Why new-work concepts are becoming a key factor in staying competitive

Never have the changes in the working world been as full of opportunities but also as challenging as they are today. Even smaller companies have to keep step with this development in order to stay competitive when it comes to productivity and finding skilled workers.

Today’s motivated employees expect their employers to provide both smart devices and a convenient office environment they can access from anywhere. Enterprise social networks are also in demand for discussions with colleagues and project partners. The command and control principle of the analogue business era, in contrast, is seen as no longer modern. Forward-thinking executives are setting out a framework for collegial self-organisation and accelerating agile networks that work across departments – or even beyond company boundaries if necessary.

Open innovation speeds up product development

Innovative working methods do of course also require new technologies and tools like UCC (unified communication & collaboration). Modern UCC solutions include everything that is required for working, communication and networking independent of location or devices – from video conferencing through project management to organising a business unit. Collaborations achieve a new level of quality with intelligently networked applications, clearing the way for open innovation. The aim is to develop new products with customers, partners or other interest parties acquired via social networks, for example. Workshops for selected customers and online platforms where product improvements can be discussed could also deliver valuable insights. This makes open innovation a key component of an open economy based on tried and tested start-up scenarios.

The development and implementation of a company-wide new-work strategy requires a high degree of IT expertise. The technical infrastructure must include back end, management and mobile devices as well as the digital platform, plus the relevant applications. In SMEs, integrating smartphones or tablets often gives rise to some reservations, as many processes and structures have to become more flexible in order to provide the desired mobility. It is therefore all the more important to ensure optimum adaptation to each platform model. Solutions where significant parts of the back end, management and platform level can be used via the cloud are recommended for smaller companies. This not only reduces costs but also helps to prevent bad investments.

More and more SMEs are recognising the potential of networked jobs

According to a 2018 Crisp Research* study, the digital office backlog demand is huge for SMEs. Just eight per cent already offer their employees digitally enhanced jobs. Another 59 per cent want to follow suit within two years. Issues of productivity, scalability, cost efficiency and user-friendliness are front and centre when selecting technologies. Most decision-makers also value compliance with high privacy and security standards.

GFT has many years of expertise in all these areas. The Stuttgart-based digitalisation partner has already successfully implemented numerous platform solutions for a wide variety of customers. The issue of new work is a great entry point for SMEs with an industrial background who want to see the digital transformation as an opportunity and make their processes fit for the future.

*Around 400 managers from companies in various industries and of various sizes were surveyed for the study ‘Digitale Arbeitsplatzgestaltung – Hub für vernetztes Arbeiten’ (‘Digital job design – a hub for networked working’) by Crisp Research. A summary is available here.

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