“We are not in an era of change, but in a change of era characterized by the digitization of nearly everything around us.”— Emeritus Martinez
The term “digital transformation” is becoming outdated. The “digital era” must be part of the culture of both organizations and individuals. And, what I mean by digital is the integration of available technology, applied with agility and innovation, to develop new value proposals and talent pools.
Digital transformation, collaborative technologies, change management, cloud, online, artificial intelligence, blockchain, etc., are words that are in common usage and that also generate some anxiety in us. Given a global environment characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, people may reject what they represent.
We must be doing something wrong, when a necessary process in our evolution such as digital transformation cannot be seen as positive and is cause for anxiety for a large portion of the population while creating a wider digital divide due to the exponential nature of technological advances. We may have forgotten that technology is a science, but that using it is an art.
Why then use technology?
Firstly, because most people already have access to it (although many do not use it, either because they do not have enough time or because they lack training or knowledge). Secondly, because it has become increasingly affordable. And thirdly, because digital economy, as Bill McDermott points out, “is going to be a literally exponential market in terms of size” that we have to take advantage of. Technology is a clear multiplier that improves productivity, facilitates workplace relationships, and is a key element for talent development.
Relying on technology is, therefore, an unquestionable necessity in this day and age, as it facilitates our development, allows us to learn new digital skills to succeed in the market, and enhances our quality of life. A clear example of what we are discussing are XaaS models (cloud service models) which endow organizations with agility and allow people to work from anywhere. This is a device with a multitude of tools, favoring telework, re-skilling and high productivity.
Why does technology help improve our happiness?
The 21st century professional is a collaborator who brings value to the company from his or her “know-how.” This professional has clear objectives and works with habits that allow him or her to improve and accomplish goals with passion. He or she is a committed, flexible, innovative person with the ability to pivot and great capacity for learning.
Successful 21st century organizations will be those that know how to combine the talents of different generations without exclusions. This is first time in human history that Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Centennials work together. Some authors say that six generations will soon live and work together, adding to them the silent generation (people born between 1925 and 1944) and the alpha generation (born from 2011 on). This last group is defined by the fact that they do not consider technology a tool, but a natural thing in their environment.
In this scenario, technology will lead to digitized selection, by which people will adapt to their roles by digital means, defining the skills required by the work to be developed along with the culture of the company where it will be applied. In this way we ensure that people’s purpose and companies’ vision are aligned, thus creating an adequate environment in which everyone can make the right decisions.
In addition to adapting the person to the position, saving time and resources, technology also has the potential to detect and automate the most boring, difficult, and repetitive tasks. In this way, professionals can devote themselves to what computers are not able to do: the more rewarding activities such creativity, relationship building, or entrepreneurship. We are freeing ourselves from automaton repetition to devote time to reflection, because thinking also means working.
Digitization, therefore, helps us in four very clear areas: (1) the physical—to become aware of our health and lead a healthy lifestyle; (2) the emotional—to improve mental, emotional health and stress management; (3) the financial—so that companies can help their employees manage their commitments with alternatives and options tailored to their needs; and (4) the social—to help foster and cultivate social relations.
Being aligned with the new 21st century trends—e.g., concepts such as interim management, mission management, flat organizational structures, productivity rather than presentism, collaboration and cooperation, flexible schedules, telework, collaborative work platforms, knowmads, 5G, etc.—involves allowing us to work from anywhere and from any device and employing technologies that may become contributing factors to our happiness.