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WHAT WILL 2021 BRING?

Updated: Feb 23

Key areas to ensure the best possible results in terms of implementing new technology

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted businesses and global economies in unprecedented ways forcing them to consider a very different future, not only due to the pandemic, but also because of the technological advances around them.

In this two-part whitepaper, NWT discusses how many of the pre COVID-19 operating models have changed or are no longer valid, and the deviations, both in terms of strategy and technology, which can be implemented to meet the challenges in the months ahead.


At NWT we are passionate about technology and how it can be used to improve business outcomes and people’s lives in general. In previous years, we provided a perspective on the major trends we believed were going to shape the next year and beyond. However, as 2020 has demonstrated, the business requirement for technology is often dictated by outside events. Therefore, this year we are going to discuss the technology trends that will enable your business or be a disrupter to it.

The promise of digital technologies is immense, but businesses looking to adopt new technologies often face a wide range of organisational challenges. Despite the new urgency, many businesses are simply finding it too difficult to implement the changes required.

Companies, and their designated technology leaders, not only have to choose the right technologies and providers, but also the right partners to help them make the right decisions on offerings, architectures and methods of migration. Not every company has the necessary expertise on hand to make these choices or guide the decision making process.

So, before talking about the actual Technology Trends we expect to see in 2021, we need to consider three key areas to ensure the best possible results in terms of implementing new technology.


Vision


In days gone by, organisations would consider setting out their enterprise architecture, which would lead to clear direction in terms of IT strategy.


The vision should follow the principles of a good strategy and this includes where you are heading and why, and what you will need for it to be successful (such as expertise, funding and time). The importance of this step is often missed as the ‘race is on` to implement change. However, an understanding of the organisations starting point including strengths, weaknesses and desired end state will help you to identify the areas of focus, the stakeholders and the resources and investment required to be successful.

2021 should be a year when setting out the vision is a mandatory activity as it will help to improve your ways of working and help your organisation and people (whether current staff or new recruits) feel as though they are personally and emotionally attached. It will also help you to establish that the technology is right for your company and the business context for how you want to use it.


Operating Model


For many companies, the recent health crisis, and other disruptive events, for example, Brexit, have led to questions being asked about the way that the company operates. The ‘working from home` issue for employees, the stability of the supply chain and the rapidly changing requirements of customers, are just some of the areas that have led companies to question their operating model.


If you have not already done so, 2021 is the time to revisit agile practices and determine how you can benefit from working more effectively. Agile is not a process but a change in culture, and the journey to a revised operating model starts by experimenting with new behaviours and operating in a different way to get a different outcome. An agile approach brings together all the relevant areas such as IT, operations, security finance and of course, the business owners. With a well-articulated vision and an agile approach, you will be making significant steps to drive greater value in both digital transformation and the way that it will support your changing business priorities.


Recruitment and Re-skilling


One of the obvious consequences of adopting new technology is that you need access to new skills and expertise. The initial challenge may be that you are not well versed with the technology and the choices of supplier and associated services. After choosing a supplier and offering, you must also determine how to find the necessary skills to help you implement and operate the technology.


So, you either need to organise and re-skill some of your existing workforce or you need to recruit in a timely fashion. Few current employees, particularly in areas such as Public Sector, will be conversant in all new technologies. Therefore, an organisation may need to consider taking a different approach to talent management to be successful.


If you are going to reskill some of your workforce then training takes time and investment. You will need to plan your resource and skills requirements in advance, so you can align your resource and talent management strategy with the technical road map. The strategy is more likely to be a mix of reskilling internal people, hiring new employees, and possibly augmenting the workforce with contractors who, over time, could train and upskill internal employees. This is easier if this group of people understand the overall vision and have a flexible and agile model in which to deliver the new services.


So, when you review the second part of this article, you do need to consider some of the aspects above to make sure that you are not sowing seed on rocky ground.

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