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2020: the year of the employee?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

Workplaces are changing rapidly – often without us even noticing. And now that the first wave of digital disruption has already passed, employees are demanding more sophisticated experiences from the companies they work for. This means that, as businesses, we have a choice: change, or get left behind. One way of ensuring that we move with the times is to listen to the changing expectations of employees as we move towards the next big milestone: 2020.

That’s all very well, but how can we approach this change beyond digital whilst still keeping employees on side? To investigate the shifting digital scene, Infomentum carried out a survey with over 1000 office workers to try and gauge the reality behind employee expectations.

So, what do the employees of 2020 actually want?

The skiver vs. the flexible worker

Right now, 41% of employees want to work from home. But 62% of bosses won’t let this happen. Are these flexible workers skiving, or the people of the future? Who’s right in this situation: the employee or the employer? With the number of workers demanding flexible hours set to rise, the answers are not so straightforward.

Whilst there are fears that out-of-office work may lead to lower productivity, it actually appears that the reverse is true. By adopting cloud document management systems your business can promise better collaboration between departments, and greater flexibility throughout the workforce. Working from home need no longer be a hindrance, but perhaps your greatest asset. Because, let’s face it, the organisations that are agile enough to let their employees work remotely will see the greatest benefits, both physically and technologically. Our previous report into Generation C, the connected generation, illustrates these benefits – exploring why fewer distractions, and less stressful environments lead to happier employees and greater company success.

Have you upgraded?

It’s time to listen to the 91% of employees who believe that their employer will no longer be competitive by 2020. Yes, this might seem like just another scare story. But, guess what: the world has already changed and those non-upgraders are being left behind in the wake of this digital boom.

We’re now looking beyond digital for the workplaces of 2020. Employees want their organisations to harness the flexible working technologies available in order to boost business success. And, there will be merit behind this. Once tasks become increasingly automated, employees will be able to devote more time to strategic thinking and generating new ideas.

The secret success of Gen C employees

In 2020, the employers who embrace the forward looking attitudes of Gen C will be the most successful; it is these members of the ‘connected generation’ that are driving the pace of change. Their hardworking and increasingly flexible mind-sets will be your greatest asset – perhaps not such a secret, but still a truth easily forgotten. Attempts to enforce top-down controls will merely limit workforce motivation and who wants that? So, instead, it is time to listen to the demands of the 2020 workforce.

So there you have it: a snapshot of the changing expectations of your 2020 employees. Want to pinpoint the specific areas that will work for you as we all move beyond digital? We thought as much. Read more in the full report: ‘Beyond Digital: what’s next for businesses in 2020?’.

2020: what are your customers expecting?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

77% of users claim they leave a site immediately if they experience any difficulty. It’s a shocking stat. One that perfectly illustrates the need for business to continually improve and innovate to keep up with progressive consumer demands.

But I hear what you’re thinking. We've heard this before, but how do we know where consumers will go next? The truth is, nobody knows what 2020 holds. To gain insight into what the market is expecting, Infomentum carried out a survey with over 1000 office workers to look into their opinions, behaviours and expectations for 2020 as both a customer and an employee.

We’re all Generation C

In case you hadn't noticed, age demographics are over. In the age of Generation C, the connected generation, it’s all about linking people through their shared behaviour, interests and expectations. Back in 2014, when we carried out research into Gen C, 54% of respondents identified themselves as part of the connected generation. With the internet embedded in every area of our lives and digital technology booming fast, the Gen C demographic will only continue to grow.

So much, in fact, that the research predicts that by 2020, Generation C will be the dominant psychographic amongst both customers and the workforce. What are Gen C expecting from you?

Buying into 2020

In 2020, it’s not going to be enough that your website is mobile ready; mobile will mean more than just a smartphone. With hyper-connected consumers who are always on the move, they’ll expect an overhaul of the whole buying process.

The 2020 sales Your customers expect an overhaul of the buying process

With the rapid pace of technology advancements it’s not unfeasible that this type of sale could become a reality.

What does it mean for businesses?

We’ll come back to your website because, let’s face it, if your website isn't ready now then it’s time to start working quickly or risk being left behind in the digital boom. It’s not about jumping straight into the 2020 sale by buying into all of the latest technology with no roadmap. Businesses need a solid strategy, a vision and a set of goals to achieve this. Armed with this, you can assess the state of play in your business currently, identifying gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. Then, and only then, is it time to look at technology.

Read more on how you can prepare your business for 2020 in the full report: ‘Beyond Digital: what’s next for businesses in 2020?’.

Back to the future – this is 2020

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

Digital transformation; it’s been the business buzzword of choice for the last 2 years or so. It’s proven to be one buzzword which has some meat behind it. Digital transformation is still a hot topic and has manifested in tangible success for many businesses and even charities like The Prince’s Trust.

Like all trends, digital transformation means different things to different people. And like all trends, it must eventually fade until ‘digital’ just becomes the norm of how we do business. But what comes next?

Beyond digital?

Technology is evolving at such a rapid race. It’s continually pushing the boundaries of what we ever thought possible in our wildest back to the future fantasies.

Noone can say for certain what the future holds. To try and understand what could be coming, it’s important to understand the state of play today. Infomentum surveyed 1000 office workers to find out their current opinions, attitudes and experiences as both employees and customers. By finding out what motivates people now, we can begin to consider how 2020 may look; and more importantly, how business can prepare.

Thriving or skiving?

Employees feel they’re thriving. They’re embracing new technologies, and using it to their advantage. 39% of office workers are actively using social media to communicate and collaborate. But even in 2016, many bosses still view social media as skiving. The same goes for expectations of working from home; employees want it, but many bosses are still not open to the idea.

Employers need to ensure that their staff can access the same information as the office anywhere in the world, to remove the ‘skiving’ label from remote working. Businesses that are agile enough to allow their staff to move without constraint, both physically and technologically, will see the greatest benefits.

Rise of the fickle consumer

Worried your website is sub-par today? You should be. 77% of users claimed they would leave a site immediately if they experienced any difficulty. And guess what? They’ve probably gone straight to your competitor.

As we move towards 2020, consumer expectations will pressure brands into behaving in a way that best suits them. The businesses that aren’t prepared for a fast pace of change will get left behind.

This is just a snapshot. Read the full story on the state of play today, and find out how your business can prep for 2020 in the full report: ‘Beyond Digital: what’s next for businesses in 2020?’.

Strategy first, technology second

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

I have a Google habit. It’s the curse (or blessing!) of growing up in the ‘digital age’ (but please, don’t call me a millennial). That’s to say that I rely on my smartphone to Google anything and everything. Admit it, you’re guilty too.

Scientists believe that this habit of ‘googling’ everything is actually making our attention spans shorter. It’s a common practise in this ‘digital’ era; throw technology at a problem and it will solve it. That works, right? When it comes to your business, the ‘Google’ effect is not the answer.

Don’t stumble in the dark

To thrive in the digital age, it’s not about having to bring every piece of new or exciting technology on board, and shoehorning it into a place in your organisation. It’s about carrying out your normal business functions and processes more effectively and efficiently. It’s about enabling your employees to better serve your customers.

Just bringing in any technology with no clear roadmap for how this will evolve with your organisation, and solve business problems, is fruitless. There are some scary stats out there telling us that two thirds of digital transformation initiatives fail. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Strategy first

What experience do you want your partners, suppliers, customers and employees to have? It’s not about the technology. It’s about how they feel when they’re using it; and you certainly don’t want that to be one of frustration or fatigue with the system. Rather than focusing on the technologies you think you need, or that you want, which is an operational move, take the strategic move first.

Consider how anyone interacting with your organisation behaves; whether it’s web, social media, telephone or any other channel. This will help you to identify the processes causing the biggest pain points. Once you understand the gripes in your current processes, you can pinpoint the key areas which could benefit from change.

Technology second

It’s all very well knowing where you need to change today. But how does that help you decide on what your technology stack looks like?

Understanding what you want your business of tomorrow to look like is key to ensuring the changes you make today enable your business to grow. It’s important to consider your culture; how will you manage the change internally and prepare your business to transform? Once you’ve got these details in tow, you’re well on the way to mapping the technologies to which will overhaul your creaking processes and bridge that gap to where you want your business to be.

This might not be something you can carry out alone; many businesses bring in outside agencies with the expertise in user journey mapping and technical architecture. It will certainly pay to consult the experts in the long run for the success of your transformation. They’ve been there, done it and learnt the lessons.

So, before you throw technology at your problem, take a step back to consider the bigger picture. Your business will thank you for it.

Download our whitepaper “Talking Transformation – a CEOs guide to dealing with Digital Disruption” for more information on how to move your digital initiatives forward.

Are you keeping pace? Three trends to address now.

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

How many blogs have you read that start with ‘the world is changing’? Guess what, the world has changed. Scientists in the States believe that we are currently going through a technology revolution that will have the same impact on our planet as the industrial revolution. And they think robots will become commonplace sooner than you think!

That’s all very well, but what is going on now that we need to be responding to in the coming months – if we aren’t already?!

1) Consumerisation

Maybe over used, but customers are driving change. Their expectations are growing. And organisations all over the world are putting their customers first – even Ryanair has realised the benefits of looking after customers. More than ever we need to be listening to customers. Of course, customers are people, like you and me. These days they are more informed than ever before, enabling them to be more opinionated, more creative and more demanding.

So if your customers are frustrated because they find it difficult to do business with you, they will not remain loyal. They will not just move on, but they will tell their friends… publicly, via Facebook and Twitter. What are you doing to meet the needs of your customers?

2) Multi-channel

Who invented the damn smart phone? Ok, so I love it really, but they have changed human behaviour. When you get on the tube, many commuters have their eyes glued to a screen. I’m even favouring putting my children in front of the TV than have them spend hours on a tablet.

The point is, the power and flexibility that mobility brings to people is immense. From being informed, communicating with friends and colleagues, to finding information quickly and conducting processes and transactions on the move.

For organisations looking to find or retain their competitive advantage, you need to be providing a dynamic, integrated and customer experience that is the same across all channels.

3) Cloud

The ‘Cloud’ has been around for a long time. However, now it is robust and more reliable. Ok, so you might hesitate to put your business critical applications on it – but customers and employees expect you to deliver services via the cloud.

The good news is that you don’t have to act like a Harrier Jump Jet and head straight for the cloud. You can take a more phased approach and migrate over time based on customer or employee needs, end of life support for technology, legacy replacement or change of requirements.

Taking a more hybrid approach enables you to take advantage of the best of both worlds, and gives you the opportunity to digitally transform business processes by simply adding a digital interface to your legacy systems.

Whatever your key IT projects are for 2016, I suspect many of them will hang on one of these key trends. And if they don’t – and you haven’t addressed the above yet – then it’s time to start planning your projects for the year ahead.

Who owns ‘digital’ in a business?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

The marketer does. No, the IT department owns it. Wait, it belongs to everyone.

Who owns digital in your business? Before you answer that, maybe we should understand what we mean by ‘digital’?

Digital marketing is now a common marketing discipline. It combines social media, email, websites and portals. Originally used to listen and broadcast, digital channels are now used to support customer service, with social media and web chat being the fastest growing customer contact channel in the UK.

But ‘digital’ is even bigger than that.

Not only are digital solutions supporting customer self-service through portals and online interactions, but these solutions are enabling customers, partners and employees to access information, transact and collaborate globally. The result is streamlined processes, increased productivity and significant efficiency gains.

To achieve this level of benefit, the whole business needs to be behind a digital transformation programme. Ultimately, the CEO owns the strategic direction of the organisation and in order to realise modern competitive advantage and adopt a digital business model, then it is the Executive Board that will take responsibility for implementing this progressive approach.

Will the CEO turn to marketing or IT to deliver a digital business model?

That depends on the organisation. However, it is more likely that a steering committee combining the CMO, CTO and CIO will be tasked with creating a strategic solution, drawing on their communication, technical and information strengths.

For some organisations, they will employ a Chief Digital Officer to take responsibility for the successful migration to a digital business. It’s a role that is increasingly being seen on the Executive Team, but once an organisation has evolved, it is anticipated that this role will disperse.

What we do know is that each department in an organisation has a vested interest in the digital evolution of their business. Each department head should be influencing the digital strategy and ensuring their line of business is willing and able to support this inevitable change.

Digital transformation; the Trending Business Transformation

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

Gone are the days of focusing on saving money. Business leaders are now looking at either how to simply keep up with their customers, or how they can profit from digital.

The result requires business transformation. Or is it digital transformation? What is the difference?

To be honest, there should be no difference. Or there certainly won't be as time goes by. Becoming a digital business could be compared to the days of computerising your business back in the 1980s. The installation of a computer to enable you to do your job quicker is no different to implementing a digital strategy in order to operate more efficiently, and deliver a more acceptable customer experience.

Although you might call it digital transformation, what you're actually doing, if you're doing it right, is transforming your business into a modern business ready for the next stage in its life.

Why is this transformation important? What will digital transformation bring to your business?

- Growth and opportunity
- Enable you to take products to market faster
- Exploit the talent in your digital savvy workforce
- Provide a platform for innovation
- Quality customer conversations regardless of channel
- An opportunity to build brand loyalty again
- Huge cost savings - from tech savings, to people

Above all, undergoing digital transformation will enable you to create a sustainable business by remaining competitive.

Sounds great, eh? But where do you start? Check out our Digital Transformation Strategic Assessment and we'll help make sure you've got the right approach to transforming your business.

Why not watch our video on Digital Trends to find out the key technologies disrupting businesses.

6 Things to Consider in Your Digital Strategy

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

Until now, your business will have invested in technology solutions to streamline processes and save money. Some of this investment may also have been in improving the customer experience.  From ERP to document management, marketing automation to client and internal portals, so many aspects of a business are now automated.

How joined up are these technologies? Are they meeting the modern users expectations? Are they in line with your digital strategy?

Web services, web 2.0 and cloud changed everything.  They opened the door to digital disruption. Combine the advances in technology with changes in people behaviour and their attitudes towards digital, and your business could quickly become out of date if you don’t respond fast enough.

The first step to tackling the challenge of digital disruption is to build a digital strategy to meet your overall business long term goals. Your marketing department may already claim to have one. If this is a digital marketing strategy then we’re talking cross purposes.

A digital strategy is all encompassing. It is a strategy to change the way you do business. It incorporates people, processes, information, technology and your customers across the entire business.

Here are six things to consider when building a digital strategy:

1. Business vision

Understanding your business direction and how you intend to retain or grow your competitive advantage over the next 3-5 years is fundamental to sustainability. How are you responding to changing employee behaviour to keep and attract great talent? Where will your revenue growth come from?

2. Impact on people

The success of migrating to a ‘digital business’ is driven by your people. For businesses with a young workforce, they expect a digital way of working and are more likely to help and support a transformation project. For organisations employing less tech-savvy people that may not see the benefit, and only see that they have to change the way they do their job, may be less supportive.

3. Customer expectations

Understanding your customer buying behaviour and how they want to interact with you is crucial to getting your digital experiences right. Increasing numbers of consumers now expect to be able to correspond with you online. Of course, if you’re a B2B organisation, your customers are still consumers, and expect the same level of digital capability, if not more.

4. Access to information

The rise of digital resulted in information and data being stored all over the place in a variety of formats. Becoming a digital business means you should be making this content easily accessible in order to streamline processes, and make it easier for your employees to access that information so that they can do their job more effectively. It will save a shed load of time too.

5. Integration of processes

The era of silo departments, operating silo databases and running silo processes is over. That went out with the dark ages. Mapping your processes to a customer or employee journey should be second nature. This should mean that your processes are far more integrated into your business, exploiting the information stored in various pockets to deliver a more streamlined experience.

6. Technology roadmap

The technology is here. Yes, it keeps changing, but the digital business is possible now. The trick is to make sure that you plan for the future, expect the unexpected and be prepared to be agile. Having a clear technology roadmap will give you a base point in which to stay focused, whilst enabling disruption to be embraced.

We have consultants ready to work with you to define your digital strategy. Get in touch if you want to talk about it.

Generation C: Are You Meeting Their Needs?

Author: Infomentum

Author: Leigh Hopwood

Doing nothing is like going backwards.

Surprise, we’ve changed.  Yes, you and I. We text our friends and family, we socialise on Facebook, network through LinkedIn and get the latest news about train delays through Twitter. We spend more time than ever with our faces glued to a screen, in a variety of sizes.

In 2012 you’d see headlines like ‘social media is dead’. It was deemed a fad. But finally the realisation has hit that the digital business is here to stay.  And we’re only now seeing the term ‘digital disruption’ being bandied around. The digital phenomenon has been here for years – its businesses that have been slow to adapt.

So who's in the driving seat?

Have you heard of Gen C? Gen C, or Generation C, is the connected generation. Unlike Generation X, Generation Y and the Millennials, Generation C is defined by its behaviour – not their age. They use devices, apps and web sites to interact with friends, family and companies. They use these approaches to go about their daily business.

According to infoMENTUM's research report, 81% of Generation C consumers shop online, 87.5% use online banking, and 86% use social networking to connect with friends. As employees, 75% of Generation C people value the freedom to be creative, 55% value using their own technology and 73% value flexible working. Unfortunately, 60% of businesses have IT systems that are only ever updated occasionally.

It’s this connected generation that are driving the adoption of digital technology both by the consumer and employees.

What has this got to do with the contact centre?

Oh, so much.  Where shall I start? First, your people.

Whether you like it or not, your people are increasingly becoming tech savvy.  That means that they are using functionality in their home life that they expect to get access to at work. It’s not just about having the latest devices, it’s about having systems and processes in place that take full advantage of the streamlined approaches that can be achieved with digital technology.

From being able to connect with an expert or accurate/up-to-date information seamlessly to help a customer, to being able to access their HR data from home to monitor their own performance, your employees now know that not only can processes be completed more efficiently, but they can probably tell you how to achieve it.

Now let’s take a look at your customers. Whether you are in B2B or B2C, your customer has high expectations in how you might sell to them, and in your customer service.  It’s no longer acceptable to only interact via the phone with FAQ’s on your website aimed at reducing call volumes.

Customer profiling is so important to ensure that you are delivering the right service, at the right time, through the right channel to satisfy your customers. Understanding why your customers are getting in touch, and how they prefer to communicate is crucial.

Integrating the right digital technology into your contact centre processes, and working with your people to enable them to use them effectively, will give you a huge wave of benefit. Your people will be happier working with the latest functionality and having the right tools to do their job well, and your customers will be happy because they can do business with you much easier.

And if everyone is happy, then your profits will rise. Happy days!

What happens if you do nothing?

That’s not an option. Gone are the days of sitting and waiting for technology to settle down. You can no longer wait to see what the next big thing is. If you don’t respond and invest now, you might as well throw the towel in. Expect to make mistakes, expect to have to change course and expect the unexpected. That’s life.

Leigh's post originally appeared on callcentre.co.uk

Emerging from the cocoon: digital transformation

Author: Infomentum

Author: Rachel Edwards

Technology has already become a permanent fixture in everyday life, so the need for businesses to have a digital strategy in place is becoming increasingly obligatory. This poses a challenge for businesses, who not only need to update their legacy technologies to keep up, but also their business methodologies.

In order to address this era of digital disruption, businesses need to go through a digital transformation.

But weren’t we just talking about digital disruption?

In our last blog post, we explored what is digital disruption and why businesses need to stand up and start paying attention. Digital transformation is the period of change that businesses need to go through, in order to cope with digital disruption and come out the other side as successful companies, switched-on to both their customers and their employee’s needs.

Digital transformation is a result of businesses seeking to adapt to this onslaught of disruptive technologies affecting the way that customer, employees and even the competition behave.

But why?

People are becoming more and more digitally savvy; they’re always connected to their device, always communicating and always collaborating with their peers. Our Generation C research demonstrated this. We’ve got employees expecting to work wherever they want from the device of their choosing, and collaborate with colleagues in different locations. Customers are demanding multi-channel experiences and hyper-personalisation.

Businesses that are able to respond quickly to customers, offer collaboration and knowledge sharing to employees and provide flexibility are moving ahead of the competition in leaps and bounds.

Now you know what it is, how do you transform digitally?

In short, businesses need a digital strategy. This should feed in to the wider transformation strategy for the business, meeting overall business objectives.

It starts with identifying your digital vision and where you want to be. Then compare to where you are now – this will determine the gaps so you can start to close them. It’s often difficult to gain an unbiased, holistic view of your business from within, and to understand the future technology roadmap which will enable you to get to where you need to be without disrupting business as usual. That’s where companies like infoMENTUM can step in to carry out a strategic assessment for you.

In my next blog post, I’ll be exploring the key trends disrupting businesses and causing digital transformation. Visit our Digital Transformation Strategic Assessment page to read more on how your business can create a digital strategy.

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