Mark Davies is managing director of BCMGlobal
In a recent conversation with a client, I enquired just what technology and digital solutions they expected from us, things they thought we should be thinking about in terms of technology but that perhaps we were not currently considering.
Readers of my blog will know I am an avid supporter of our people but we know ultimately, for some of our clients, our ability to deliver technical innovation quickly is very important.
Support should be a part of business culture
I was pleasantly surprised by the answer I got. While the delivery of innovative processes was acknowledged, the lender also went to great lengths to underline the importance of the relationship with the people in the business – to the point where the technology piece was effectively a hygiene factor.
Now, I know our people are key – our net promoter scores for the last two years have been travelling north at a rate of knots – 90% of our clients say we’ve been a great partner during the pandemic and gave us on average 9.1 out of 10 on the service we delivered last year.
It seems I am not the only person who recognises that digital transformation is less about technology and more about the people who deliver it.
It’s clear that in the post (I use that word advisedly) pandemic future, the key is to focus on reskilling and upskilling people who can then successfully manage, adapt to and deliver the mountain of change that new technology will bring.
We may not really need reminders but the truth is that even as you read this you are probably on your own, or in isolation, working from home etc – unthinkable until the pandemic. This trend will not be going away anytime soon. If anything, technology and the pandemic have combined to mean that an even bigger proportion of jobs will co-exist in the physical and digital world.
But the key, as my client conversation has made clear, is not to think about how we eliminate or denigrate the role of people but how do we continue to put them first and help them use the tools available to be better, more successful and happier tomorrow than they are today? If technology is about efficiency, then knowing not only what efficiencies you want but also how to leverage the newly released human intellect is the cornerstone of getting it right.
You often hear people use the phrase creative destruction but in reality it is technology that destroys things (such as unnecessary jobs) then it is the people who provide the creative piece – the part which delivers the future.
Therefore, I would always contend that understanding what people bring to developing a business is increasingly important at all levels. We often use a phrase ‘business leaders’ but the truth is that technology is democratising at many levels this notion of leadership. Structures are flatter and the skills needed to lead cannot rely on hierarchy and experience the way they used to.
I have made much in our business of the importance of being curious – and this is not something machines and technology deliver. To be curious is look at the world around us with an open mind.
These kind of skills might be considered soft but if machines are doing all the leg-work then these become core to people’s workplace existence – a timely reminder then that no matter how technologically advanced your business is, people are the differentiator.