are turning to automated machines to replace slow and expensive human employees. However, keeping an awareness, having a strategy in place, encouraging continued education, embracing the changes and having the support in place for innovation will enable your company to make the necessary preparations.

Okappy is a B2B communications platform for job management. Okappy combines social and market network technology to communicate and collaborate with employees, subcontractors, across different sites and with different clients.

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