Behind the scenes, technology is becoming increasingly complex as the cloud, artificial intelligence, extended reality, the edge, and many other emerging technologies enter the mainstream. However, for technology users, the interfaces are becoming more and more intuitive. It is almost inversely proportional: the more complex a technology becomes, the easier it is to use.
The great democratization of technology is driven by a number of enablers including natural language processing (NLP), low-code platforms, robotic process automation (RPA), and others. These tools not only take the friction out of using technology, but they also allow people to optimize their work or fix pain points on their own.
This trend, which is analyzed in Accenture’s Technology Vision for 2021 report, promises to deliver significant value to businesses while improving the employee experience. Imagine the possibilities of a world where people can create a custom dashboard for group finances, for example, or create an app to automatically approve and fulfill purchase orders, all without having to ask the sales team for help. YOU.
88% of the executives we surveyed in conjunction with the report believe that the democratization of technology is becoming critical in its ability to drive innovation across their organization.
In this environment, not only are problems solved faster and by those closest to them, but the IT team saves time for what can really add value: large deployments, scaling successful programs, and injecting the latest. technology in business, for example.
Bridge the skills gap
Seizing the opportunities of the democratization of technology has never been more important. Companies across a wide range of industries face well-documented skills gaps that could hamper growth, if not already.
To date, solutions to the skills gap have focused primarily on training. And while this will remain an important requirement, the democratization of technology offers another approach. It is a parallel strategy that will further close the disconnect between the workforce and the technologies necessary to offer the most creative solutions in today’s market.
It also unleashes the full potential of each worker. When access to powerful technology capabilities extends across the enterprise, at all levels, everyone can become an active and vital part of the digital transformation effort. People can choose for themselves what to automate, allowing them to focus on the things they do best. That means better results for workers, customers and the company.
Activating grassroots innovation
In essence, the democratization of technology is the enablement of grassroots innovation. User-friendly technology is a necessary condition for this type of innovation, but it is not enough. You also need to teach your people to think like technologists.
Basically, employees will need to learn what tools are at their disposal and how and when to best implement them. But more than that, companies must also invest in the overall technology literacy of employees: helping them understand the logic of machines, the benefits and risks of different decisions, and how to view technology not just as a tool, but as a tool. solution.
The goal is to ensure that those closest to customers and internal problems have everything they need to identify new solutions and opportunities and get them up and running as quickly as possible.
For this to work, employees must understand data security and governance issues and be able to innovate in low-risk ways. There are relatively easy ways to do this. For example, CommScope, a fiber optic manufacturer, developed a low-code, no-code program with guardrails in place. to help its people avoid accidental security risks.
Reinventing innovation: 3 key questions
Over time, the democratization of technology will challenge traditional notions of who “owns” technology, how technology strategy and planning is done, and the role of IT. As this happens, leaders have the opportunity to reinvent the intersection of technology and organization, and to reinvent how their IT and non-IT employees work together.
Google already has done just that. Your workers can use new tools even if they are not supported by the company, as long as the teams using them support the new stack themselves and mitigate any issues that may arise around effective collaboration.
Very soon, the pace of business transformation will no longer be limited to how quickly IT teams can implement new solutions. Instead, the empowered workers on the front lines of the company will become change makers and innovators in their own right.
For business leaders to ensure that their companies benefit from this innovation advantage for years to come, they must address three fundamental questions:
- Does my company have the necessary capabilities to democratize IT?
- How can I train workers to think like technologists?
- How can democratized technologies make IT groups more effective and vice versa?
Without answering these questions and taking steps to empower your people, you will be holding back your own digital transformation. Industries are adapting and transforming around you – grassroots innovation will help you keep up.