More enterprises bullish about impact of change


Enterprise leaders are increasingly confident that rapid changes in the workplace over the next five years will benefit their organizations.

More than four out of five respondents (84 percent) to the 2018 Future Enterprise Survey by global corporate law firm Seyfarth Shaw said they were optimistic about their enterprise’s “ability to turn future-of-work changes into a business advantage,” up from 70 percent in last year’s survey. The percentage of respondents fearful of these changes fell by nearly half — to 16 percent from 30 percent.

The results indicate that enterprises “are less worried about dramatic shifts in their industries and better equipped to adapt in terms of both mindset and technological readiness,” Seyfarth Shaw said.

The shift that the largest percentage of respondents said they’re ready for over the next five years involves robotics, including automation and artificial intelligence. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents “see great potential in how automation and AI will improve their business operations,” the survey said. Another 21 percent predicted smart technologies will have a big impact on products and services, while 17 percent said these technologies will affect the size and shape of the workforce.

Given the inevitability of rapid technology-driven change, it’s a bit surprising that more enterprises aren’t formalizing innovation strategies. Yet less than half (48 percent) of respondents said their organizations have an innovation initiative, such as an innovation hub, lab, committee or task force, with enterprises in the healthcare, finance and IT sectors most likely to be embracing innovation.

Interestingly, despite what we’ve read (and I’ve written) about bitcoin and blockchain, the vast majority of enterprises have no plans to implement either over the next five years. Only two percent of respondents said their organizations are “making or accepting payment via bitcoin, or planning to do so in the near future,” while six percent are using blockchain for transaction record-keeping. That latter figure should grow, though: 27 percent of respondents said the use of blockchain will impact their business.

For all the concerns about technology-driven change in the workplace, three of the five top challenges over the next five years cited by respondents concern human assets, AKA people. “Talent management” topped the list at 59 percent, followed by cybersecurity (45 percent), technology adoption (42 percent), generational shifts (31 percent) and worker engagement (27 percent).

Nice to see we’re still relevant.

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