Author : Paul Roworth, Director of Consulting Services

Over the last 20+ years, disruptive technologies such as mobile devices and the cloud have transformed the way people work within, and interact with, organisations.

With three decades in ICT, and a history of leadership roles I have extensive experience delivering sustainable results for businesses, and high-performing teams. As such, I have seen these technologies evolve and understand that in order to stay relevant, it is increasingly important for organisations to leverage them to deliver an efficient, customer-centric service.

Consumers demand fast, efficient and personalised interactions, and are likely to shift their loyalty and business elsewhere if service levels don’t meet their expectations.

Traditional businesses are playing ‘catch up’ with technology

An explosion of applications on mobile devices, developed largely for consumers, has sparked a new set of norms and fuelled new competition for traditional business models.

With the landscape continuously changing, many businesses who have traditionally led the technology adoption are now playing catch up. In order to deliver the customer-centric services now demanded by consumers, traditional businesses must operate with the customer at the heart of everything they do.

Many organisations now face the challenge of shifting the business focus towards improving every stage of client engagement, beginning to end. In many cases, this requires a digital transformation of the way they conduct their business, to improve service, manage costs and remain competitive.

There is no value in technology that’s not used, or not used well

To maximise the potential value of a technology, leaders need to have a thorough understanding of how it is implemented and used.

It’s critical to demonstrate the value the technology can provide to your team. Organisational change management is key to successfully implementing technology and leaders must ask these three questions when preparing for new technologies for their business:

  1. How does the new technology change your business processes and policies and organisational structure?
  2. How can you involve and bring people along on the journey?
  3. How can you manage the change process to ensure it is a smooth transition?

Leaders must be seen as ‘champions of change’ and this is achieved by embracing change, setting a clear vision, tracking results and adjusting change practices to gain outcomes.

Utilising the right tools at the right time

Every day, there are countless number of activities that need to occur within a team. Whilst corporate-level systems look after the core requirements, many of these team-based business processes are manual or fall to tools like email to manage, which are not effective to manage and track both status and completion.

This is where efficiency, collaboration and organisational tools are a huge advantage.

For example, CGI provides a Microsoft SharePoint implementation called CynerGI Ensemble, which teams can leverage for document-storing and collaboration. It’s used as a standard corporate repository of information.

In addition, SharePoint is a great platform for doing simple business process automation at the team level. It’s easy to configure with no coding and creates the opportunity to improve some simple tasks.

More specifically, each of the members in my team has a goal around identifying innovation we can take to our clients. Traditionally, this has been done via email, which can get overlooked when busy and difficult to collate at the end of the year.

Using our team site on CynerGI Ensemble, I created a simple way to capture, review and approve these innovation ideas using the in-built forms and workflow of SharePoint. It makes it easy for the members to share their ideas and keeps me accountable to review and provide feedback.

This simple process took 10 minutes to set up and has improved the number of ideas by 300% compared to using email previously. Small, simple, but effective.

How CGI keeps up with changing technologies

At CGI, we implement formal personal development plans to enrich the professional standing of our members and build capability in new technologies across all areas of the business.

Our comprehensive online training and development platform provides a rich and diverse training resource for all employees, and we have informal upskilling initiatives in place too. One team-driven initiative was to increase shared knowledge around Blockchain: employees started their own community, met regularly and shared ideas and knowledge.

Above all, technology is constantly changing, so it’s critical that knowledge is continuously updated. The analogy I use with my professional services team is to imagine a full bucket of water with some small holes in the bottom. If you are not topping up the bucket, over time it will eventually drain out. Your knowledge and experience is like the water: if it’s not renewed, your relevancy to clients will diminish over time.