Businesses set themselves a deadline for transformation

New research from Cisco highlights that 80% of business leaders in the UK have set themselves a deadline of 2020 to make dramatic changes to their organisations; from the jobs their employees do and the technology they use, to changing processes to boost productivity.

Based on a survey of more than 1,000 UK business leaders, the findings showcase that whilst navigating a landscape of unprecedented change, leaders are more aware than ever of the broader impact of their actions; placing focus on the skills of the people they employ, their use of technology to enable automation and having greater social purpose.

•Leaders, consumers and employees care about social impact. 69% of business leaders view a balance between social purpose and profit as important, compounded by expectations of consumers (70%) and employees (60%) for organisations to have a focus on their broader social impact, with 56% ultimately more likely to buy from businesses who do.

•Technology both necessitates and enables business change. Recognised as an opportunity for reinvention as well as a catalyst for skills development, almost three quarters (71%) of business leaders believe they must make changes to their business because of new technologies. 78% think technologies that power automation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have a key role to play in guiding what they do next. Crucially, four-fifths view these new technologies as factoring into business-critical decisions in the future.

•People and their skills will define the competitiveness of UK business. As business in the UK is increasingly shaped by technology, leaders believe that more than half (55%) of job roles will change, with two thirds prioritising upskilling employees with digital skills and 74% actively trying to increase access to new skills.

“We are in an era of extraordinary change which is both catalysed and enabled by technology.” Commented Scot Gardner, Chief Executive, Cisco UK and Ireland “However, the opportunity presented by new technology cannot be realised in a vacuum. As the research highlights, business leaders in the UK see the need to focus on people, purpose and partnerships to have a positive impact on both the business environment and wider society – we now have to ensure we act upon it.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine