For the older generations, digitization once existed as a sci-fi vision of the future; a Blade Runner-esque world many years away and not considered something to be experienced in their lifetime. However, with recent tech developments, we are swiftly moving into an era where digitization is not only part of our daily lives but is expected and accepted as part of the status quo. But how did we get here and, crucially, how do we progress in a world where digitization is part of consumer behavior?
Looking back on analogue…
Analogue technologies worked successfully for many decades. The predecessor to digital devices, objects such as record players and film cameras were widely used across the world. So why the need for digitization? It started as a simpler and faster way to store data. Since the 1970’s, digitization in some form has swept the world and we now live in a society where our personal and business lives depend on digital devices.
Connectivity in the digital era
Since Nokia’s first digital mobile device launched in 1992, mobile devices have taken over the world and changed the way that we are connected as a society. With the advance of the World Wide Web and new media, the world suddenly shrunk and became a global village.
It is now taken for granted that you can video call someone on the other side of the world, but just 20 years ago this technology was in its infancy. So what can we expect to see in the next 2 years of technology that's developing now? Tech that is just emerging such as AI, VR and applications that aid our daily lives will move forward in leaps and bounds over the next few years.
As much as digitization has been widespread, companies are still apprehensive about utilizing new tech; often stemming from fears of job cuts or unreliable software.
The digital switchover does not necessarily lead to job cuts or workers becoming redundant. Instead, it has many benefits for business growth through increasing efficiency and streamlining tasks.
In terms of software being unreliable, these issues are becoming a thing of the past as companies and startups take on extensive testing of their products before issue. This means there is a much smaller risk involved with embracing digitization in your workplace than there was a few years ago.
Once you move beyond the initial barriers to technology in the workplace, you’ll find that the more tech that you start to use, the more your employees will be engaged with technology and have an appetite to find out more. Engaged employees increase efficiency and boost overall outcomes.
Where should you start?
The minefield of information surrounding tech and digitization in the workplace can be overwhelming and make it difficult to know where to start.
- What are your issues?
- What would you like to improve in your business?
Then find a digital solution to solve one of these problems.
Don’t start taking on too much tech at once, as this can be overwhelming for employees and disrupt communications. Focus on identifying the issues and solving them through integrating digitization into your office.
Applications and software
Digitization of admin tasks can really increase efficiency in your company. For example, Xero is an off-the-shelf application that digitizes your account books - saving hours of trawling through receipts and bills. Xero also integrates with other finance-based applications for your business.
Utilizing two applications that work together can help you to reduce time lost on admin tasks and increase productivity of your staff. This also applies to job management itself. Okappy is an application that can work together with software such as Xero, tracks jobs in real-time and streamlines communication between contractors and subcontractors. The application also simplifies admin tasks such as job sheets by digitizing the paperwork.
If in-house project management is your issue then Monday is an online-based software that helps workers to share their tasks. You can update, share and edit your tasks and even estimate the time that they will take.
All these applications and off the shelf software can not only help your business but also put your workplace at the forefront of you sector.
As emerging technologies rapidly shape the way we operate on a day-to-day basis, individuals and organizations need to be constantly aware of the changes. Embracing digitization wholeheartedly will open up huge opportunities. Don’t be afraid to take proactive measures in order to jump on board, but take it one step at a time.