Changes in technology and our working environments have come quickly and surprisingly, according to Simon Morton, co-founder and Change & Innovation Lead at Supplyant Ltd, who believes businesses have two choices – adapt now or fade away.
During the last nine months we have seen a major shift in both our personal and business lives because of the lockdown process. We have had no choice but to embrace the change.
- eCommerce is booming – online retailers are doing two to three times normal revenues as buyer behaviour changes. This did not change when the stores reopened as buyer behaviour has changed forever.
- There has been a huge shift in meetings, from face to face to video conferencing. Remote working has gone some way to build trust that productivity can still be high in spite of not being in the same office.
- Technology has been the driver, with communication and systems being a major advantage in getting work done without being in the same room. There has been an unprecedented move to full-time remote working and businesses that are embracing digital, are outperforming others.
Digital Future First has been set up, led by Supplyant Limited, and co-developed in partnership with dbfb and the Learning and Skills Academy CIC, to help deliver technology and talent advice, free of charge, to businesses facing the need to make changes.
“The easiest way to stay one step ahead is to adopt digital technologies sooner,”
said Simon Pickering of dbfb, which delivers ultra-fast internet, telecoms and cloud-based services.
“Now it is even clearer that it should be a priority for companies, in order to thrive and succeed in this challenging environment. They must fully commit to a digital future. The speed of change can only accelerate as a new, young talent pool emerges from a generation who have only ever known fast-paced and high-performing technology.
A recent report from Tech UK* highlighted just how much technology is now a key part of our everyday existence. Not only have consumers relied on technology for everything from managing their financial affairs to ordering groceries online, but industry sectors that have until now not been the most forthcoming in their adoption of tech have suddenly looked to digitise many of their processes.
Pubs are now reliant on taking online bookings, barber shops are using contactless payments instead of accepting cash, and cafés have replaced paper loyalty cards with rewards apps; examples can be seen all around us.”
A key component to being ahead of the game is creating a team that has the training and the talent. A team that makes decisions quickly and accurately is paramount.
Healthy businesses are already aware that digital systems are a prerequisite. However, they are only as good as the team’s understanding of those systems and how to get the very best from them.
A productive, talented employee is at the core of a great company. Giving staff the right training gives the company an advantage and keeps teams motivated, focused, and interested in contributing more to a business.
You can’t realise the benefit unless you have talent. Talent drives the business. Training drives the talent, but how do you build this team and find the training while keeping up with the remarkable speed of change in digital technology happening right now?
The good news is that there are locally supported programmes available for emerging and existing talent. Many are funded and fully supported by local bodies and the European Social Fund.
Think of Digital Future First as a price comparison site. We ask a few questions to reduce the headache of which scheme is the best one to choose to take advantage of and we’ll cut through the red tape to make it as painless as possible.
Digital Future First is a free-to-access business service that can advise you on these programmes and the training providers available that can help develop your business by supporting employees to gain different skills and experience. From manufacturing to marketing, or any other specialist position, every learner can develop their own unique syllabus that’s right for the business and personal
“Train employees to develop other skill sets needed for the business,”
said Tony Knaggs, of the Learning and Skills Academy CIC.
“Training providers review all the core skills for each position with employers, refining job descriptions with business owners to help maintain current skills and train employees to develop other skill sets needed for the business.
There is a huge shift happening in higher education through work-based vocational courses rather than traditional universities. The UK Government has further enhanced the incentives and available funding for traineeships, apprenticeships, the Kickstart Scheme and graduate placements. Current programmes can provide 100% salary for up to six months and cash grants of up to £3,000 for supporting young people into work.
Our business advisers offer free strategic coaching, connecting you with the right mentors, the right skills programmes and developing your digital ecosystem. This includes one-to-one advisor sessions, peer groups, online training events and fully funded masterclasses for business leaders in partnership with University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and University of Northampton.”
As with anything government backed, the schemes can lead to a raft of forms to fill and administrative processes to put in place to comply. Different government departments and companies involved can be a little disjointed, slowing down helping people into work.
Our advisors will assist you at every stage to make this process as painless as possible, from selecting the right scheme to assisting you in meeting the requirements. The best way to guarantee success with these programmes is with our
Government and regional funding schemes are a lifeline. Digital Future First posts immediate updates on the website and sends them to all registered businesses operating in the South East Midlands area. This includes specific regional COVID-related schemes.
Digital Future First can deliver technology and talent advice, free of charge, exclusively to the 83,000 businesses operating across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire, and is part-funded by the European Social Fund.
Businesses operating in the South East Midlands can register at www.digitalfuturefirst.co.uk to qualify for free funding updates and adviser support.
*A link to the report is available online (www.uktech.news/featured/covid-19-uk-tech-smes-demand-for-tech-in-the-new-normal-20200911).