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5 Work Disruptions to Watch in 2017

5 Work Disruptions to watch in 2017

It seems that every day you hear about a new innovation that is disrupting the workforce. How can you be sure your company is maximizing the benefits of digitization? How can you leverage robotic technology and enhance satisfaction of your workforce at the same time? How can you stop operating with an old hierarchical organization structure and keep ahead of the business transformations and disruptions that are changing the way we work today?

We can’t predict the future, but we can help to structure your organization so it is agile, adept and ready to make swift, thoughtful adjustments to the changes and disruptions affecting your industry.

We are keeping a watchful eye on all of the significant disruptions and innovations in the ever-changing New World of Work. Here are our top five:

1. The New World of Information Technology

We expect to see the role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) transition from being a technology and infrastructure builder to an orchestration leader. In the New World of Information Technology, the CIO must provide expertise in communication and negotiation, while staying ahead of the new technologies that require specialized skills in the workforce. The corporate technology function will continue to be impacted by such disruptors as robotics, drones, cloud computing and cognitive computing.

The pressure will be on to make a direct impact on the competitiveness and overall success of the company by staying abreast of new technology innovations, building more agile and specialized internal teams and creating a company culture where all employees become technologists. This will require businesses to make more significant investments in new technologies, outsourced services, technology education and specialized skills recruitment.

2. The New World of Procurement

We expect to see procurement leaders welcome the integration of third-party vendor and contingent worker expertise into an organization’s key talent and decision-making positions. In the New World of Procurement, a focus on diversity, innovation and efficiencies will coincide with a move toward variable labor costs and the creation of an environment where new ideas and models provided by vendors and contingent workers can flourish.

As work becomes more specialized and is assigned to agile vendors, and as the contingent workforce grows in relation to employees, procurement will, by default, assume more and more of the responsibility for the oversight of key talent.

Procurement must strategically rethink its role in managing talent for the organization versus the management of talent currently assigned to Human Resources. Procurement must stay ahead of the marketplace changes in technology as well as workforce trends. Though they already bring critical negotiation skills to the organization, procurement leaders will also need to expand skills to leverage new vendor management technologies and manage talent delivered by vendors or contingent workers. This will require businesses to make more significant investments in education, vendor management technology and collaboration with Human Resources.

3. The New World of Human Resources

We expect to see Human Resources take a more holistic view of talent. In the New World of Human Resources, an organization’s talent will include employees as well as any other providers of talent that support the organization. Ongoing talent shortages will demand this approach.

These new talent categories may include Independent contractors (1099), Temporary assignment workers (i.e., W-2s of third-party staffing agencies), third-party vendors, part-time employees/seasonal workers, alumni, interns, retirees, outsourced providers (Managed Services Programs and other vendor-provided labor) and even volunteers.

Organizations must take a hard look at the way they attract, manage and define talent. A “Total Talent Management” view, supported by new technology platforms and integrated systems, will be needed to provide a competitive advantage. Responsibilities for managing all talent types must be clearly defined between Human Resources and Procurement functions. New organization structures, not hierarchies, need to be created to focus on an integrated workforce, relationships, and interconnected functions and operations.

4. The New World of Finance and Accounting

We expect to see the growing influence of Machine Learning (ML), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Cognitive Learning (CL) redefine finance and accounting. In the New World of Finance and Accounting, new machine learning will identify patterns that allow a faster response time, removing programming and human intervention. Jobs that are rules-based, repeatable and repetitive are increasingly being automated through algorithm-based technologies. What’s more, the use of the data analysis and innovative learning capabilities of cognitive technology will transform the way a company deploys talent, time, capital and other resources.

Finance leaders must think strategically to leverage these technologies. They are extremely effective at managing compliance, identifying inconsistencies and anomalies in data and transactions, routine reconciliation of accounts and details, predictive analytics based on the interpretation of volumes of data and character recognition/learning data forms to process transactions without human intervention. With these technologies in place, the Finance and Accounting workforce can be more strategic in evaluating risk, improving controls and data accuracy, investigating irregularities and focusing on predictive analytics to support their role as strategic partners.

5. The New World of Legal

We expect to see the legal profession start to embrace technology to manage the volume of data within the organization and begin to integrate information from multiple legal sources using new technology platforms. In the New World of Legal, digitization of the large volume of documents and data will be key to realizing the benefits of technology. The introduction of predictive analytics will allow the industry to analyze trends in legal cases of select judges and predict future rulings or to further their understanding of the most common tactics used by opposing counsel to prepare defenses.

Law firms must begin the digitization process and create a logical taxonomy for storing and accessing documents and data. A growing number of legal technology startups are paving the way for a major shift in the way law firms access and sort through endless filings, rulings, citations and other legal documents.

Allyson Campos Gilbert

Allyson Campos Gilbert, CEO and founder of Adaptation, is a thought leader in business transformation strategy and organizational change. Allyson is a frequent speaker on topics such as disruptive technologies and organizational change, business transformation and global best practices.

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