I can't recall who said it, or where I heard it, but it has resonated with me for a while now, providing the inspiration for the first article in this series - "uncertainty is the only certainty in business". Never has this been more relevant than in today's world of rapid change, where organisations are continuously challenged to disrupt or be disrupted.
As an independent consultant advising clients on building capabilities of people for digital transformation, technology is often seen as the only solution to a business problem, with the human elements being overlooked, meaning the so-called softer side of change can be the harder sell - but one I firmly believe, if acknowledged and adopted early, distinguishes the innovative from the mediocre.
The majority of today's organisations are not geared up for tomorrow where solely focusing on the P&L of the balance sheet (and in particular cost-cutting initiatives) is no longer a guarantee of success and longevity. There are 2 new kids on the block in terms of valuable assets that are fundamental in the adoption of an agile and sustainable change platform; people & data.
In the future of work, I see these being critical to success and key contributors to financial, legal and ethical well-being - not as separate entities, but when brought together with bi-directional dependency, where the differentiator for the businesses of tomorrow will be the ability for people to make data-driven decisions within an environment of emerging, fast-paced transformation.
But isn't this what technology enables us to do?
Undoubtedly, technology plays a major role in managing, analysing, enriching and publishing data - and there are some great MDM, PIM and data analysis tools out there - but in my experience, the softer skills associated with people adopting and utilising these tools effectively, is often the hardest to embed and maintain within the organisation. I don't believe it's all about adoption and utilisation of technology either. The ability for people to sense internal and external environments for trends, threats, opportunities for improvement, innovative ideas etc., whilst understanding the value of data and how it can inform the decisions you make - all working within a socially developed network, are some of the skills required for the future of work.
So how does this relate to the title of this blog?
Those readers familiar with the work of the "Modfather" Paul Weller, will recognise "The Changing Man" as one of his most notable singles from the 90's. The former Jam front man's song contains the lyrics "the more I see, the more I know, the more I know, the less I understand". Weller's words align well to a fundamental challenge organisations are facing today - building the capability to make sense of the mass amounts of data they are required to store and manage, whilst determining the ultimate value this has to the business. How much of the data that you see, and probably think you know, do you really understand? ... and how relevant will the data that you understand today, be tomorrow?
In my next article, I'll share more thoughts on "data driving change, people making it happen" and how a change platform to support this might look ... albeit a platform built on shifting sand of course (check the lyrics).
In the meantime, I thank you for reading and encourage you to share your thoughts with me through the relevant channels.
© Clear Consultancy Services Ltd
This article is reposted from here as part of the partnership between Clear Consultancy Services and the Business Transformation Network.
Ian Buttery is Director of Clear Consultancy, with a passion and primary focus to help organisations build the capabilities of their people to transform their data into business value. With the increasingly rapid pace of transformation, where organisations are required to respond quicker with shorter decision periods and earlier payback of their ROI around digital transformation initiatives, Clear Consultancy Services constantly challenge the equilibrium to deliver change success, enabling early adoption and greater utilisation of a new way of working, by putting people first.
Ian has an MA in Applied Management for Organisational Change from Henley Business School, where his research on the Impact of Organisational Design & Behaviour on Individual Learning Capabilities gained him a distinction.