From reinforced floors to operating in the cloud – the triangle of business change
The look and feel of the British workplace is barely recognisable today as compared to 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30. We take for granted the efficiencies technological advances have brought and it’s hard to believe now that when the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ Peter Sutcliffe was finally arrested in 1981, prior to the widespread use of desktop computers; information on suspects was stored on handwritten index cards. Such was the weight of the accumulated mass of paperwork that West Yorkshire Police had to physically reinforce the incident room floor to cope; not to mention the problems they encountered in storing and accessing anything useful, making cross-referencing almost impossible and inefficiencies rife.
Fast forward and we would all assume this just couldn’t happen now. Business processes have been shaping up for many years with cloud computing, enterprise mobility and outsourcing arguably three of the main contributors in what could be seen as a modern triangle of efficiency and results.
Evolving technological devices, cloud solutions, social media, social collaboration, big data and analytics are all streamlining and quickening processes; playing increasingly significant roles in delivering business value.
Tied to this is the flexibility they give in terms of the physical structure of businesses, large and small. In many cases the location of the workforce is becoming less and less relevant with employees having the ability to work via a range of devices from any location at times to suit them. While flexible working isn’t for everyone and simply wouldn’t work in some environments; for many employers, one of the most sought-after benefits is the opportunity it creates to reduce office costs by saving on space requirements. With office space rental costs and development land at a premium in many locations, this is an important consideration. Home-working is more popular than ever, now accounting for over four million jobs out of a workforce of 30 million.
Outsourcing operational processes takes this flexibility a step further with more and more businesses recognising the benefits of engaging with providers across a range of functions to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve service. It’s important for businesses to recognise that they can’t always do everything themselves. As a professional telephone answering service we set out initially in 2000 to support the needs of small and growing businesses struggling to stay on top of their calls. Times have changed, and while we still support thousands of small businesses as well as larger ones who need support with overflow calls; large companies and corporations seeking a fully outsourced switchboard solution account for one of our biggest areas of business growth.
Some of the best businesses in the world were built long before the digital age we all live and breathe today, but to survive and succeed we need to evolve, embrace, create and change. Just as now it’s almost impossible to imagine the typewriter office with no computers and a single landline telephone, fast forward another 30 years and no doubt the 2014 workplace will be barely recognisable either!