4 ways employees will work differently in 2014

If there’s one thing that digital disruption does well, it’s creating change. But beyond the grand, sweeping changes a disruptive startup can ignite, there are also the smaller, less noticeable little things that change in a tech employee’s work life when new technology rolls out.

Last month, Accenture, a technology management and consulting firm, released a report detailing six new trends that will emerge out of the digital space.

While its report focused on how enterprise organizations are innovating just as much as startups, many of the trends they’ve mentioned will change the way tech employees do their jobs. We’ve rounded up four trends that will affect the way employees work in 2014:

Trend 1 – The blur of the digital and physical worlds
As more of our devices are becoming smart and are coming online, this trend sounds a lot like another name for the “Internet of Things.” However, this is different, according to Accenture – as people carry devices around, consumers become savvier and better-informed, and employees are able to react faster to any problems that crop up.

One of the reasons for this is a greater demand for bandwidth. Broadband should speed up, especially as the demand for it grows with more global Internet Protocol traffic.

Plus, with advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, we should see more robots in agriculture and oil fields, not just in factories or manufacturing.

But the big trend to note is the push to analyze data. With more and more sources of data becoming available to us, business employees should be able to do their jobs more effectively and make better decisions, Accenture notes.

Still, that doesn’t mean organizations should jump into a space rife with changes in intelligent automation.
Businesses need to figure out whether intelligent automation will create new business opportunities, if it will change their customers’ expectations, and if it will make employees more productive and more efficient at handling their resources, the report said.

Trend 2 – Crowdsourcing
With all of the collaboration tools available out there now, like video conferencing, instant messaging, and a host of other solutions, employees should expect to constantly be working with others. This isn’t limited to just their co-workers, however.

Accenture notes that as innovation becomes more and more important, individuals with more specialized skills are going to be in demand for a number of projects. Even if that doesn’t translate to full-time employment with one company for these individuals, collaboration and crowdsourcing will get people working together to find efficient solutions.

Some notable crowdsourcing platforms include Crowdflower, Spigit, and Amazon Mechanical Turk – and big companies like Facebook are making use of them. That could set the tone for how the rest of us view the trend.

Trend 3 – More and more apps for business
Traditionally, businesses have built software, updating, customizing, and patching as necessary. However, a newer model of business will involve creating apps that are simpler and easier to customize, Accenture says.

One of the reasons for this is that IT is changing so rapidly. With the pressure to deploy new technology quickly, organizations’ IT departments need to come up with faster ways to bring new applications into the workplace.

Plus, a lot of application platform providers, or platform-as-a-service providers, are now becoming mature and are giving companies data service platforms that already include services and app families. For example, Salesforce’s App Exchange comes with about 2,000 different integrated apps.

And as employees begin to work outside of the office, or to bring their own devices into the workplace, they want IT to give them mobile apps that are both simple and productive. The kind of apps they’re looking for? “Low-cost, accessible, and often intelligent apps they use everyday on their own mobile devices,” Accenture’s report notes.

Trend 4- IT systems need to be “built to survive failure”
While IT is evolving very quickly, that carries a certain element of risk – a company trying to embrace digital innovation will inevitably open itself up to more opportunities for IT failure. And as business processes become more interlinked, and IT systems become more complex, a data breach or other cyber security failure becomes more and more possible.

Businesses also need to watch out for cyber criminals, especially as many of today’s attacks are sophisticated or have involved a lot of planning, Accenture notes.

Finally, there’s a psychological aspect to all this – many of today’s employees just expect their IT systems to work – in all weather, they expect that things will always run.

For the full report, head on over to Accenture’s site.

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Candice So
Candice Sohttp://www.itbusiness.ca
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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