After recent attendance to the Microsoft Future Decoded Conference, hosted by the Excel Arena in London, I was able to learn more about Digital Transformations. Digital Transformation is the term given to technology advances that are impacting the way people work, access data and provide services. We are all aware that technology is one of the fastest moving industries, and trying to keep up to date with this can sometimes be a struggle. To put this into perspective, Microsoft were able to provide some statistics that I thought would be interesting to share and discuss. Note that the statistics captured within this blog were from various keynote presentations and breakout sessions within the conference.
“Employees work in approximately double the number of different teams as they would have in the past”
Think of your current workload, has it increased? I would imagine the answer for most employees is “yes”. I feel the reason for this is that technology has advanced to a stage that enables employees to access data from any location, collaborate with one another & overall become more efficient at what they do. This rise in efficiency paves the way for additional projects to be taken on & easier resource allocation. This increase in workload is a focus of Microsoft as they continuously improve Office 365 to become a go-to solution for an employee no matter which stage they are within the project, or which deliverables they are responsible for.
”41% of employees state that mobile business apps influence the way that they work”
The majority of businesses require travel, and not just within the UK. This is recognised by Wi-Fi & mobile providers, with an aim to ensure that users always have the ability to get online.
I am currently writing this blog on the train. I am connected to the train’s wi-fi service to allow research online, I am writing this blog within the MS Word application available with my Office 365 subscription & I am reviewing my Future Decoded notes from the MS OneNote application – again through that same subscription to Office 365. Being able to work on the move ensures that there is no loss of working hours. This also ensures that organisations become more inclusive.
As an example, we recently delivered an Intranet for an engineering firm. In total the firm has approximately 400 users, with only 80 – 100 of these based in the office headquarters. The remaining 300 were always on the road & needed to feel that they were still part of the organisation – with easy access to simple tasks, such as, requesting holiday, uploading expenses or just seeing the general news that they miss from being outside of the office. We achieve this through responsive design of the AMT Hub Intranet Solution & this is improved further by the available applications provided by Microsoft (and also some third parties for specialisms).
“Information overload wastes 25% of employee time and costs US businesses 997 billion US Dollars each year.”
Information overload normally occurs once an organisation feels that they are providing a good level of data to their employees. I have visited organisations that keep all data within departmental silos – leading to multiple sets of what employees called “Master Data” – which is false, as master data cannot be stored in Microsoft Excel documents on individual users’ local machines. To fix this issue, organisations decide to make a single set of data available to everyone – this is a good approach. Information overload then comes about when the organisation decides to email out the data to all users – unwittingly drawing attention of users who may not need to see that data for their work. In the past I had read that a 2 to 5 minute scan of an email that lands in your inbox can actually take 15 minutes of your time, as you need to re collect your thoughts and remember the place where you had left off working. For organisations these minutes could be the difference between delivering all requirements of a project on time & remaining within budget. This can be resolved through the use of Microsoft Power BI. Managing your data in a single Business Intelligence solution enables your workforce to dynamically produce their reports as and when needed. It is common to provide access to these reports via a SharePoint intranet, therefore giving users the choice to view data as opposed to pushing it out to them.
“1 million devices per hour will be connected to the internet by the year 2020”
Microsoft assured us that this was not a typo on the slide presented! They truly believe that this is the number of devices that will be connected each hour. This is more believable when you think about the advancement of the Internet of Things (IOT). We are not just talking smart phones and tablets, but we are also including transport, light bulbs, security systems and so on.
Imagine the amount of data that could be captured per organisation in 2020. Microsoft believe that digital transformation will be able to allow organisations to provide an even better customer service. Lets take your car as an example. Nowadays we can install a black box into the vehicle to help lower insurance premiums and feedback on your driving ability – with IOT this can provide data to many organisations and allow for services to be improved. Your insurance company can change your premium on monthly basis dependent on your driving ability & hours of driving. Your breakdown cover provider can actually pre-empt the requirement of a service or the need for fixes. Imagine if the AA or RAC were to call you on the Monday and state that your car will likely breakdown within the next 100 miles of driving – based on their data they can see that would likely be Thursday afternoon, on the way back from work in rush hour traffic. As service providers, these companies will be able to reduce the need for roadside recovery as they can provide assistance in the safety of your own home. Another example of where this is used in transport is by Rolls Royce. They displayed a jet engine within the expo – for the purposes that it is connected as part of IOT. This allows for Rolls Royce to charge based on hours of flight versus a lump sum – think of it as a subscription based service for your jet engine. Rolls Royce will also handle the maintenance of the engine, as once again they will be able to identify the majority of issues before they occur.
“60% of computing will be in the public cloud by 2025”
I have chose not to discuss this final point in too much detail. I think it is best left as a thought provoking statement. The number does not actually seem as large as I would expect – so what does that mean? Should we be doing more to embrace the cloud? Or do we need to adapt our organisations before 2025? Leave your thoughts and comments below…