Technology is now part of our DNA and businesses and organisations are realising that they have to consider it; not only to grow, but to survive.

Now, at the end of 2017, we are in the midst of a new digital revolution that will result in benefits tenfold, but the change has also brought about issues and challenges that we need to address.

An increasing skills gap

A study by Barclays has found that 43 percent of adults in the UK do not have basic digital skills that are required by around 63 percent of jobs and this gap is predicted to increase due to technology advances. Working with a Solutions Provider is one way of ensuring that your company will have access to the latest technology and expertise to deploy and manage your digital solutions.

The subject of ‘Big Data’ has also been huge this year with data collected by technology in retail, over social media, and on websites. The possibilities on how to use this data to maximise sales and marketing are endless but finding the staff to analyse it and put it into practice is challenging.

Big data and data analytics are vital to the UK’s digital growth, and are expected to be worth £241 billion to the UK economy by 2020, creating 157,000 additional jobs. However, businesses need to find the right people with the right skills. Without this expertise, the UK’s ability to capitalise on the big data revolution will be restricted.

Low productivity

The issue of productivity in the UK, or lack of it, has also been hitting the headlines during 2017. Productivity is at the same rate as it was in 2008, during the financial crisis. Economists have warned that the UK’s productivity continues to fall behind the US, France, and Germany.

One of the theories for the low and decreasing productivity rate is the lack of investment in technology since the financial crisis of 2008. Companies’ capital spending is only five percent above its pre-crisis peak, compared with a 60 percent increase over the decade after the 1980s recession and 30 percent following the 1990s slowdown, (FT, Oct 2017).

In the digital age, it is vital that companies invest in technology to retain and attract customers and survive in this fast, competitive world. This year we have most definitely seen a big take-up in unified communications technology, particularly around mobile, conferencing, and collaboration solutions, and multi-media contact centre solutions, all of which improve internal and external communications, business processes and customer service. It is a vital step in making staff more efficient and productive.

Welcoming artificial intelligence

Talk of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots has been present in the media this year with articles on how AI will threaten jobs. However, digital transformation and the new industrial revolution that we are all facing will inevitably bring about change, and change scares people. AI should be looked at as an opportunity for businesses and not a threat.

It will enable companies to deliver a more personalised customer service, bringing information to the customer and the contact centre agent in real time in a user-friendly format that they can engage with. This is called Web Real Time communications, where customers can talk to agents over instant message, phone, or video and share information instantly.

Digital transformation race

2017 has very much felt like a race with companies and organisations speeding ahead to get on board with digital transformation, fearful they will be left behind if they don’t adopt a digital strategy, and their competitors will steam on ahead.

During this year, we have witnessed a lot of companies that have not stopped to take stock and get back to basics. Companies need to make technology core to their success and work out why they require specific technology, and what they hope to achieve from it.

The market is saturated with technology and it is often difficult for people to know what they want and why. Especially as technology solutions are now increasingly complex, consisting of multi-vendor solutions.

This is where System Integrators come into play. They work closely with businesses to discover what their needs and requirements are. Then they will devise a technology strategy and road map that will help them achieve their objectives and yield results.

Digital transformation must be viewed as an evolutionary journey and not a quick fix by suddenly implementing the latest technology.

Access to a leading ecosystem

Technology solutions comprise of multi-vendor technology and applications. By working with a System Integrator and Managed Service Provider, you will have access to an ecosystem of the latest technology from their global leading partners. Moreover, it allows for a level of supplier consolidation that can result in valuable cost-savings, as you don’t need to constantly recruit, or train up your IT department on the latest technology.

Integration is the answer

Of course, it’s not just about having the latest technology and devices. It is vital that technology is seamlessly integrated into the front and the back office for it to be a success. Finding a technology partner with system integration expertise will kill two birds with one stone, in that it reduces the supply chain and, again, gives you IT skills that you may not have available in-house.

Managed Services takes the pain of integration away, ensuring that your new technology and applications are integrated into your infrastructure and work effortlessly.

It can be concluded that 2017 has been a very busy year and the new digital industrial revolution that is upon us is not scary or threatening. It is in fact exciting and we will continue to guide and advise companies and organisations in setting and delivering technology strategies and road maps, connecting technology with people to deliver results. Helping them with change management and accepting a changing workforce, environment, and culture.

So, bring on 2018, we’re ready!

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