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The world of work has been evolving rapidly over the last few years, and even more so when it comes to digital transformation. The conversation around harnessing technology in the workplace started as a buzzword and has now become crucial for all businesses to implement within their teams and processes. And in 2024, it’s expected to play an even bigger role in business strategy. 

Big leaps in cloud computing, data, analytics, and AI now mean that digital transformation is imperative. In a post-pandemic world, we’ve seen transformative technologies enter the workplace at pace. They’re enabling businesses to scale and thrive in an increasingly digital world, and businesses shouldn’t get left behind. 

It’s a conversation we had at Beyond, our Europe-wide event focused on the new way of finance. We invited industry leaders from the finance world to shed light on the importance of embracing digital transformation, and how businesses can best prepare for 2024 when it comes to strategy and processes. 

First things first, what exactly is digital transformation?

Digital transformation has the power to make your processes much more efficient, day-to-day. It’s able to put time back into your business, and back into your teams so they on more pressing tasks, rather than tedious manual work. 

For Ed Walker, the Future of Work Director at Deloitte, digital transformation means altering the workplace for the better. “It’s about how we’re changing the lives of our customers and employees, and fundamentally transforming the employee experience,''

“The way that we do work in business is not just about technology anymore – that is the key enabler for it, but it’s now about ways of working, it’s about culture, leadership, becoming much more adaptable as an organisation and many of those things are enabled by technology,” Ed added.

Difficulties embracing automation in the workplace 

Automation and artificial intelligence have moved past the stuff of science fiction. Today, they’re tools that can improve workflows, freeing up time for people to do more of the work that matters. However, we’re still seeing many businesses not fully embracing this technology, both for the fear of change or jobs becoming obsolete. 

Jamie Sargent, Manager, Presales Solution Consulting at Oracle NetSuite said, “There’s a long list of reasons why people are reluctant. I think we see emotional attachment to systems that people are using. It takes a lot of effort to move systems, to reflect on what processes we have and question if they're as good as they can be.”

“As a finance person, I would say people in the industry can be generally risk averse, so I think the idea of change and the fear of the unknown is something that does need managing,” Jamie added. 

Ed believes there is some myth-busting to be done around automation. “In the UK, you can see the headlines with ‘AI and robotics will cut 35% of work in the UK,’ but actually it’s about giving the mundane stuff to the machines and redesigning work and jobs for all corporate services to move up the value chain and do more of the stuff that actually makes us human.” 

How to embed digital transformation in your 2024 business strategy 

Making sure you put your best foot forward for the coming year in business is easier said than done. It’s hard to know where to even start, especially when it comes to digital transformation. 

“When people start thinking about adopting digital transformation, they think, ‘Right, what systems need changing?’ They then start with one process and before they know it, they're looking at three or four or five across their whole stack,” Jamie said. “Don't try to boil the ocean, pick one or two [processes to automate], the low-hanging fruit – go for those and go for it.”

Committing to digitisting processes is the key to success, and in the long run, it could save your business time and money. Whilst this idea has been a conversation for over a decade now, being able to adapt to an ever-digital work is crucial, and businesses don’t want to be playing catch-up. The time is now to embrace the digital revolution with your team. 

Catch up on this and all-things Beyond by watching all our on-demand footage from the London event

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