3 Emerging Technologies That Aid Employee Workflow
By Mike Raia Posted December 9, 2019
“I’ll Slack it to you.”
“Make sure you start a Google Hangout for the meeting.”
“Have you checked Trello?”
Today’s workplaces are fueled by the many technology tools that have become available in recent years. As technologies continue to advance, they have entirely reshaped modern organizations by making their processes highly integrated, streamlined, and more straightforward to conduct for employees.
For this reason, 40% of organizations have implemented elements of a digital workplace strategy, and 17% of organizations have plans to create a formal strategy in the next two years. These businesses use digital transformation to align technology, employees, and business functions to improve operational efficiency and meet organizational goals. Meant to act as a virtual complement to the physical office space, “digital workplace” is a broad term that includes any device, software, or platform that employees use to execute their jobs.
But what technologies are driving this change? Here are three of the most impactful technologies that are improving employee workflow:
What it is
Although automation was once only associated with advanced manufacturing plants full of robotics, that’s far from its only use today. Regardless of your organization’s size, automation can be a helpful tool. Its capabilities range from providing automatic email responses to deploying thousands of bots programmed to automate specific job functions.
Automation is defined as the technology-enabled automation of activities or services that accomplish a specific function or workflow. More specifically, workflow automation refers to the design, execution, and automation of processes based on workflow rules where human tasks, data or files are routed between people or systems based on pre-defined business rules. Automation can play a role in many different segments of company activities, including sales, management, operations, supply chain, human resources, and information technology.
What it does
Automation is used to improve an organization’s overall workflow in terms of achieving greater efficiency, adapting to changing business needs, reducing human error, and clarifying job roles and responsibilities. When workflow automation is in place, it can improve a business’s efficiency, productivity, and accuracy.
For example, an employee may request the approval of capital expenditures by completing an online form. This form triggers workflow automation that routes the employee’s request to their supervisor for approval. If the supervisor approves, the request is then routed to a different area of finance based on the amount of the request (e.g. Under $25,000 is routed to a Finance Manager while over $25,000 is routed directly to the CFO). Once the request is approved by the appropriate Finance approver, it may then be routed to the relevant purchasing agent based on the type of request.
What it is
Chances are you’ve heard of the cloud by now, or even used the term yourself, but haven’t stopped to give it much thought. If you’ve edited a document in Google Drive, streamed music on Spotify, liked an article on Facebook, or updated your resume on LinkedIn, you’ve seen cloud computing in action, though you may not have been aware of it.
The cloud refers to software and services that run on the internet instead of locally on a computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a web browser like Firefox or Google Chrome, and some companies even offer dedicated mobile apps. IDC even predicts that over the next five years, “cloud platforms and ecosystems will serve as the launchpad for an explosion in the scale and pace of digital innovation… with as many new applications deployed in the cloud as prior generations deployed over the previous four decades.”
What it does
Cloud technology is very beneficial for businesses, especially where collaboration is concerned. The ability to communicate and share via cloud-based tools can enhance the quality of work produced and decrease the amount of time it takes to complete projects.
Business applications built to run on the cloud offer a complete, connected, and integrated method to streamline lines of business, including finance, supply chain, and human resources, which makes inter-departmental collaboration simple and efficient. However, be wary of business solutions that may be at various stages of cloud readiness. This may instead make it more difficult to collaborate between departments, as their applications don’t work as a cohesive suite.
What it is
As data becomes more widely accessible and ready for use, today’s organizations can use it to their benefit, making business decisions driven by fact and more strategic. This is highly beneficial for organizations of all sizes; in fact, a study conducted by the MIT Sloan School of Management indicates companies that are mostly data-driven maintain 4% higher productivity rates and 6% higher profits.
Predictive analytics, a technology backed by machine learning, allows organizations to use their data, as well as data from outside and third-party sources, in the decision-making process. It’s a type of data analysis that uses data to find patterns and generates models to predict future performance. As CIO describes it, “Organizations use predictive analytics to sift through current and historical data to detect trends and forecast events and conditions that should occur at a specific time, based on supplied parameters.”
What it does
Predictive analytics can be used in many departments of your business, like marketing, human resources, and even manufacturing. For marketing, in particular, historical data should always be a driver for strategy and planning. Predictive analytics is the next level of using that data for marketing success.
Predictive analytics is a great tactic to use to predict a customer’s “next move” in your business model—primarily if you’re operating online. Using behavioral data with customer journeys, you can predict engagement points on when you think a customer may convert. You can also track “drop-off points” and see where you may be losing people, whether it is due to confusing content or a dead end in the journey. By using data to drive your online strategy, you can create content, modify a web page, and organize supplementary marketing materials to convert customers.
Emerging technologies, like those described in this post, are poised to make a significant impact in today’s workplaces and employee workflows. With digital workplaces on the rise, be sure to educate yourself on these technologies and how they can impact your organization.