Technology – Transforming the DNA of the Workplace, Written by David Wallis

New Technology is transforming the business world. This is changing the DNA of the workplace by driving continuous improvement and innovation whilst constantly re-evaluating roles, structures and processes.

What do we observe?

  • Learning and Development teams are addressing the amalgamation of design, development, deployment and delivery (Four Dimensions or 4D) roles in this ‘new’ world.
    ‘Hybrid’ roles and solutions are emerging that enhance enterprise performance by combining modular elements of key roles and responsibilities.
  • Knowledge and Experience partnerships are achieving a deeper understanding of enterprise tasks such as requirements elicitation. “When you understand why you are going there, you pay more attention to what you can achieve.”
  • Collaborative Leadership is enhancing relationship and achieving better Stakeholder Management.
  • Efficient delivery solutions now encompass increased automation with Human Insight overseeing the direction and execution.
  • Learning environments are no longer a linear sequence but rather a parallel process of training, experience, challenge and growth. They have evolved.
  • Training that promotes innovation is challenging norms and delivering enhanced enterprise results.

Given this we examine the impact on two roles, specifically those of Business Analyst and Project Manager and then consider the wider impacts across the

broader spectrum of Professional Development.

 1) Business Analysts

Business Analysts face increased complexity, which creates greater demands for flexibility and adaptability. The articulate management of the gap between expectations and the ability of operating architecture requires them to be more visible in identifying, communicating and then executing changes.  Partnership with Project Management is increasing, and the roles are being progressively amalgamated. Agile and Waterfall competencies need to be applied in tandem in order to achieve solutions. They will need to be more creative, constantly thinking outside of the box, adapting to multiple complex solutions and systems.  Business Analysts are commonly being asked to undertake ‘Leadership’ demonstrating a deeper understanding enterprise cultures and to be better able to predict to the future. They are expected to improve their Stakeholder Management skills to handle and eliminate potential conflicts.  Business Analysts are now looking more at external partnerships rather than exclusivity, view competition as opposed to monopolies, consider platforms as opposed to internal delivery systems and embrace ‘robotic’ solutions as an alternative to “human advice.”

2) Project Managers

Project Management is evolving at a time when this new lean environment offers less experienced resources and substantial change.  Increased competition emanating from constant disruption requires that Project Managers obtain or develop a better understanding of market dynamics and positioning.  The emergence of this value-based proposition (Return on Investment) is heavily dependent upon the execution and outcome of their work. Thus the ability to have a flexible yet structured project plan, accurately defining scope yet providing room for adaptability is paramount.  The nature of work is changing, and Project Managers will see many tasks undertaken by software or robotic solutions that enhance productivity but do not have the human advantage of thought or empathy.  Automation will have the effect of shining the light on their leadership skills as the common success factor (what could go wrong?) Those who deploy human ingenuity in partnership with Artificial Intelligence will be sought after.  This changing Ecosystem of work drives the need for improved communication skills and enhanced stakeholder management especially when solutions and systems exist beyond the protocols of the past. Collaboration will be increasingly dispersed across enterprise structures, partnerships, technology and time zones.  

 3) Professional Development

Leadership is regarded as the No1 Skills Gap of the future. This reflects the uncertainty and ambiguity driven by the nature and speed of change.   Future Leader programs are helping individuals to develop their skills by training them to both cope and excel within transformational environments.  Leadership programs are equipping individuals with ‘human’ skills and capabilities, such as strategic and critical thinking as well as problem solving and emotional intelligence in order to enhance team and task management. Artificial Intelligence partnerships are going to be under the microscope but are very clear that the competitive advantage exists where these elements can be combined and executed.  Negotiation skills may become predominantly external rather than internal where the culture of the enterprise has little or no influence. Third party contractors and or programmers will not have the same business goals.  Up-Skilling the current workforce to achieve a broader and deeper set of skills will be driven by market change and technology. This makes sense given that the enterprise culture is better understood from within.   Retention of broadly trained employees staff will become a critical success factor and demonstrate responsiveness to the outputs of Employee Satisfaction surveys. 

4) Learning Delivery

Will continue to provide employees with the chance to access E-Learning and undertake self paced modular study. This will elevate personal learning within the organization.
Individuals will embrace technology whether by Virtual Classroom or On-line study programs leading to improved familiarity and comfort with this delivery model.
Multiple other themes include Diversity and Inclusion as well as Engagement and Employee Wellbeing.

5) Conclusion

Technology has changed the way we work, the way we interact, learn and develop. Enterprise will constantly re-evaluate the evolving DNA of the workplace in order to align it with the opportunities presented by new technology and the competitive advantage that it offers.  Driving value-based solutions requires a broader and deeper skill set, some of which will need to be taught, some learnt. Resolving these challenges ahead of the curve will ensure that Enterprises meet the challenge of workplace evolution.

Research

1. Goldsmith, Marshall. “Triggers – Sparking Positive Change and Making it Last.” New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2015.
2. Sutherland, Jeff. “Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time.” New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2014.
3. Kasparov, Garry. “Deep Thinking, Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins” United Kingdom: John Murray Publishers, 2017.