Innovation and changeDigital TransformationNo clear leaders driving technology change, survey reveals

No clear leaders driving technology change, survey reveals

Report shows appetite for disruptive technology, but lack of clear leadership is holding back adoption across the workforce.

Nearly one in four (23%) public sector workers believe a robot would be better at decision making than their boss if it had access to the right business intelligence. This contrasts with one in three (34%) of professionals from all industries, according to the new Advanced Trends Survey Report 2018, which also reveals that there are no clear leaders driving technology change within organisations.

Just 34% of C-Suite/Managing Directors are said to be driving change while nearly half (48%) believe responsibility falls to IT and 22% say it’s the job of the finance team. It perhaps comes as no surprise, then, that 58% of employees think less than half of people in their organisation are ready to adopt new technology to change the way they work.

“Disruptive technology is bringing into question every process that is currently required to run public sector organisations,” said Mark Dewell, Managing Director – Public, Private and Third Sector at Advanced. “While robots are unlikely to take on the job of decision maker in the immediate future – the reality is that they are simply not suited to such complex tasks and will work side-by-side with humans – our findings suggest that employees are dissatisfied with their current leadership, want to get rid of arbitrary decision making and want to challenge the norms. Leaders need to step up, to provide the clear direction that people need and take charge of the intense technology change happening as a result of the digital era.”

More than half (52%) say they would be happy to work alongside robotic technology if it meant less manual processes – most likely because automation acts as a workforce multiplier, increasing output while reducing time wasted on repetitive and low-skilled activities. The majority (73%) have already adopted technology to automate tasks and processes, albeit many of these are likely using simple commands to handle defined actions.

Appetite for tech

What’s certain is that there is an appetite among employees for innovative technology, with the right leadership, to play a greater part in augmenting their roles. The report reveals that 37% want to see Cloud services in their daily working lives followed by predictive analytics (35%) and Business Intelligence (BI) (34%), while 27% want to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) – on a par with the Internet of Things (IoT). 15% want to see Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

The fact that many public sector professionals want to see disruptive technologies in their daily working life is encouraging. This will drive productivity, helping workers – and their bosses – win back critical thinking time. For example, 43% said if they got back an extra 60 minutes a day, they would spend it on planning and forecasting. But, as the research highlights, there must be an openness to embrace change from every individual in the workforce if any technology innovation is to succeed in delivering the anticipated business benefits.

Dewell added: “Bosses therefore need to decide who in the organisation is best placed to drive a change in culture and support all employees in any technology transition. This means helping staff understand how innovative technology will enable them to focus on higher value roles – be it through reskilling and training – and how it will positively impact their productivity.

“Ultimately, technology changes the make-up of the workforce, which is why creating an open and collaborative culture is so critical. New candidates in entry-level roles working on the ground  are likely to be more digitally savvy so would make great ambassadors to drive change and ensure innovation happens. As a result, public sector organisations will see more people feel open to embracing the change and placing confidence in their leadership.”

The Advanced Trends Survey was carried out online in September 2018. The highlights of the report can be found at www.oneadvanced.com/trends.

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