Breakthroughs: Ways of Working
The Birth of Agile
The development of the Agile Manifesto in 2001 and the subsequent advancement of DevOps practices shifted the tech industry’s focus from a waterfall delivery system to one of continuous improvement. Rather than concentrating on one-time releases of new applications or major upgrades, agile organisations can quickly sense and respond to changing conditions and needs.
The power of agile techniques have also permeated many other parts of organisations outside of software development, empowering teams to accelerate decision velocity and rapidly respond to market shifts.
Move Toward Self-Organising – and Self-Directing – Teams
Gone are the days of the CEO as de facto royalty (think Jack Welch in the 1990s or the edgy, young CEOs flying high before the dotcom bubble burst); many of today’s enterprises are moving towards a workforce of small, project-focused teams with limited supervision. Rather than telling people what to do and how to do it, organisations are enabling groups, networks and ecosystems to work together towards common goals.
This form of self-management requires significant discipline – a complex set of interlocking structures and practices that empower the people with the expertise and resources needed.
Innovations in open source development, the general public license and online collaboration tools have unified the efforts of geographically dispersed workers in unimagined ways. This trend is captured in the success of crowdsourcing, which now fuels idea generation and funding for every-one from app developers to NASA.
Even in more traditional workplaces, mobile devices and web conferencing have made telecommuting, remote work and virtual teams more common.
Breakthroughs: Customer Experience
Increasing Importance of the Human Experience
The digital age has empowered the consumer, and organisations can no longer focus exclusively on the bottom line. It has helped create a marketplace of consumers who value corporate conscience and a company’s ethics and ideals as much as cost, quality and customer service. Users increasingly expect experiences that are authentic, purpose-driven and singularly human.
The Rise of Social Connectedness
The ubiquity of social media has transformed communication, marketing and day-to-day business operations. Consumers have been presented with new experiences, discovered the power of their voices, and social technologies have magnified the reach and exposure of both individuals and organisations.
The Power of Customer Obsession
Amazon and Google, founded in 1994 and 1998 respectively, set a new bar for digital experiences, customer-centric design and customer expectations around access, availability, speed and ease of use. These organisations, and their popularity and resulting cultural acceptance, have effectively shown how true customer empathy can enable scalable personalisation and customisation.
“Customer experience is already moving from being a differentiator to a cost of entry,” said Rob Sherrell, Global Head of Customer Experience. “It has evolved from just thinking about the customer to bringing the customer into the experience design process through co-creation.”
Data-Driven Discoveries and Digitised Operations
The rise of Big Data and a move to digitised work systems has strengthened business’s ability to make strategic decisions in complex environments. Data has proven its ability to transform and strengthen across all industries and around the world – optimising efficiency, guiding innovation and automating processes.
“Just less than 25 years ago Marc Andreessen started Netscape, bringing digital content to the masses,” said Ben Grinnell, Global Head of Technology & Digital. “Software started ‘eating the world’ at an exponential rate. Ever since, each mouthful seems to double the appetite and it’s increasingly difficult to predict even a few years forward. As digital interfaces continue to evolve from punch cards to keyboards to voice to thoughts, how will organisations keep up? What won’t be digital?”
When it comes to business, the real value of the Internet lies in connecting things – databases, servers, devices and people. Cisco predicts that more than 50 billion devices will be linked through the internet by 2020. The volume of data points that these devices produce enables organisations to customise products and services to individual customer needs, further enhancing their effectiveness.
The Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Forrester predicts that cognitive technologies such as robots, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automation will replace 7% of U.S jobs in less than a decade. Smart robots and systems will soon replace people in performing even cognitively sophisticated tasks; artificial intelligence is already in use in healthcare and other industries. AI and automation are no longer tools that make workers more efficient: They will replace the need for human labour completely.