A lot of the conversation around the digital workplace has focused on the impact of robotics and artificial intelligence on human jobs. On the one hand, there is fear that automation will make human talent disposable; on the other, there is optimism around the innovation that human assets will be able to lead when robots take over repetitive tasks.
At first glance, changes brought about by the digital age may seem threatening. On closer look, you will realize the unlimited potential it offers – for the enterprise and its people. It is only when the enterprise can frame a people strategy that communicates an evolving business model aligned to the digital age can employees gain a clearer, logical view of key players and participants.
Sure, there may be robots too, but people will always be there. That’s because one of the chief goals of digitalization is to gain insights and identify patterns aiding the creation of products that serve PEOPLE better, empower EMPLOYEES to think innovatively, and create better CUSTOMER experiences to encourage loyalty and customer lifetime value.
In other words, ‘going digital’ benefits people (customers) and is for the benefit of people (employees). The new digital, data-driven business model is, in fact, designed to serve its shareholders. What platforms and tools are enabling is the easy access to data, which is organized and structured for easy searchability and quick, on-demand retrieval. Data repositories in the digital world are ‘person centric’, whether that person is the customer, supplier, employee or business partner.
To be data-centric is to be person-centric; a data strategy will always have elements of people strategy.
Take Airbnb : the online hospitality service uses machine learning and big data to help hosts find prices that earn them (and the company) more money. Data is being leveraged to improve decision-quality – that could mean better productivity or more exciting projects for employees just as it has translated into higher incomes or better deals for other stakeholders. That data is the new gold is also being acknowledged by traditional incumbents in such sectors as telecommunications and insurance. New or allied business models are being conceived to extract the potential of data in strengthening capabilities and enlightening customers.
When digitalization is viewed through the humane lens of ‘serving people’, it is bound to be welcomed instead of feared by employees. ‘The datapreneur’ who can champion digitalization of processes without disturbing the core value that employees cherish, will be able to encourage the enthusiastic adoption of both the advanced tools as well as the mindset needed to excel in our rapidly expanding digital world.