The future of human work

New technology will boost productivity and help solve the global growth challenge

Stephan Sieber, CEO & executive director, Unit4

The acceleration of changes driven through technology and the demographic changes affecting the global workforce are working against each other.

While the speed of innovation and change is ever increasing, we see a shrinking and aging workforce with fewer and fewer young people. In other words, our economy is facing a major workforce crisis in both capacity and capabilities.

Research says that only 46 per cent of an employee’s work week is spent on their primary job duties. In an economy where people and talent are scarce, this is a major issue. Technology gives us a unique opportunity to rethink how work is done and how people use their skills and talent to complete critical and differentiating tasks that a computer can’t do.

Using state-of-the-art technologies like mobile, cloud, big data and artificial intelligence, we are building what we at Unit4 call self-driving business applications.

Applications that learn from the past and actively make use of the data and knowledge that is captured in them to provide context sensitive support for mission-critical tasks. Applications that take every day mundane tasks away from people and free them up to focus on what matters. And applications we can communicate with via natural language – through text messages, for example.

People will always matter, and in business they are customers and employees. The new business realities force us, but even more importantly allow us, to put these stakeholders at the forefront of everything we do.

People will always be in the lead in understanding customer needs and anticipating how they will change in the future. Through technology, companies can free people to focus on this differentiating activity that ultimately drives innovation, differentiation and competitiveness.

Meet Wanda, the world’s first real enterprise digital assistant here: www.unit4.com/wanda

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  • Nigel Dupree

    Yeah, terrific, marvelous, brilliant, dystopian Orwellian Future or not there remains the problem of Screen Fatigue or CVS at long last subject to a SAFETY ALERT from HSE to it’s directors and management.

    http://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/safetywellbeing/HealthSafetyand%20Wellbeing/Use%20of%20Display%20Screen%20Equipment%20DSE.pdf

    Bizarre as for the last 30 years the powers that be have been insisting “no harm no foul” as the debilitating symptoms that are far from “temporary” lasting for 3 hours or more once you come off-screen impairing visual performance and productivity daily not a safety risk.

    From a business perspective, sod the occupational health risks, what about the work-related seriously sub-optimal performance running at around 20%, or 30 + lost days productivity, due to fatigue whilst still present, on the job and being paid over the last 30 years !!!

    Perhaps the introduction of WEL (Work Exposure Limits) will help better manage and/or reduce work stress-fatigue but, until the global pandemic of CVS is addressed, and I don’t mean subjectively, and user operators no longer have to make the visual processing along with physiological stress related adaptations to cope, tolerate and persevere with current poor visual ergonomics of DSE they is always going to be a significant deficit in potential capacity to sustain any where near optimal performance and productivity – DOH

    Luckily, just because they haven’t known what to do about it, doesn’t mean some out of left field mad inventor isn’t going to come up with some “objective” and needs based disruptive solution orientated technology. (Self interest, blowing mi own trumpet like, you know)

    Simple’sss, all DSE and human resources don’t come off the production line “the same” so whether, designing any bit of kit, furniture, a car, lorry, plane whatever, to universally fit all requires ergonomic if adaptability is going to be built-in to accommodate.

    So, whilst legislation continues to have little or no affect, according to HSE and shed loads of other research, another lonesome reject, in his bedroom has been working on developing a bit of kit to “objectively measure screen ergonomics” (degree of visual stress) and mitigate it by adapting the screen interface to reduce the need for the user operator to develop stress-related well-meaning, yet ineffective, adaptations increasing their risk of RSI type injury in order to just carry on using their sub-optimal Safety Alerted DSE.

    If, production, production, production is the new mantra and the UK is now 25th on the Global League Tables maybe restoring 20% deficit in the performance of DSE user operators performance might go some way to bridging that gap ???