The Rise of the Knowledge Worker
In today’s digital climate, a growing proportion of the workforce is made up of knowledge workers, or employees who incorporate changing information into their daily roles. As technology continues to evolve and influence the way we work, knowledge workers are especially poised to benefit. By strategically implementing intelligent automation, decision support, and collaborative tools, business leaders can unlock latent worker productivity and facilitate cross-functional collaboration. The ultimate outcome of such initiatives is a bolstered competitive advantage in the marketplace, and improved employee satisfaction.
There is no doubt that the workforce we once knew is forever changed. Despite the trend to return to in-person work, the benefits realized from virtual work environments are enough to ensure that many organizations maintain hybrid workplace models going forward. Economists even predict that in the next five years, over five million jobs will be replaced by intelligent automation. This trend is enabling knowledge workers to focus on high-value tasks, leaving repetitive, manual, tasks to technology. The industries most affected by these technological changes include manufacturing, retail, construction, and office management.
To flourish in a hybrid workplace, knowledge workers must work collaboratively across digital platforms. Teams, a business communication platform from ACG partner Microsoft, is designed to integrate people, content, and tools through a central hub. This allows for instant messaging, meetings, and seamless integration with decision intelligence tools such as Microsoft Power BI dashboards. The Institute for Corporate Productivity of Babson College, led by Professor Rob Cross, carried out a study involving 1,100 companies to examine the effects of implementing such tools. The team found that collaboration platforms like Teams are five times more likely to result in higher company performance when compared to relying solely on email and traditional messaging platforms. A central collaborative environment also lowers costs and shortens project timelines, whereas a lack of collaboration leads to misunderstandings, delays, errors, and inefficiencies. By specifically using Microsoft Teams, companies see a 18.9% reduction in meetings each week and a 17.7% improvement of time-to-decision made by executives. While collaboration is a necessary ingredient of any successful digital organization, additional tools take the benefits knowledge workers experience a step further.
In order to maximize the benefits of this global digital shift, business leaders must stay up to date with new trends and technologies, either through internal teams or by leveraging the expertise of outside consultants. Utilizing collaborative digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams, as well as intelligent automation, will help ensure knowledge worker efficiency and productivity. Integrating decision intelligence tools takes this to the next level, effectively creating central platforms catered to the specific role of each knowledge worker. Lastly, by tactically using new technologies for worker training and education, knowledge workers can quickly and seamlessly adapt to new tools. These now-prominent technologies, namely collaboration platforms, decision intelligence tools, and intelligent automation methodologies, allow knowledge workers to efficiently collaborate while productively tackling high-value work.
The Astral Consulting Group brings together the analytical thinking of an engineer and the holistic business acumen of a management consultant to build data-driven cultures. Through cloud infrastructure, Astral Analytics, and real-time data visualization, we empower our clients to make the right decision at the right time. As engineers first, we developed The Astral Framework to build workflows unique to each business case, which incorporate both the “first-principles” and Agile methodologies. We pride ourselves on working closely alongside our clients throughout each engagement, offering virtual and in-person expertise every step of the way.