Using technology to improve the culture of your business

By Justin Anderson

Having a strong company culture is vital in today’s business world. Culture permeates all aspects of business, irrespective of the size, and getting this right can grow an atmosphere of efficiency, and ensure improved performance. Creating an ethos which makes a workforce more productive and improves the worker experience will result in a superior customer experience. Get this ethos wrong however, and businesses will be faced with an underperforming workforce, consequently leading to weaker relations with customers, which will impact growth.

There are many ways in which senior management can influence company culture; from the top down ethos set out by the CEO, through to the benefits and perks established by HR. This can be anything from flexible working conditions and open-plan offices, to company away-days and reward schemes.

Traditionally, company culture has not been associated with technology. However, driven by the consumerisation of IT and the rise of millennial workers in enterprise organisations, the quality, performance, and user experience of corporate IT now matters in a significant way. It is important for businesses to see the correlation between the technology they give their employees and the customer experience they can then provide. We are starting to see the most innovative CEOs drive this agenda as keeping up with developments in technology is starting to be seen as the number one aspect of business growth.

Embrace innovation
The choice of communication software and IT operating system defines how organisations want people to interact and collaborate. If a system is outdated or old fashioned, it is likely that employee output will reflect this. In 2016, it is the time for businesses to throw in the towel on old working styles and habits that are no longer relevant, and try new things: embrace the new and the innovative. Collaborative technologies such as cloud-based video conferencing and online document sharing enable employees to work together in a more collective manner, and have better communication with their customers and clients. This has been validated by recent research from Forrester which has found that the use of Google Docs has led to improved collaboration and time savings which range from 15 minutes to two hours per week, depending on the employee.

New trends, new opportunities
A major business trend over the past few years has been the rise in flexible and remote working. In business, flexible working is often implemented to improve employee engagement and to promote a healthier work-life balance. Unsurprisingly, businesses that promote these initiatives are appealing to staff and consumers in the digital age. This is demonstrated in our recent Future of Work report, which shows that the top three criteria IT staff look at when evaluating new job opportunities are a well-resourced IT department, up-to-date technology, and flexibility.

For remote working to be successful, organisations must think about technology in new ways and implement BYOD (bring your own device) and practices. Workers, given the opportunity to use their own device in the workplace, feel more confident when engaging with consumers and can provide a more tailored approach. Depending on the customer or client, they can use an appropriate piece of tech to support them.

It’s time to cloud
Implementing a cloud-based solution such as Google Docs can greatly improve the productivity in a business and offer employees easier access to data. Keeping up with technological developments and enabling improved productivity will improve engagement and set a business apart from the competition. By providing staff with the right consumer grade technology, businesses can promote a much simpler and more effective working experience.

These simple changes in business processes help organisations to streamline activity which will impact their bottom-line, while making work simpler for employees. New cloud technology can often help employees and managers to process over 90 percent of HR transactions on their own and in their own time using apps on the go, without the need to involve the HR department. Companies can also use cloud-based technology to share documents across locations and identify business trends which can grow the business.

Corporate IT can become a positive metaphor for the business at large. It can be a statement of intent about where the company wants to be in the future and its strategic direction. Through embracing the right technology, businesses can improve the worker experience which subsequently has a positive impact on customer service.

Justin Anderson is GM & VP Sales, EMEA at Appirio

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