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Will the new learning department make or break the digital enterprise?

learningpost
I’m pretty sure, I bore you by telling you that these days, it’s all about new education approaches and that life long learning is not an option but essential.
So let me offer you a different view, a bit more macro and connecting some dots.
You all know the established player in the field of online learning and it doesn’t need much to find out that the offering is huge and the quality varies from excellent to a waste of time. Therefore you end up in a very common threat in the age of information. You get plenty of stuff on different platforms and need to spent quite a portion of your free learning time with research and figuring out where to put your time best.
The offer of micro trainings, and other very specialized offers is great but doesn’t make it more easy.
At the same time freelancer are on the rise. There are several studies elaborating on the topic that we will see more independent work in future. If working on your own becomes more attractive than working for an enterprise the challenge to acquire the right talents becomes even more difficult.
From my perspective here lies the opportunity for enterprises with a strong learning culture and an excellent education offer.
Enterprises have a chance to offer an environment, that supports learning in an optimized environment with specialized content and highly efficient methods.
The youth today is used to change, but they are also used to live in an age of information overload. So setting the right focus and filter the noise that distracts you or slows down your progress is key. These generations also understand that learning like in the 70s, or 80s is not efficient in todays environment. As our school system is still waiting for a major rework to enter the 21th century Gen Y and Gen Z understood already that learning can be fun, entertaining and highly flexible (if not at school) by increasing efficiency at the same time.
As there are plenty of offers to learn something new, being flexible in sense of timing and location is common sense.
You see an increase in podcast popularity in the most recent years. Podcast offer a chance to learn something new on your commute without the need to focus on a screen. So you can easily embed it in your live with the need to allocate additional time for it.
The pace of change we see in a digital world put individuals but even more organizations under pressure. To stay relevant in an ever changing market you need to adapt and act fast. As this already challenges organizations to the max, their employees have to deal with it from two different angles. They have to operate based on the given strategy and ensure your organizations growths and at the same time they need to be able to learn new stuff to catch up with future needs and related skills.
So organizations have the task to offer proper education sources but also support their employees in getting clarity on what the proper skill are they need to apply. The education department sees itself confronted with a quite complex situation, they need to offer trainings for different levels of knowledge via different channels and formats. In addition they have to deal with different generations, different expectations regarding training offerings and a completely different mindset on live long learning as such. As the Gen Y is totally used to leverage online offerings that they flexible integrate into their days, Babyboomers still prefer to have onsite trainings in a fixed timeframe. Some understand, that there’s a clear need to learn and prepare for future tasks, while others still struggle with adjusting to new realities.
There are quite a few aspects making this topic fairly complex. New tech offers new possibilities to interact virtually and flexible, besides the different channels to engage in. The new realities digital enterprises face, affect almost all skills and needs their employees have today.
So what do you think, can the education system of an enterprise become a key differentiator and value driver in future?
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Digital: Tech Centricity hides Human Focus

tech_human_centricity

The rise of digital tech in any business environment hides the chances offered to increase our human focus. These days a lot of people are discussing about digital tech in one or the other way. When I listen to it, it seems that most often we talk about digital taking a tech perspective. We talk about new, often sensational, tech accomplishments reaching from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Virtual Reality (VR). These new capabilities of machines and software are fostering a tech discussion. It’s all about how to use it and make money with it. Increase your business value or even better create additional – not been possible before – business value to grow your entire market cap.

Tech dominates the game these days and I absolutely understand that none tech savvy people, are bored or even afraid of what lays ahead of us.

These tech devs are getting real and evolving rapidly, no doubt about it. It will massively impact and change the world we live in. I’m also convinced, that it brings a lot of value to all of us. New tech will improve our lives. It will change, how we see the world we live in. I’m in general an optimist, believing that new tech will help us to fight some of the biggest challenges we face today; starting with diseases, via clean energy supply around the world, to healthy and sustainable food supply. That doesn’t mean, I ignore the dark facets of these developments. I’m just focusing more on the need and the potential, I see these days, to impact our live positively and that really excites me.

There are so many tech discussions going on about how it will increase business value, create new businesses or even rising new industries.

Anyhow, there’s one thing I struggle with – one thing I miss in all these discussions, today.
What chances do we see in the non-tech space brought up by all these new software and hardware capabilities. We see retail stores without a cashier, as the checkout is completely automated. Or self driving cars, not just replacing your own car, but even more making the „Taxi“ industry, as we know it, obsolete.
You can look at it from two angles. One is the financial business aspect of saving us money and making processes more effective – so business loves it. An other are the cashier or taxi driver loosing their job.
I think we miss one important point here. There’s also opportunity for non tech aspects fostered by tech. Customer oriented business for example can use their freed up resources to improve or radically rethink their customer service and experience.
We’re all human and in the age of digital and always online, while looking for social connections. Meanwhile we’re checking feedback from communities on products we want to buy before we take a decision. Just a few days ago I read an interesting article from Brian Solis on WTF: What’s the Future of Brand in Age of Assistance

He writes about Allan Thygesen (President, Americas at Google) and mentions a finding, „…mobile searches shower curtains are up 200% in the past few years“. People today are checking for community feedback whenever they can before taking decision. It’s easy, fast and they see it as more trustful than a product description. There are more social media interactions and relationships than ever before. Just check Google Trends to get some insights.

Now rethink the real possibilities new tech offers. By making the best use of it, you free up resources time and money, to go all in with customer experience or shall I say human experience. In the end more tech leads us to a more people focused business.
So the only question is, how to make use of it? Invest in technology and thrive for a more people focussed business.
Are you in?

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

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UX can make the deal but CX makes a living

UX-serves-CX
When the area of business software rose we have first seen a competition based on functions & features.
That evolved a few years later to a quality and performance battle. At the same time a proper process coverage by corresponding functions became commodity.
In the most recent years the greater business software differentiator was design and even more the holistic user experience.
The new workforce is not accepting boring UIs or complicated badly supported or intransparent software processes.
Why should I accept something in business what I wouldn’t use for private? So my private app and digital experience is shaping my expectations towards user experience in general.
Current user experience is already driving my purchase decision. So you better get it right.
What sounds easy to solve, is often a very intensive process in business.
But the even more interesting question is what’s next?
Watch out for what you see in your private environment. Are you still going to a restaurant, when you call for a table reservation and the service stuff is not being that nice, as they are in hurry or just having a bad day?
Are you going to buy tech in an offline store, if the store layout is complex and skilled staff is hard to find between the shelf?
That definitely influences my current purchase decision. What does that mean?
The next evolutional step is putting the customer experience in focus as new tech drives user experience more and more into the field of commodity. A strong UX is clearly impacting the software industry but not sufficient to serve as a key differentiator for an enterprise.
We’re heading exciting times not just because of tech inventions but also experiencing great customer service and a holistic, sustainable customer interaction.
You need to understand CX as an holistic model that will touch every aspect of your organization.
Are you aware of your customer experience journey?
Where does CX start for a software enterprise?
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What’s next to dematerialize?

dematerialize
We’re heading a future that brings more change in almost every aspect of our life, faster than ever before. Technology dematerializes more than we can imagine in the upcoming years.  This change is massive and often disruptive.
Dealing every day with innovative business topics, I hear people talking about digital transformation. Sometimes I stumble on my own thoughts.
Is it just a hype?
Is it just another bullshit bingo?
I get the impression that everyone who wants to be recognized as innovative, have to use words like digital disruption, digital transformation or Internet of Things. By checking the content, you often enough find nothing new, nothing sensational, nothing unexpected.
But don’t get it wrong, just because more and more people are talking about a topic to surf an innovation wave with „not new“ content, doesn’t mean there isn’t a wave. I see quite a few people and organizations who are connecting the dots and figuring out what’s ahead of us. Looking even closer you’ll see clear prove points that the world is changing massively. You could argue, it all the time did and you are right. But this time, the pace is astonishing.
Just think about the way we communicate today, compared to 15 years ago. You already see autonomous cars driving on real roads. Google alone drove one million miles between October 2016 and May 2017. The best selling article on the most recent amazon prime day was the amazon echo. The International Energy Agency says the electric vehicle market grow by 60% in 2016. Instagram doubled his monthly actives to 700million in just two years. Check this article (https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/26/instagram-700-million-users/) to get more details, on their growth curve.
Did you recognize that technology is dematerializing everything?
Let’s take a clock as example. It started with a sundial (3000 bc), followed by a water clock (1500 bc) and fire clocks or sand glasses to measure a certain timeframe. The greek invented the first clock using water and gear wheels around 300 bc. The first mechanical clocks have been invented in Europe around 1300. In the 17th century the first pocket watch came up. It took another 400 years to develop the first crystal clock followed by the atomic clock. The development of the crystal watch and establishing one at every train station was the end of regional local time.
In the following new technology enabled the creation of a watch so small that it can be worn on a wrist. Further technology improvements enabled a mass market manufactoring. In 1970 the first digital clocks for households became available. The „coordinated universal time“ was first introduced by 1972.
At the beginning of the 21st century, you probably got more and more rid of your wrist watch and replaced it by your mobile. The clock was finally dematerialized by software available for mass markets, highly adopted and free of charge.
In the last few years you see the rise of smart watches, but seriously spoken the intent to buy a smart watch is pretty seldom driven by the need to own a nice looking watch giving you the time.
It’s more a fully fledged computer on your wrist, what leads to another ongoing dematerialization. Currently you see more and more compute power becoming available in the cloud, so the dematerialization of PCs and servers, is on it’s way.
Other examples for dematerialization are music CDs today being replaced by online streaming services, or USB sticks being replaced by cloud based storage.
Do you have more examples of dematerialization? What is next to become dematerialized?
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Prepare for Enterprise

enterprise
In my daily business I get the chance to interact with quite a few interns. Over the course of the last years we took the chance to hire quiet a few of them, right after they finished their study.
But what does it take to start in tech company, right out of the university?
How can you prepare for the challenges thrown at you?
How can you ensure to have the right skills, before you enter the business?
I would love to say, just find the right subject to study and a good university, get good marks and they take care of the rest.
I don’t want to disappoint you, but it’s not that easy. Actually I have to admit, that your university probably teaches you how to code and some business economics.
Do you think that’s all it takes to be successful in the workforce?
Are you watching the trends, how work and the workforce is changing?
Have you noticed that there are a few people out there, that predict the end of working for a corporate as we know it?
Will we really see a major shift to more freelancing?
Ask yourself, what is it that you expect and value most from your work?
If you are a millennial or Gen Z the chance is high you strive for flexibility. You want to shape where you work. You are looking for rewarding experiences.
So the big question is, how to prepare for what you thrive for?
In a fast paced world, it’s no more an issue of getting information, the trick is to filter the most relevant information efficiently.
Do you have a system in place to structure and filter information or create and extend your network?
Are you able to boil all your tasks and thoughts down to the essential 10-20% that really make an impact.
Do you have a vision and clear goals (written down)?
You value feedback, but are you prepared to ask for feedback and deal with it, do you reflect, systematically?
Do you know what it takes to ban distraction and sharpen your focus?
In case you’re still in your study, there’s not so much need to do all these things – the most relevant task is always to learn as much as needed to get the next exam and spend the spear time doing sports or party.
As there’s a high chance, that it’s also not on your official learning schedule, I want you to be aware of these.
Start investigating in these skills. Watch videos, take e-courses or read books to increase your skills and efficiency.
Start thinking ahead, you will see and maybe cause a lot of change in the world over the course of the coming years.
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Enter the Digital Workforce

digital_workforce
Now, everything is changing, with a pace that’s never been seen before and it’s still increasing.
Technology is changing in many different ways, providing new possibilities all over the place with a huge impact on your private life and businesses. By having a closer look, you see that quite often one is forcing the other.
Let’s make it simplistic, just to get an idea how that ties together.
Think about mobile. First it was quite expensive, heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Just companies could afford it and used it to improve the  connectivity of people steering the company. They wanted to increase their speed in decision taking.
Over time it got more and more adapted as everyone wanted to be quick, always connected and in control to stay ahead of their race.
At the same time technology improves and mobiles became smaller, cheaper and by that, more attractive for the masses.
That lead to the need of an improved connectivity as the provider started hunting for consumers and mobile contracts. They wanted to participate on the benefit of the technological improvement to improve their reach and revenue streams.
More and more companies provided mobiles to their employees to increase the speed of collaboration and decision taking even further. At the same time intended or not they are improving the reach to their employees, as they carry the mobile to their home as well – becoming reachable off-hours and on weekends.
That’s when it started to get common to have a mobile, not just for work but also for private convenience.
We all know what followed – Nokia dominated the market, bringing sustainable innovation to their mobiles – Apple disrupted the market with the iPhone and the App Store – and now we watch out for what’s next.
Meanwhile mobile innovations are getting into business focus again, as there are new capabilities (GPS, online access to enterprise data, navigation, …) to improve their processes.
How to make sure you are ready and well prepared for your digital adventure?
First of all you need to understand that things are changing and develop some curiosity to explore why it’s changing and furthermore, why now.
So watch and listen intentionally, be open minded and always reflect your thinking to be able to adapt.
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