The internet and social networks are dramatically changing the way we work, from the way teams form and collaborate to the nature of the results that are delivered back to the business for which these teams work.
Whereas the 'past of work' was about competition, Julie Meyer, Chief Executive and Founder of Ariadne Capital and star of BBC's Dragon's Den Online believes that the future of work is all about businesses of all sizes partnering up.
As she explained in rather colourful terms: "Every David was out to slay Goliath with a slingshot. Today, David and Goliath have to work together."
It is this profound network orientation that will drive global business in the future, according to Meyer. So, how do you foster a culture and create technology platforms that ensure the best and brightest brains in the world of future work are able to form such networks, address a business problem and disband easily?
The IBM Institute of Business Value recently conducted a study across 275 senior executives on the new ways of working. The study found that many organisations still have critical capability and technology gaps that are hindering greater agility. Organisations need to be able to:
• Rapidly or automatically reconfigure business processes and skills to address unexpected challenges and take advantage of new opportunities
• Make both internal and external collaboration central to how work gets done - not an afterthought
• Draw upon the right combination of integrated information and analytical tools to help decision makers make timelier, more informed choices
Technology enables collaboration and it also assists better decision-making. For many years, companies have used data to make business decisions to gain competitive advantage.
Today, business analytics takes it a step further so teams can create unique predictive capabilities. By knowing what is happening now, what is likely to happen and what actions they should take, more informed decisions can be made.
Because of this, employers can place greater trust in their employees and empower them to tackle and solve complex business problems. Ultimately, this can lead to more distributed, collective and real-time leadership and decision-making across organisations.
Why businesses should get into the cloud
The greatest social and work transformations tend to take place during the times of greatest economic uncertainty and upheaval.
As Will Davis of Demos and Said Business School, noted: "Crises tend to foster moments of incredible innovation. We only need to look back to the 1970s when we saw the transition from the Fordist top-down style of management to the hierarchy-less that typifies the modern business today."
It is becoming clear, that the current economic environment is leading more and more companies to view the cloud as a way of embracing the changing nature of work, without adding to the cost. Cloud is a means by which companies can promote greater collaboration, dynamic teaming and also extend their organisation.
Not only is cloud affecting the structure and location of human resources, it is also affecting the empowerment of employees and the way we work with our business ecosystem, our customers and suppliers.
Technology is at the heart of the future of work and tools like cloud, collaboration, social networking and analytics are being used today. Not only is it affecting the structure and location of human resources, it is also affecting the empowerment of employees and the way we work with our business ecosystem - our customers and suppliers.
It seems that with technology and new ecosystems, size matters less and less. SMEs can compete and work along-side larger organisations on a local and global scale.
The future of work is already here today, it is up to us to take full advantage of its potential.