First seen in Financial Director in May 2018
Businesses must embrace disruptive technologies, but first they must learn to recognise the traits of meaningful disruption says Peter Ingram, our very own CTO.
Disruption is more than just a buzzword, it’s happening all around us. PayPal revolutionised the way we pay for things online and transfer money with friends and family. Uber has changed the way we travel in cities. Challenger banks such as Monzo are shaking up the archaic banking system with a streamlined digital approach. Open banking is enabling data to be shared securely between multiple accounts belonging to any one person, bringing us greater visibility and control over our finances.
But it’s not just about technology for the consumer. Emerging technologies are set to reshape the way businesses operate. It makes complete sense when you think about it. Take payroll, for example. The traditional pay cycle simply doesn’t fit comfortably with the way we live in 2018. It’s an area that is ripe for disruption.
The wellbeing, attendance and retention of the worker is becoming increasingly important to businesses today. If businesses can take steps to alleviate pressures in their workers’ personal lives, they can leverage these workplace perks to reduce the spend on recruiting and staff turnover.
More than 50 percent of all organisations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups, according to a recent Willis Towers Watson study. Research by Kronos and Future Workplace finds that 87 percent of HR leaders consider improved retention a critical or high priority for the next five years.
These factors aren’t just important to businesses that employ permanent workers – with the emergence of the gig economy and industries that traditionally rely on casual, temporary and shift workers, being able to attract and retain a reliable, productive workforce has a significant impact on business agility.
So what should businesses look for in the disruptive technologies that are on offer? With so many innovative solutions emerging for businesses – and differing variations of each from different players contending for the same slice of market share – it’s difficult to know what’s worth investing in. Factors such as integration and scalability and compliance must be taken into consideration.
Open APIs & microservices are essential attributes in any disruptive technology. Acting as translation layers that enable your systems to communicate with the technology and vice versa, these are important in avoiding the complexities associated with outdated legacy systems. Avoiding monolithic blocks of code will reduce the time and cost spent getting the integration right, avoiding the technical debt traditionally accrued through work that must be redone repeatedly.
The ability to scale up easily is paramount, therefore a worthwhile technology must incorporate autoscaling – available through any technology built with microservices from AWS, Google or MS Azure. Autoscaling means additional servers are switched on automatically, only when necessary. When the service is hit with an influx of traffic, more server space is automatically assigned to the service.
Autoscaling should also bring the cost down for the business since the technology provider only pays for what they use meaning they’re not overpaying for servers that they are not yet using at full capacity.
Without autoscaling in place, the reliability of the technology can also be compromised through the provider placing strain on existing servers and waiting until they are at full capacity to manually scale up. As more users begin to adopt disruptive technologies, the quicker the need to scale up grows. Manually scaling up each time the servers reach capacity can only cause repeat reliability issues.
Compliance and data security are vital factors that must be seriously considered. While it has become a saturated talking point, GDPR is undoubtedly an important factor. Again, this is where a product supported by reputable microservices will provide the best possible value because they ensure the back-end activities happen in a safe and compliant manner.
When it comes to multi-region data residency, the technology must be flexible. Germany for example, rules that you can only keep personal data belonging to German citizens in specified areas deemed acceptable by the German government. It’s therefore important to ensure the technology provider can accommodate these needs. In terms of global scalability, this will be vital to your business.
The world is quickly adapting to the demands of the younger generations that crave instant gratification and are beginning to represent the majority of the workforce. If businesses are to remain relevant to those younger generations, attracting and retaining an agile workforce will be key. Businesses must think about how they too can adapt to better suit their lifestyles in the way the likes of PayPal, Uber and Monzo have forced whole industries to rethink the ways they operate.
While there are plenty of technologies emerging that are designed to help businesses address this very issue, it is essential that those technologies will deliver a return on investment, adding true value for both the organisation and the worker while providing simple integration, robust security and unlimited scalability.