Automation and analytics technologies are infiltrating the workplace day on day to improve workforce productivity, all whilst steering the business in terms of outcomes and growth. However, as we continue to see the exponential growth and dominance of technologies including HR Tech, MarTech and FinTech, why are operations teams the poor technology relation? Most importantly, what is the business impact?
Despite it being key to a happier and more productive workforce, operations technology (OpsTech) has had a fraction of the $400 million HR Tech market – OpsTech being valued at USD 27.20 Billion in 2016 (and expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7 per cent between 2017 and 2022). Yet OpsTech has the potential to directly help organisations to refine business growth strategies, resolve skills shortages and enable retention. Equally, it has the ability to support financial leaders in setting and delivering business growth targets, its visibility and analytics unlocking the untapped areas of potential across the workforce.
Furthermore, the 100bn MarTech industry and is set to grow by 27 per cent over the next four years, but OpsTech has the potential to open up new areas for revenue opportunities by unlocking the data behind business development, profitable business and areas for growth.
So, as the underlying science behind so many of a company’s best kept secrets, how exactly can OpsTech revolutionise the modern business?
Bandwidth blind spots
Operations leaders and project team heads still tend to live in silos, working with timesheets and struggling to maintain a real-time view of the skills and bandwidth they have in the business. What this leads to is a function that cannot effectively contribute to the bottom line nor strategy of the business, which would ultimately drive growth and productivity.
Whilst many teams are bogged down accounting for their resources or hiring anew, many are not deploying the best of their skillsets. A lack of real-time, data-driven technology means that many organisations are, quite simply, taking an inefficient stab in the dark with their resources. This means they are blind to the additional bandwidth that may be present within their existing team and operational set up. OpsTech can, however, provide the antidote to these ‘bandwidth blind spots’, using data-led planning to automatically highlight pockets of potential for growth, better service, and happier teams – all with real-time accuracy.
OpsTech can be considered a vital back-office resource for businesses, enabling internal skills discovery in a time of industry skills shortages. Whereas businesses may have previously recruited on a ‘knee-jerk basis’ – using gut-feeling to assess when to hire – they can now make accurate, data-informed decisions that put an end to blind staffing processes.
Similarly, when a client throws a curveball in the form of additional work or short deadlines, businesses can assess their current workforce for the certain skills they now require and use real-time insights to assess whether additional staff recruitment is necessary in order to plug the gap. OpsTech provides the real answer to ‘busy or billable?’, which is the killer question in so many project-based work environments.
Capacity vs. the people
In short – they can’t, at least not effectively.
Furthermore, poor capacity planning and resource management due to a lack of OpsTech affects more than just a business’s efficiency and its potential revenues. In fact, when it comes to resource planning, many decision makers make the mistake of viewing their company growth potential and its people as separate entities, leading to one being sacrificed in favour of the other – with detrimental effects to the workforce.
Without the assistance of OpsTech, gut-instinct decisions can lead to poor capacity planning and an over-stretched workforce, which in turn, leads to a lack of downtime for employees. As client needs trump personal growth opportunities, this combined with poor planning eventually leads to the stalled development of a team. In fact, timesheets and standard ‘revenue per head’ metrics often don’t factor in a time allowance for training either. It won’t be long before the workforce notices, either – likely leading to a high rate of staff turnover.
More than ever, the wellbeing of employees demonstrates that there is a need for ‘workforce science’, which is currently underserved in the operations department. According to research from Precursive, only 15 per cent of C-level executives feel that they manage capacity well, with 100 per cent recognising that company and personal objectives are impacted by capacity. Without real time and accurate capacity visibility, executives will struggle to factor in the mindset and requirements of the new millennial workforce as an additional business priority.
The ongoing four-day week debate, for example, is just one representative of this need to evolve the operational management of a business to reflect new generational demands. Without real-time, data-led capacity and skills evaluation, how can businesses accurately balance their own operational and organisational needs with the expectations of the millennial workforce?
Creating more successful companies
With OpsTech, business and project teams can focus on the meaningful over the mundane, completing valuable business work rather than unnecessary admin, such as timesheets. By reducing stress to create happier workplaces, but growing capacity to service customers, the case for OpsTech has never been stronger. Particularly in uncertain times, the pressure on operations teams to do more with less whilst staff are demanding more than ever from the from the working environment – the need for OpsTech will be paramount.
OpsTech can enable companies working in team environments, regardless of their sector, to discover that they do in fact have capacity for more business, and do have the skills ready to be utilised within their existing workforce. Add to this happier staff and more efficient business processes, ultimately, you’re talking about OpsTech bringing about increased success and better performance from existing infrastructures and resources – the fundamentals of a company.
Don’t let your operations teams sit out in the cold – incorporate OpsTech to bring them the tech-led benefits of every other business department.
Jonathan Corrie, CEO, Precursive