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Man vs Machine - Why businesses mustn't forget their greatest asset

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Man vs Machine - Why businesses mustn't forget their greatest asset

​Despite economic uncertainty, companies are still displaying a strong desire to adopt transformative technologies such as generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI).

According to a recent report, ‘Gartner continues to forecast IT spending to grow at 4.4% for the remainder of 2023 and 7.1% in 2024 in constant currency.’

Whilst IT spend looks set to grow and the demand for transformative technology continues to rise, it’s important that organisations don’t forget their greatest asset: their people.

Why is demand so high?

The breakthrough in new generative AI tools such as OpenAI's ‘ChatGPT’ have made long talked about technology a sudden and powerful reality. The fact that tech giants such as Microsoft and Google are investing heavily shows that this is not just a fad, but a real and serious step in the future of technology. With these big hitters in play, not only is popularity increasing, but so is development and innovation. Customers can expect to see an exponential rise in the capabilities and use cases of these technologies. As a result, they will become more accessible, increasing their presence in our lives, and subsequently in our business.

Although we have seen evidence of an unstable and unpredictable global economy, organisations are shifting their strategies to make room for new technologies to maintain some advantage over competitors. There appears to be an acknowledgement of the necessity to adopt these technologies to avoid being left behind.

It’s more than simply wanting the newest and shiniest tech, however. Businesses are already taking advantage of these technologies, automating and optimising processes to drive efficiencies. And customers are seeing the benefits too, with better customer experiences, reduced response times, and an improved overall service.

The human touch

Whilst it may seem increasingly urgent to join the trend, businesses who are unprepared for a transformative technology adoption risk paying a high cost – both figuratively and financially. Often, a successful adoption is in jeopardy from the very beginning, as organisations are unclear on their tech needs or strategy.

You can view Step5’s top recommendations for adopting generative AI here.

Ultimately, people want people. Whether that’s someone trying to contact customer support, or a business embarking on a major digital transformation – it is human-to-human interaction which cannot be undersold. There is no doubting the impact technologies such as generative AI will have on our lives in the coming years, but the prospect of machines completely replacing humans is still an unlikely one for now. That said, there is concern for a growing skills gap.

When it comes to technology implementation, often businesses don’t have the necessary resources or in-house skills required for a successful adoption. According to Gartner®, ‘Of all the factors shaping 2Q23 and beyond, skills are anticipated to have the broadest and most enduring impact on technology partners. The factors driving skills issues revolve around the accelerating velocity of technology change, the reduced capacity of corporate IT to afford internal technology skills, and the continued demand for advanced technology solutions to create company advantage.’

Whilst the technology continues to develop, organisations must ensure that their people do too, by providing the necessary support and training to make sure they are capable of delivering the organisational technology ambitions. Though the technology is impressive, it is only as good as the people implementing and using it. Gartner acknowledges that ‘Skills are a structural issue that are slow to develop but become challenging to resolve. Traditional strategies to build all required skills in-house face structural, financial and operational challenges.’ Tackling this issue from the outset is crucial but often overlooked.

Here are some of Gartner’s recommendations for organisations looking to rethink their approach to skills and capabilities:

  • Identify your tech company’s core strengths and capabilities — the foundation for your competitive advantage. What are the specialized skills needed to maintain and grow that advantage? Focus on those skills to avoid spreading the organization’s skills thin. Consider partnering or participating in ecosystems to gain skills and services outside of your core technology or business model.

  • Select and invest in ecosystem partners beyond market access, with particular attention to partners that accelerate access to skills. Partnering and participating with others to gain skills, customer access and field solutions faster are solid strategies.

Finding the balance

As the evolution of technology shows no signs of slowing, organisations must consider where it sits and what role it will play in the bigger picture. There is no doubt that more and more business will be adjusting their strategies and budgets to make room for transformative technologies in the near future, with obvious benefits on offer for those that do. Yet it is the ones who recognise the need to find a balance between technology and people that will see the greatest return on their investments. By thinking long-term and considering the important role people will play in the adoption and utilisation of new tech will ensure a balanced and harmonious organisation which is fit for whatever the future has in store.

At Step5, we support businesses embarking on this journey by employing a customer-centric approach that is powered by our expert teams of problem solvers. We work collaboratively with clients to help implement transformative technology, providing the right individuals or teams, with the right mindset and soft skills to ensure the perfect cultural fit. If you’re considering a transformative technology adoption or you are embarking on a digital transformation, get in touch to see how we can help you to realise your short-term, mid-term, and long-term transformation goals.

Find out how we can support your digital transformation needs – contact us today.

Gartner, What Tech Leaders Know Now in 2Q23 and Must Plan for in 2024, Mark McDonald, John-David Lovelock, 25 July 2023.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.