Consider this: in 1975, a supercomputer cost £300 million. Today, the most ‘souped-up’ iPhone 5 costs about £700, and delivers the same performance and power. If, like 72% of the UK population, you own a smartphone, you are carrying a supercomputer in your pocket.
While it can be easy to dismiss the ‘next big thing’ as merely hype when a new ‘life-changing’ gadget is released every few months, it cannot be ignored that technologies now exist with the potential to fundamentally disrupt how we live and work. A 2013 report by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on disruptive tech identified 12 breakthroughs, including the mobile web, the automation of knowledge work, the ‘internet of things’, the cloud, advanced robotics, autonomous vehicles and 3D printing.
What does this mean for HR? Well, some of these technologies are already impacting the function. The mobile web and cloud technology, for example, have been driving thinking around bring your own device, flexible working and HCM for a while, and it would be hard to find a company that isn’t addressing these areas.
HR directors need to consider what the future of work could look like and begin to plan for the decade ahead. But the need for HR to take a lead in technology is about more than just tools; it’s about behaviour. It’s no longer enough for IT to implement technology and HR to write a policy around it. Every data breach and social media scandal is down to people; technology is merely a conduit. And HR must be involved in communicating collaborative and self-service systems, or the organisation risks no one using them.
In this guide, we explore disruptive tech’s impact on the world of work, today and tomorrow.
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