Firms must adopt digital tech for the good of both business and staff

Written by Sandy Boxall, Sales Director & Co-Founder, Contract Finder Pro. 

To quote the Chinese proverb, unfortunately we now live in interesting times. With rapidly changing technology, the rise of increasing global tension, and now a pandemic threatening millions worldwide it is genuinely true that the old certainties have gone.

This is as true for businesses as well as nations. As ever though, there are always opportunities within the chaos.

Developed nation productivity has stagnated for years, with only marginal gains being achieved. Internet technology has not yet delivered the radical improvements in living standards and wealth that other industrial revolutions have. The prospects of digital transformation have not been realised, although have been discussed at great length – and plenty of consultants have made livings talking about it!

In many ways this is not surprising, most established businesses have clung to their old ways of doing things, but with a digital veneer. Processes and workflows have been made into digital mimics of the old ways – often at great expense and with limited benefit. Reporting, forecasting and resourcing structures remain wedded to the old models, just with hyperlinks not spreadsheet attachments! Commercial law follows the old models and procurement cycles the old rules. People overwhelmingly expect to work in an office and travel there to do so.

With the huge range of new technology available why do people still do this given the enormous cost in time, health (both mental and physical), environmental impacts and now the added risk of viral exposure in packed commuter trains? A combination of safety in old habits, inertia and the very real challenge of choosing what new processes or tools could be employed.

My expertise is in sales and business development, an area where people traditionally favour face to face contact, but even here there are ways to boost productivity. I’ve worked from home one or two days a week for years and have been more effective as a result. Sales is about outcomes, rather than so often the need to appear busy.

My own business Contract Finder Pro provides a complete market intelligence service for public domain opportunities, collecting data from the internet and organising it. Why attend that conference when you can get the same information from a service like ours for less than the cost of the travel to the conference – let alone the actual ticket! As salespeople we forget the power of automation and of the value of time, while we’re on the road or sitting in a conference we’re not writing that bid with the five day deadline – or worse haven’t even noticed it’s been published! Automation tools exist across all sectors and specialisms, we just need to look and adopt them.

COVID-19 represents a major threat to the world and will likely cause a recession and bankruptcies across the globe, but it also will create a push and will challenge the established norms. Firms should use the push to home-working from COVID-19 to initially test their remote links, collaboration technologies and processes, adjusting those that need support. They should then use it to challenge their basic assumptions and business models.

I believe that the companies that can grasp opportunities to work differently now will be the ones that are still standing and will grow when the crisis is over.

As part of our efforts to help our members thrive, techUK has been working with Contract Finder Pro (CFP) and secured a discount for our members.

CFP provide a full Market Intelligence service for public sector opportunities in the UK and Ireland. They collate opportunities from all UK (and Ireland) portals, enabling customers to identify new opportunities through active keyword searching and daily scheduled alerts. They offer historical searching so users can see who won previous contracts; buyer searching, so users can see what organisations have bought before and a competitor analysis capability enabling users to identify who their competitors are (e.g. users can see all firms that won 'cyber' contracts in one easy report) - long gone are the days of trying to remember who the competitors are in bid/no bid meetings!

As part of SME Week, which has unfortunately been postponed, techUK has secured a 20% discount from CFP's monthly subscription price for all its members and readers. If you're interested just use this link to register and it will automatically apply.

  • Max Chen

    Max Chen

    Policy Manager | Digital Adoption
    T 07943 640 911
  • Ellie Huckle

    Ellie Huckle

    Programme Manager | Central Government
    T 020 7331 2015

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