We consider the key trends that will define 2018’s key business challenges… Plagued by cyber-attacks and skills shortages...
The workplace is changing. This much we know. Transformation is being driven by ever-increasing demands on the nation’s infrastructure. Housing is less available and more expensive. Ditto office space. Meanwhile, our road and rail networks are becoming over-crowded, adding to commuting times and detracting from our quality of life.
This capacity crunch is matched only by the technologies – cloud computing primarily among them – that are making a new way of working possible. Employees are becoming increasingly mobile as applications, services and data are made available any time, any place, anywhere. The office, that cathedral of steel and glass, is not about to disappear, but this new way of working – flexible, agile and mobile – is such that every organisation needs to think hard about how it can enjoy an efficiency premium and ensure resilience against disaster.
In this week’s NewStatesman, the Sungard Availability Services supplement, Public Sector 2.0: Resilience, Efficiency and Reinventing the Workplace, focuses on these very issues. It has the public sector in its sights because central and local government has much to gain from these changes but is typically, though not exclusively, slower to adapt to change than its private-sector peers.
In the words of techUK’s Charlotte Holloway, writing on page nine, “While change can be uncomfortable, it offers new opportunities. Increased flexibility will open up roles to a more diverse range of people, helping public and private sector unlock talent. It is only by embracing technology that the public sector can remain relevant and achieve the efficiencies required by the impending spending review.”
The CBI’s George McFarlane (page eight) expresses similar views, urging public-sector transformation to “focus on the outcomes that matter to service users” and seeking “a more creative approach to working across organisations, teams and functions”.
Technology is central to all these opportunities. However, adopters of that technology need to be clear-sighted enough to see that long-term gains may come only after short-term complexities.