3 Key Priorities CIOs Should Prioritise in 2019: Workforce, Workspace and Work Culture

    Written By Simon Piff

    Creating the right working environment will be critical to achieving Digital Transformation goals for all organisations in the future.

    IDC predicts that less than 40% of organisations have the capabilities to attract and retain talent, as well as develop the digital skills required to be successful, although 6% of organisations in the Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) region as “best in class.”

    In 2018, IDC defined “Digitally Determined” organisations as organisations whose DX initiatives are integrated enterprise-wide, and whose enterprise strategy will use DX to transform markets and customers by creating new business models, and products/service.  On the other hand, “Digitally Distraught” organisations have DX initiatives which are tactical, tied to the enterprise strategy but very short-term focus.

    Credit: IDC

    With over 40% of organisations across Asia/Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) now considered “Digitally Determined” and on the path to realizing their transformation goals, the focus shifts to the “Digitally Distraught” and what they need to do more to be able to close the gap on the competition.

    Based on a study and analysis done of digitally distraught organizations, IDC has been able to identify several key areas where the “Digitally Determined” are establishing new behaviours that need to be considered “normal” within a transformed environment.  

    To start, this transformation is all about “putting the customer first” by creating a customer-centric organisation across all departments, and this includes the IT department which has traditionally been considered far-removed from the needs of, or impact upon, customer engagement – but this is rapidly changing. Driving this customer-centricity is innovation-at-pace across products, services, processes and the systems that support and underpin many aspects of all organisations in this data-driven, digital economy we now live. But to achieve this requires a fresh approach to risk-taking and a desire to continuously learn and adapt.

    In October 2018 IDC created a blueprint that organisations can leverage to address the demand of the digitally distraught, called “A DX Blueprint from the Digitally Determined” which identifies the four key areas that need to be addressed to move from “Distraught” to “Determined” which includes Organisation Culture, Digital Transformation Strategy, Digital Platforms and Financial Rigour.

    In early 2019, these concepts became integrated with IDC’s Future of Work research program, which is squarely aimed at what the CIO and C-Suites need to consider in order to be able to achieve digital determination and to sustain success once this level of maturity is achieved.  The Future of Work discussions consider three interrelated and interconnected pillars, namely Workforce, Workspace, and Work Culture.  

    Each of these contributes to creating the right environment for innovation and transformation to thrive, thereby resulting in a more well-tuned organisation that is able, with the right talent and partnerships, to excel in today’s business environment.

    In IDC’s Future of Work FutureScapes 2019, IDC predicts, “Through 2022, the talent pool for emerging technologies will be inadequate to fill at least 50% of Asia/Pacific demand, and effective skills development and retention will become differentiating strategies”, which translates to there being a buyers’ market when it comes to technical roles. Without the right culture, approach to customers and access to the latest tools, IT resources will become very selective about whom they work for, for how long, and how engaged they will be in the overall success of the organization. This issue is exacerbated by the significant uptake of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, microservice architectures and multi-cloud adoption where the number of trained professionals in these skills is quite low.  

    Work Culture becomes a starting point to be able to attract the necessary talent required. This is about having an engaged and empowered workforce aligned to new digital skills, which in turn support the strategies of customer-centric data monetization.

    Work Force is about the collaboration of humans and technology, not about how AI will replace people, but how AI can augment skills by offloading more mundane and repetitive operations, allowing the human workforce to move to more value-judgment roles that machines cannot necessarily manage as well.

    Work Space talks about the environment in which the workforce operate, a connected, secure work environment that is independent of time and space. The “work-from-anywhere at any time” concept that is indicative of start-ups and born in the cloud organisations globally.

    Clearly the last element requires a seismic shift in culture, especially that of management culture, but as we move to a world where the workforce is getting younger, with unique demands that need to be addressed in an environment where they are perhaps going to be spoiled for choices with regards to where they work – this program attempts to guide, with examples of success, organizations to becoming digitally determined, and ultimately transform into digitally native enterprises.   

    IDC is looking closely at developments around the topic on “Digital Determination” and “Future of Work”, examining the business cases and monetization models in Asia/Pacific.