From today’s perspective, one cannot imagine the emerging of the outsourcing industry without technological advancement and the internet age as of lately. These technological advancements have had a direct impact on the workforce which has gone through different stages, starting from the industrial revolution up to the digital revolution.
But the real jump start for the outsourcing industry came through Homework or Telecommuting (as it’s often called) after the dawn of the Internet Age. And since then, technological innovations have transformed the workforce from working from home to remote spaces, or what we here at Coordea call “The Extended Office” model.
Almost half of the world population will have access to the Internet in 2017 according to a study* in the Academy of Management Journal. In this half, the fastest growing group of internet users is the young people who are referred to as “digital natives”, namely, people who have had access of internet since they were born. And it is this particular group, the “digital natives”, who learn, communicate, and entertain themselves through technology, which is shaping the presence and the future of the digital workforce.
In the past, it was the individual who had to adapt to the company’s “way of doing business”, but not anymore. Since it’s easier for an individual to adapt to new technology compared to an entire company, the challenge for businesses in the future is to learn how to harness the technological leverage of their employees, and perhaps, redesign their workflow to take advantage of the competencies of a digital workforce.
Consider these statistics from www.deviceatlas.com: The overall number of mobile phone users is expected to reach 4.61 billion in 2016 and 4.77 billion in 2017. 37% of all website traffic now comes from a mobile device, versus what used to be dominated by desktop computers and browsers. 87% of people always have their smartphone at their side. Mobile commerce transactions currently amount to $1.5 trillion annually, and will reach $3.2 trillion by 2017. What all this means is that, digital literacy is improving rapidly and soon enough, almost everyone with access to a computer connected to the web, will have at least some knowledge on how to use it and go online.
The phrase “a business-first approach” is thrown around very often in studies, articles, and from experts, and nothing screams more loudly in this approach than digital venturing with all its advantages in mobile, social, analytics, cloud and sensor technologies that can be tailored to businesses’ needs and improve customers – workforce relationships.
For business in general, digital transformation takes time and effort and money. Viewing this issue through the extended office model, one can avoid the painstaking long process of digital transformation through hiring a company who can do all of these service for you from the get go. Not only can these specialized businesses provide services in a short period of time, but their system of hiring and training new employees based on the companies needs, is already well established and oiled up, which is not the case in most businesses. And this particular feature is both cost-effective and time-effective.
So, the business model is there, the digital workforce is ready, the tools and the system already tried and fully enabled, and the communication technologies and apps plenty. The Force is strong in digital, and it will continue to be even more so. So why wait!?