We blinked twice, and the vision of an automated workplace became a reality. Technology advanced so fast that we scarcely had time to think; how we are actually going to manage the robot / human working relationship? Luckily, technologies such as Robotic Service Orchestration (RSO) are here to help people evolve to meet the ever changing work environment.
Sadiq Kahn sparked the nationwide conversation on digital management when he announced his decision to appoint London’s first Chief Digital Officer (CDO). The appointment of a CDO to manage the capital’s digital programme was a key part of Kahn’s election pledges, as part of a wider plan to make London the world’s leading ‘smart city’ and further its pro-business agenda.
The successful applicant for this shiny new position will work with the Smart London Board and City Hall, developing and delivering a new Smart London Strategy as a matter of priority – a tall order, to say the least. So where does London’s CDO need to start? Or any other digital manager, for that matter?
The digital management skillset
In a world where rapid disruption and change have become the norm, focusing on a solid core set of competencies may not be viewed as the most dynamic approach, but a good, solid foundation is essential.
Aside from the ability to share and analyse data, digital managers will need to test, adopt and promote the digital solutions that will successfully drive their organisation into the future. According to Oxford Economics, London is home to around 40,000 digital tech businesses, with this number forecast to rise by another 12,500 by 2025 – that is a lot of digital tech businesses. It is the services and products being built by these predominantly young companies that future CDOs or DMs will want to leverage to help take the onus off of the public sector and improve the services people rely on.
On top of that, digital management professionals will be expected to anticipate and respond to the potential impact of disruptive new technologies, both in terms of policy and action, as well as to promote and support the implementation of their organisation’s digital inclusion and cyber-security policies. A tall order, indeed. It’s a good job RSO is here to help.
RSO manages tracking and control so your team can focus on delivering great services. Using robotic process control, RSO platforms are able to seamlessly co-ordinate activity across your other systems, automating many manual activities.
Because RSO platforms monitor everything that is happening in the shared services centre including all tasks taken on by bots and humans, teams have visibility of any issues as they happen, with the added ability to use past performance to predict future behaviour. What it means is that team leaders have the tools they need to become proactive leaders, rather than reactive managers.
The service delivery mindset
Mindset is likely to be just as important as skillset when it comes to managing what will no doubt be a growing digital workforce driven by automated solutions, and digital managers will need to understand the foundations of successful service delivery.
Real end-to-end services involve customers, staff and different types of bot. All too often engineers try to use robotic process automation tools to manage work across customers and staff - a job they’re just not suited for. A service is what the customer buys, whether it is an internal customer expecting their new hire to be handled correctly of a customer expecting their new mobile phone to be switched over immediately. Customers expect a complete outcome normally with multiple deliverables.
Digital managers will need to understand this service delivery focused mindset in order to be successful in the age of automation, and to deliver services as part of any new digital ‘transformation’ programme – whether it be Smart Cities, employee management or the efficient delivery of borough or municipal services.
Embracing big data
It’s difficult to imagine just how much data and information a position like CDO of London is going to entail – but let’s assume it’s going to be a hell of a lot. This means embracing robotics and automation is equally as important as the data itself – essentially, it is the ‘how’ that answers the ‘what’.
Aside from the fact automation technologies will help sift through this vast volume of information to identify specific areas of improvement, the advent and expected boom in this category means this is precisely the type of technology that will be a cornerstone of fulfilling the overall Smart City objective. The challenge for this new breed of digital management professional will be to understand and best deploy this information in a manner that works hand in hand to encourage organisations to embrace digital.
Beyond the new skillsets and mindsets, perhaps the single most important factor for the successful management of the digital workplace will be the ability to be flexible. In an environment of ever changing technology, future digital managers will need to be ready to change course at the drop of a hat, never forgetting the huge opportunity we have if we can successfully orchestrate people and robots.