Posts Tagged ‘Technology’

Tech at Work – Leaders Need to Rethink their Approach

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Technology for people at work is now considered a ‘complicated’ relationship. Such is the assertion in the latest pwc TechAtWork report (read it here). Based on their international survey of 12,000 people, pwc reported the following key observations:

  • Leaders say they-re choosing tech with their people in mind, but employees don’t agree.
  • People want digital skills, but aren’t being given the opportunity
  • Employees value the human touch at work, but also like a digital assist
  • Efficiency and status drive interest in advancing digital skills.

It is well worth the time to read the full article, and to fully appreciate what these points are really making. But based on them, pwc make four recommendations for leaders on how to get more buy-in and interest in tech from their people:

  1. You can’t separate technology from your people’s experience and what motivates them
  2. Understand what it’s like to do the job
  3. Rethink who needs to be in the room when making decisions
  4. Upskilling is not traditional training – change your mindset.

Leaders of organisations need to review these recommendations, and benchmark themselves against them. The Avondale Business School (ABS) can help you with your leadership, to find out how, contact Warrick Long at or 02 49802168

The Upside of Addressing the Downside of Technology

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Digital and mobile technologies give – but they also take away. Leaders of organisations need to play an active role in designing workplaces that encourage the adoption of healthy technology habits. Such is the thrust of a recent paper entitle ‘Positive Technology’ (read it here) by Deloitte.

This paper alerts leaders to the down-side of technology, warning about the potential perils of workplace digital technology. Some of the key dangers identified include:

  • Constant streams of messages resulting in a deteriorating of the individual’s ability to adequately process information;
  • The ease of creating virtual meetings making it too easy to include more people, and thus create opportunities for days of endless meetings; and
  • The unhealthy use of workplace technology which has seen increasing instances of poor sleep, anxiety and depression amoung employees; and

A very positive aspect of this report is the inclusion of suggestions for employers to address these issues. A few examples of these include:

  • Using available data of employee usage patterns to help individuals better understand and regulate their use of technology;
  • Incorporating ‘nudge’ strategies into workflow processes and applications to help break technology addiction;
  • Ensuring that the organisations leaders openly display healthy and balanced technology habits.

The article is an important contribution to current discussions on the role of technology in the workplace, where the speed of technology adoption and change is outpacing effective workplace practices and culture. By being reminded of this issue, we are now in a position to choose to care for our employees more than we care about technology.

You can contact the Avondale Business School if you would like more information on how we can help you with this, or any other business issue.

Are You Digitally Mature?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We have no choice – digital disruption is on us, and those organisations that can adapt and adopt quickest will be the market leaders in an increasingly competitive environment.

This finding comes from the recently released research through the MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with and sponsored by Deloitte Digital. Their report, ‘Coming of Age Digitally’ (click to view the report) shares the findings of their research project, involving more than 4300 managers and executives from around the world.

Also included in the findings are some important insights regarding companies adapting to the digital environment, including:

  • Digitally maturing companies push decision-making further down into the organisation;
  • Digital business is faster, more flexible and distributed, and has a different culture and mindset than traditional business;
  • Developing – not just having – digital leaders sets digitally maturing companies apart.

Obstacles that companies may face as they attempt to mature digitally include the need for a change in mindset, increased collaboration, and the need to move quickly. The research report offers a number of suggestion and practical steps to adapt, including experimentation and iteration, continued learning and pushing decision-making down the organisation.

Digital transformation is occurring so rapidly that organisations need all the help they can get in keeping pace with this change. This applies to all organisations, profit and not-for-profit. Reports such as the one from MIT Sloan can help you keep abreast of best practice, and the Avondale Business School is happy to partner with you to see your business succeed.

Strategic IT Predictions – 2017 And Beyond

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It PredictionsIn October Daryl Plummer of Gartner delivered their 10 strategic predictions for the next 3 – 5 years. These guys are worth listening to, they have a 78% accuracy rate!

A summary of the predictions can be found in an article by Neal Weinberg (find it here) and is well worth the short amount of time it will take to read. Some of them could be major game-changers for all business, and as business leaders, you need to be aware of what is looming. How prepared are you for these? A very small sample of the predictions follow, if you want to know them all, you will have to follow the link to the full article.

  1. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in virtual reality
  2. By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen
  3. By 2020, algorithms will alter behaviour of billions of global workers in a positive way
  4. By 2022, the Internet of Things will save consumers and businesses $1 trillion a year
  5. By 2020, 40% of employees can cut healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker.

If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long:


P: 02 4980 2168

The Smart Office

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Smart OfficeSo what makes a smart office? Adam Uzialko in a recent Business News Daily blog (read it here) gives a quick overview of how technology is changing business. So what is the smart office? It is where technology makes the physical work environment intelligent and adaptable. The aim of the smart office is to unify operations under one system and empower that system with machine-learning technologies.

But what of the employees? Well the theory is to free them up to do real work, the type of work technology cannot do. See our previous blog: ‘Machines Replacing Humans’ for more details on what type of work this might involve.

The smart office will most likely incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smart lights and thermostats, virtual reality cameras and speakers and more. Machine learning will do things like direct enquiries to the most suitable person in the company based on that person’s skill sets, and interconnectivity and control will be dominated by automated systems all linked to apps able to run from hand held devices.

However, as with most office environments, no one size fits all, and technology needs to be tailored to each company’s specific needs. And budget. Smart office technology can be expensive so companies need to be confident there will be a payback.

Uzialko ends his blog by proposing that maybe the smartest office at all will be the no office work environment, which will enable employees to work from anywhere at any time. But a word of caution, our own research in this area has found that this can soon turn into employees being required to work everywhere all the time (see the blog Anytime Email and Work-life Balance ).

If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long:


P: 02 4980 2168

Machines Replacing Humans

Friday, September 23, 2016

AutomationAre you ready to be replaced by a machine? It is much closer than you think. A July 2016 article in McKinsey Quarterly (Read it here) reports on a major investigation undertaken by McKinsey to determine how much of each occupation automation could take over right now. At the moment, 45% of activities people are paid to do now could be automated.

However, while technical feasibility is a big factor, there are other factors to also consider, including:

  • The cost of developing and deploying;
  • The current supply and cost of labour;
  • Benefits beyond labour substitution – fewer errors, better quality, etc.
  • Regulatory and social-acceptance issues (are we really ready for a robot to perform routine surgery on us?)

The reality is also that it is more technically feasible to automate predictable physical activities than unpredictable ones (e.g. assembly line welding versus raising outdoor animals). Interestingly, though, it is not manufacturing that has the highest potential for automation, instead, it is accommodation and food services, with its routine activities of preparing, cooking and serving food, clean-up, preparing beverages, and more.

Another area that can have high rates of automation is in the middle-skill jobs, that include data collection and processing. This is where one-third of workplace time is spent and has great potential across all jobs. But in the financial services sector, it takes up on average 43% of a worker’s time and is ripe for automating.

Activities with a low potential for automation are typically those that involve managing and directing people, or where expertise is applied to decision making, planning or creative work. Humans also still need to determine proper goals, interpret results and provide common sense checks for solution. And the sector with the lowest technical feasibility of automation is education, as the essence of teaching is deep expertise and complex interactions with other people.

The article concludes with a very interesting point – the majority of the benefits of automation may come not from reducing labour costs but from raising productivity through fewer errors, higher output, and improved quality, safety and speed.

Are you ready for the future? If you would like further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

Cell Phone Distraction

Monday, July 20, 2015

Cell Phone DistractionTurning our cell phones onto silent in order to focus and not be distracted may just be a fallacy. A new study just released (read it here) has found that where we even hear or feel the buzz of our cell phone, our concentration breaks and we are more likely to make errors in what we are doing.

In the study, those participants whose phones stayed completely silent were able to complete the tasks with fewer errors than those whose phones made even the slightest noise; even a vibrating buzz was enough to distract to the point of errors being made. And for all those who have purchased the new Apple Watch – the small buzz you feel gently letting you know you have new messages or a phone call is all it takes to break your concentration and increase the possibility for you to make more errors.

It seems the only way to ensure your cell phone does not distract you, is to turn it completely off, or put is somewhere we you cannot see or hear it at all. As useful and convenient as they are, cell phones do pose a threat to our concentration levels and accuracy in our work. So when you really need to focus – turn off the cell phone.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168

Forbes’s Top 10 IT Trends for 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

IT TrendsForbes’s magazine recently published a list of the Top 10 IT Trends for 2015 (Read it here). As a business leader, you will want to keep on top of these and ensure you are ready for what lies ahead. For those of us old enough to remember life before computers, this list is like a science-fiction movie of our childhood. Take a look at what is coming:

  1. Computing Everywhere

Smartphones will become as integrated into business as they are in our personal lives. Consequently the smarter business operator will ensure they provide an outstanding user experience for their applications.

  1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT will grow exponentially. What is the IoT?, well it is where objects (or things) are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity which exchanges data with the manufacturers, operators or other devices. Examples are in environmental monitoring (climate conditions) and remote health monitoring (pacemakers, hearing aids, etc.).

  1. 3D Printing

This is becoming cheaper and more accessible by the day, which will mean it integrates into business more and more and will explode into business processes.

  1. Advanced, Pervasive, Invisible Analytics

All the data that is being collected is being held in ever growing pools of data. As every app collects data, this information will be available to interrogate and explore.

  1. Context-Rich Systems

Expect that the systems we use will become more alert and responsive to their surroundings. For example, security measures.

  1. Smart Machines

The machines we use will increasingly learn from the data they collect and act accordingly. Forbes’s predicts this to be the most disruptive innovation of the new IT era.

  1. Cloud/Client Architecture

More and more applications will be centrally located, enabling simultaneous use of apps on multiple devices.

  1. Software-Defined Infrastructure and Applications

On the very near horizon software will dictate what IT infrastructure looks like. It will change the entire business model for infrastructure development.

  1. Web-Scale IT

The only limits for companies like amazon, Google and Facebook are that of the digital environment. They are not impeded by geographic, cultural or language boundaries. Companies that thrive will think Web-Scale.

10. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection

The new way of functioning will move away from perimeter style IT defenses, and instead find security measures embedded throughout the entire business process.

How many of these were you already aware of? How many have you planned to integrate into your business? Your future success may well depend on being ready.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

How Well Is Your IT Managed?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

I am so old I once worked in an office with no computers! Since then I have seen IT creep into every aspect of organisations, and continually morph into its next life-form. I wonder if we had the opportunity to scrap all our existing IT and design something form the very start what it would look like?

As a consequence of this evolutionary approach to managing IT it is easy for it to become a bit of a ‘dogs breakfast’ and lack a number of key efficiency and security measures. A recent article on the Life Hacker ? Blog site (Read it here) looks at the top 10 mistakes small business makes in the area of IT.


The article expands on each mistake, and it is worthwhile taking the time to read this short article, however, as a teaser, here are the 10 mistakes in point form:

10. Not investing in training

9. Using too many communications tools

8. No social media strategy

7. Not taking security seriously

6. Not using two-step authentication

5. Failing to back-up data

4. Email chaos

3. No actual tech support

2. Slow internet

1. You’ll need to read the article…

So after reviewing the article think about your business and whether you have all these bases covered. Not your job? Then find out who’s it is and check with them.

The Avondale Business School can advise your organisation on being effective in these areas – find out how by contacting Warrick Long at the Avondale Business School.


P: 02 4980 2168

Anytime Email and Work-Life Balance

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Email has extended its reach beyond the traditional workplace into the non-work hours of employees, disrupting the work-life balance. What was once ‘anywhere any time’ has become ‘everywhere all the time’ (Mazmanian, Orlikowski, & Yates, 2013). A new study by Avondale Business School researchers (available here) examines the effects of email intrusion on work-life balance from the perspective of a Christian faith-based organisation (Adventist Schools Australia), which has the additional dimension of espousing a ‘healthy’ balance between work and life.

WorklifeThe survey of 500 employees of ASA, attracting 208 respondents, found that nearly all employees owned mobile devices that enable them to access work email outside work time, and that they frequently use these devices when not at work to access work emails. The employees perceived that anytime work emails have provided them with increased flexibility, but at the same time generated greater and frequently unrealistic expectations of them, by parents, students and to a minor degree school administrators. These employees also often felt that these anytime emails led them to working longer hours, generated a sense of being overloaded, contrary to the espoused values of a work and life balance and the importance of family.

Interestingly, for these employees the solution to the anytime work email intrusion and resulting stress is not some external control, like a mandatory “no email” period each day. To most of these employees external control would be much too restrictive and teaching was perceived to be and has always been more than just an 8.30am to 3.30pm responsibility. So what is the solution? It appears that each employee needs to determine their own boundaries, and stick with them.

If you would further information on how Avondale Business School can help your organisation, contact Warrick Long


P: 02 4980 2168