Rethinking your internal vs external capabilities - and how these scale up or down in a COVID-normal world? Here's what we recommend.

Now in a “COVID-normal” world businesses are moving to a digital-first approach – and progressing their digital capabilities. For business leaders, this shift means it’s time to start rethinking internal versus external capabilities – and how these capabilities scale up, or down, in the emerging work environment.

The traditional workforce is changing. The way that customers interact with, and purchase products and services is quickly evolving. Changes that would have taken years to get out the gate pre-COVID, have had to be made almost overnight in order to keep pace with a shifting conditions.

Most organisations are moving quickly to adapt. As a result, many of our customers are taking the opportunity to step back and reflect on the type of resources, and the scale of resources, that will be required in order to facilitate new ways of operating. Tech tools like the cloud, collaboration tools, software-driven technology, security capabilities, automated systems, and AI are becoming the new normal when it comes to business operations, with more and more businesses integrating them into their new day-to-day work.

Not only do these technologies help businesses rise to meet the changing needs and expectations of their workforce and their customers, they also enable the ability to have a more readily flexible, agile, proactive, and fast-moving technological infrastructure – invaluable assets in a fast changing communication and data environment.

But with this rapid adoption comes the need to ensure that the people using the technology are properly upskilled. The skills a workforce needs going forward are going to look completely different to what businesses are used to, with the biggest focus being on digital skills.

Microsoft NZ, through their global skills initiative, discusses the imminent changes:

The rebuild is already underway in some areas of the economy, however we know that the skills required to fill many of these new jobs are different to the skillsets of the wider workforce. The digital transformation of the economy is driving demand for tech-enabled jobs across almost every industry and with it demand for people with digital skills.”

This doesn’t mean every Kiwi worker is suddenly going to need to be an IT expert – it’s about investing in your workforce, by giving workers the tools they need in order to work with technology in a way that augments their pre-existing role. But to do this, business leaders need to be rethinking their internal capabilities and processes.

What should business leaders be thinking about going forward?

  • Don’t get hung up on ‘it’s the way our company has always worked’ – it’s time to challenge the traditional operating models and processes that many companies are used to
  • Push for scalability and flexibility in your new processes – this will help your workforce and organisation to quickly adopt any new tech and processes with ease
  • Reimagine your digital capabilities and processes from the ground up – there’s no point trying to digitise on top of old processes
  • And don’t assume that technology alone will enable your new digital way of working – always consider the human element and ensure that proper work allocation, collaboration, and structure are still present within your organisation.

For more on this topic, please read “Tech Predictions: 2022 and Beyond” and “Do You Have Digital Whiplash?