Forward-thinking project-based businesses may well be looking to find and fund new technological innovations. However, the onslaught of new technologies such as the emergence of 5G, developments in the metaverse of augmented and virtual reality, which are opening the doors to virtual R&D via immersive learning and digital twins, and advances in AI and software 2.0, make it a challenge to keep up.
In Gartner’s annual report on Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2023, Digital Immune Systems, Applied Observability, AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRISM), Industry Cloud Platforms, Platform Engineering, Wireless-Value Realization, Superapps, Adaptive AI, Sustainable Technology and Metaverse all made the top ten.
Whilst these technologies promise access to massive data sets, increased power, pace, and analytical sophistication, it is ultimately an organization's ability to use and leverage this data that will create value.
Below I discuss three areas of focus for firms, that will help to build on both foundational and advanced technological capabilities so that they can absorb a level of valuable change, today.
A Focus on Data Maturity for Project-Based Businesses
The UK economy is already in a mild recession and the picture for 2023 is one of stop-start growth. Hywel Ball, EY UK Chair, says, “Businesses will need to think very carefully about their resilience and plan for different scenarios, while also being mindful of the support they provide to their customers and employees.” And perhaps doing so means accelerating tech-led growth, but with a focus.
A huge priority must be data maturity, organizations may believe different data resources are being used, and that the organization is getting a lot of value from the data being collected, but this is not always the case. Organizations must truly ask themselves if they are making data-driven decisions and whether they are making their data resources more accessible throughout the organization and in a way that increases the productivity of (and between) divisions.
Having such data maturity provides organizations with the opportunity to achieve a deeper understanding of where margins are suboptimal and magnifies divisions and services that tie up an unfair share of working capital. This intensified focus on data enables organizations to concentrate their efforts on projects and clients for whom they can make the biggest difference and constrain growth where profits and margins are consistently low. A noteworthy example of this is Mott MacDonald who despite the economic disruption, was able to make data-driven decisions and review their strategy in 2021 to ensure ‘selective focus’ in the stronger parts of the business to deliver growth in revenues and profits. It also assessed its focus on those parts of the business where KPIs ‘were’ below Group targets and where corrective action ‘was needed.’
Putting value on data maturity will give the organization the opportunity to use data as a guiding force, so long as the organization has goals and a clear vision of where they want the data to take them. Therefore, as economic conditions tighten, organizations can focus on higher-margin work with the best working capital conversion to create value, make smarter decisions and meet clients’ objectives efficiently.
A Focus on Optimal User Experience and Building a Learning Organization
Another important consideration is optimal user experience: technological literacy will continue to become core to every role. And all or any of these technologies can only create huge opportunities so far as companies are willing to develop and invest in a continuous learning culture. This means training employees and providing continuous learning that’s easy to do and enables closer collaboration. This new way of working opens new opportunities for employees by enriching their jobs and allowing them to connect to the organization’s purpose, as well as providing opportunities for new talent.
A Focus on Robotic Process Automation
Companies should consider introducing robotic process automation (RPA). Many of our project-based clients seeking to accelerate digital transformation are taking an automation approach and are unifying smart, digital technologies, such as RPA, process automation and end-to-end workflow automation, to increase operational efficiency, improve customer engagement, and adapt quickly to changes in the market. Implementing RPA drives efficiency throughout the organization and often frees employees from mundane workloads, enabling them to concentrate on more creative tasks and focus on their customers. Such a transformation needn’t take long and can create tremendous value.
Get the Basics Right to Support Competitive Advantage
Project-based organizations are seeing an abundance of technological developments coming their way. The implications these technologies will have on their unique organizations will of course require due attention. However, successful organizations understand that the groundwork must be done first to absorb continuous change and make technology a source of competitive advantage. Ensuring data maturity so that they can concentrate their efforts on projects that make the biggest difference while knowing where to contain costs, optimal user experience for employees and investment into RPA can all have a meaningful impact on efficiencies, today.
How Can Deltek Help?
Connecting technology directly to the center of a differentiated future and focusing investment on the outcomes that matter most will strengthen performance. And as the saying goes ‘it’s never a good idea to review your own restaurant’. Often, it helps to partner with experts who can provide strategic guidance on leading-edge technological solutions that will benefit and accelerate purposeful innovation unique to the organization.
With a focus on driving purposeful innovation by incorporating emerging technologies into our solutions to reimagine project success for our customers, Deltek could be that partner. We are continuously making our products easier to use and helping our customers achieve greater business efficiency and productivity with our ERP solutions.
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