Our blog

Who is driving the digital age?


13 April 2017

Dr Nicola Millard

Blogs by author: Dr Nicola Millard, Head of Customer Insight and Futures, BT


Who is driving the digital age? Is it technology, or people?

People aren’t just users, they are in the driving seat. The real importance of digital to business is not the emergence of new technology, it’s the empowering of people – employees, or consumers – to do amazing things.

Although technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and Blockchain are potentially disruptive, they won’t work unless we adopt them. This is why people are the biggest disruptors of the digital age.

Just as a social network of one would be a terrible social network, most communication and collaboration technologies rely on other people adopting them for them to work effectively. With organisations virtualising and globalising, we have to combat the instincts of our inner caveman and deal with customers and colleagues remotely rather than exclusively face-to-face.

Technologies untether us from our desks, and enable us to work anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. But the anchors of the analogue age can tether us back.  Leadership, measures, productivity, and even our office spaces need to be reinvented to create a new, more agile digital possible in the world of work.

Consumer behaviours can be just as disruptive to the traditional ways of doing business.

As “autonomous” customers do more of the easy things themselves, front line employees, whether they are in branch/store, or the contact centre take on increasingly complex and emotive issues, across a wider range of channels. How can the power of cloud, data analytics and machine learning be harnessed to help companies become increasingly proactive, personalised and predictive (but not creepy) in their delivery of customer experiences? How do we increase the value of human “SuperAgents”, whilst getting technologies to deliver effortless experiences for customers?

Understanding people can make the difference between success and failure in achieving our digital possible.