Connect with us

Business

THE CHANGING SHAPE OF THE WORKPLACE

Max Eaglen is a Director at Platform,

 

It wasn’t that long ago that “getting a job for life” was the aspiration of those leaving school and college.  From gaining an apprenticeship to being part of the furniture, having a salary, a pension scheme and the golden handshake – you were living the working dream.

 

We all know that the working world has changed and with technology acting as the enabler those in employment are moving jobs more now than ever – with a LV report revealing that the average UK worker changes roles once every five years, equating to around 9.4 jobs a lifetime. The ability to work “anywhere, anytime”, combined with many finding their roles made redundant by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and others wanting to opt out of the “9-to-5” means the likelihood is more temporary and less permanent roles emerging in the future workplace. A trend backed by the Office for National Statistics that estimates there is currently nearly 5 million self-employed in the UK (equating to around 15% of the workforce)1 up from 3.3 million (12%) in 20012.

 

So, what does this mean in terms of workplace? Is this the demise of the office?  At Platform where we help clients such as Vodafone, British Gas and Centrica Business solutions visualise their working world of the future – we think not. We think it means changing our ideas and beliefs of what the office means and building a space that can be wholly cooperative, that allows fluidity of working while giving flexibility yet function.  In fact, this is what we have created working with Vodafone on its Digital Innovation Hub, a technology incubator for start-ups and entrepreneurs based in Manchester’s Media City.

 

The launch of the Digital Working Hub

Billed as the workplace of the future, “the Vodafone Digital Innovation Hub will provide entrepreneurs with access to network experts, the latest technologies, including 5G, IoT and high-speed fibre and a space to work together and exchange ideas.3

 

Yet, the creation of the Digital Innovation Hub and Media City are far more than just places for those wanting to work independently. They highlight a new beginning in the world of work where cities become more agile to accommodate those working within it.  We helped Vodafone imagine just what this city might look like with V-City, a 3D visualisation created by Platform for Vodafone that uses IoT and 5G to show a snapshot of the future. Complete with smart, connected infrastructure, drone deliveries, driverless cars and 4k streaming video, it helps organisations to plan for the future and assess some of the challenges and opportunities ahead.

 

The launch of digital working hubs signifies the need for people to have face-to-face interaction with their colleagues, but not be confined to the traditional office environment. It creates a space for those moving through their working lives but not being constricted by it. The “lifestyle, travel and hospitality platform” Salina takes this one step further by blurring the lines between work and play by offering spaces you can travel to, yet live, work and co-exist for as long or as little as you want.

 

Collaborative hubs are not in themselves new. However, what if they were the office norm allowing workers to move from one city to the other? To travel while working and to use the power of the community, just maybe not their organisation’s community?  It brings a new meaning to “working away from home” and a new way of thinking of the office space.

 

What does the future workspace look like?

So, what might this new office space look like?  It goes without saying that tech will enable it allowing not only connectivity with colleagues working remotely, but those working in different continents across different time zones.

 

Taking learnings from those around you, language will no longer be a barrier as your virtual assistant translates in real-time allowing you to have conversations and meetings with those who have never spoken your native tongue.

 

Artificial Intelligence will take mundane, repetitive or highly complex, big data tasks and find meaningful patterns within them that help enhance decision making or deliver better insights into our business and our customers. Imagine VR and AR being seamlessly woven into the workplace to allow scenario planning, training via virtual visualisation and an enhanced sense of environment with VR/REAL bringing true immersive content that understands the user’s location.  This kind of full immersive technology gives rise to a much more mobile and distributed workforce and a more freelance economy of specialists contracted to deliver specific tranches of work.

 

Teams will be virtual, organic and machine based but not all, not yet.

 

The social agenda creeps higher up the priority list

As our technology races ahead and machine learning permeates throughout the workforce we will still have the need for places that better serve our creative, communal desire for human contact and face to face interaction. The ‘social’ agenda will inevitably creep higher up the list as priority for keeping a productive, successful happy workforce and if we are to avoid the possible dystopian scenarios such as the emergence of the Useless Class (people that cannot find employment means they are unable to maintain or improve their standard of living) predicted by the likes of Yuval Harari, we need to be mindful of the need to create spaces for not just as workplace solutions but social solutions helping to boost interaction, creation, innovation and dialogue and really consider the isolation risk threatened by remote working.

As last decade saw the end of the “job for life”, this decade the end to the “9-to-5” maybe the next decade will see the end of the office as we know it but open up a world of offices that we move fluidly through, collaborating and engaging with different communities.  Giving workers the chance to move and change working environments as they feel fit, it could boost creativity, help share best practice and see us becoming a global workforce like never before.

 

Max Eaglen is a Director at Platform, leaders in workplace design who help their clients look further ahead through the use of future insights.  Clients include Vodafone, HCL Technologies and AEG.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

WHY AUTOMATING CAN FUTURE PROOF YOUR BUSINESS

By Ryan Demaray, Managing Director SMB EMEA at SAP Concur

 

Every business has administration duties that can be considered mundane and time consuming  but are a necessary core function of operations. Whether it’s paying suppliers on time or processing expense requests, tasks such as these are necessary for the day-to-day running of a business – however it’s safe to say that these tasks are never ranked as the most engaging or rewarding by your employees.

With a UK recession on the horizon, finance teams are under pressure to not only control costs but provide guidance to the business on where savings can be made. This will only happen if your employees are able to focus on tasks that not just keep a business running but allow them to add further strategic value.

Automating the invoice function is just one step towards giving your finance team back valuable time, not only creating a more efficient and productive workplace, but a positive employee experience that supports growth and stability across your business.

 

The gateway to better efficiency 

From receiving the invoice, inputting data, chasing approvals and moving it down the chain of command, research shows that it can take an average of 17 business days to manually process an invoice. For SMBs with a finance team of approx. eight people, implementing an invoice management solution can save on average 69 hours per week.

By allowing the technology to do the heavy lifting, your finance team can use the time to focus on more strategic elements of the business. This includes providing them a moment to take a step back and holistically look at the spending trends and costs across your business. By doing so, they can often pinpoint spend patterns, but also identify cost reducing opportunities, providing visibility and guidance to help positively impact the bottom line in the short and long-term.

 

Enabling growth and accuracy

As your business grows the number of vendors and suppliers you use often increases in parallel. This growth in external stakeholders can cause challenges and maintaining consistent and timely payment of invoices to suppliers is crucial. The Federation of Small Business estimates that late payments contribute to 50,000 insolvencies annually, costing the UK economy £2.5bn. The UK government recognised this and in 2019 implemented a prompt payment initiative, aimed at helping small suppliers get paid on time by enterprises, with the potentially penalty of not awarding government tenders to those who do not adhere to the prompt payment practice.

In addition to this, inhibiting the lack of cashflow to small business through late or unpaid invoices can have more than just a monetary impact. With poor invoice payment practices, your business reputation is likely to suffer damage, which in turn carries consequences across with future suppliers, as well as customers.

Through invoice automation, you are able to streamline your finance and accounting processing by making sure that payments are processed in time, resulting in avoidance of payment delays, calls from suppliers querying about invoice payment timescales and vital staff time responding to these.

 

Supporting employee engagement

Employees’ experiences affect their work outcomes and carry the benefits of high engagement, increased productivity, and a lower staff turnover. Creating a better employee experience is a challenge faced by many SMBs, but once cracked can provide benefits across your business.

More than just providing a workplace environment and culture, businesses with motivated employees can find recruitment and onboarding costs reducing, with retention rates increasing.

But it’s not only the employee that benefits from a better experience – your customers do as well. With many often on the frontline of customer interaction, it’s difficult to keep customers happy if your staff member is disengaged. By employing tools that allow the automation of mundane and repetitive tasks, employees can focus on aspects of work which they care about most.

 

Future proofing for tomorrow

Digital transformation is here and for SMBs employing an automated invoice solution, is a positive step in becoming a business that is ready for scale and growth. Not only will it help benefit your bottom line, it will create positive staff experiences and efficiencies, that help truly optimise your business – now and in the future.

 

Continue Reading

Business

COULD GRAPH TECHNOLOGY BE A POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST CORONAVIRUS FRAUD?

Crisis funds and loans put in place to help support businesses during the health emergency have become a prime target for cybercriminals. Neo4j’s Amy Hodler examines how graph technology could be a powerful weapon against these scams

 

Fraudsters will use any opportunity to siphon off funds illicitly, and the pandemic is proving no exception. With coronavirus moving rapidly across the world and locking down countries in its wake, cybercriminals have been quick to launch sophisticated methods to callously exploit the situation.

Cybercriminals have been fast to impersonate trusted organisations such as the World Health Organisation, which has itself seen a five-fold increase in cyberattacks since the start of the crisis.

The pandemic is opening the doors for fraudsters who are taking advantage of changes in normal business processes, controls and working conditions to carry out fraudulent activities. Security controls, for example, are often not as strong as normal due to the speed aid is required and the fact that many people are teleworking.

Amy Hodler

Cybercriminals are using fake or stolen identities to draw down governmental emergency funds. In France, for example, the Paris Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into massive fraud of the country’s temporary unemployment scheme where fraudsters have drained €1.7 million. It is investigating potential international links to the fraud.

In a statement Paris Prosecutor Remy Heitz said that more than 1,740 fraudulent operations were discovered across the country on behalf of 1,069 different businesses asking for wire transfers to over 170 different bank accounts.

 

Can financial services’ practices help?

Aid departments and organisations should look to the mature practices of the financial services industry for a lead in combating fraud. Here firms repeatedly and meticulously check and compare transactional data to look for suspicious behaviour that may indicate an attack.

Like applications for financial aid for the impact of the coronavirus, malevolent actors look to defraud financial institutions using false identities when creating accounts and putting together loan applications. Personal data such as addresses, telephone numbers and emails are cleverly assembled to model assumed and phony identities.

 

A need for a different approach

One of the main reasons traditional approaches fall short is that most fraud detection systems are based on a relational database model where data is stored in predefined tables and columns. With large, unstructured data sets, relational databases swiftly reach their limits; queries turn out to be far too complex and response times lag. Banks and government authorities need the ability to follow a trail from one account to another, viewing a fraud network as a whole complete entity to work out how activities are linked.

Unlike relational databases, graph database technology not only represents individual items of data such as person, account number, home address, but also their relationships with one another such as how they are related. Any number of qualitative or quantitative properties can be assigned, showing complex relationships in an easy to understand way.

One of the best graph algorithms for fighting coronavirus cybercriminals is ‘PageRank’, which finds important nodes (objects) based on their relationships and interprets them using visualisation tools. For fraud detection in banking, the algorithm identifies important or influential customers who are featured in a large number of financial transactions. Nodes with a high PageRank Score can be illustrated using a visualisation tool so that they appear larger in the view and can be immediately picked up.

Another key algorithm is ‘Weakly Connected Components’, which works to reveal the hidden networks that form a fraud ring based on common identity features such as multiple applicants all residing at the same address. These hidden connections provide invaluable information when hunting down fraud.

 

Uncovering fraud rings with incredible accuracy

 Cybercriminals are continually developing attack methods, sharing infrastructures to maximise their opportunities for success. Graph technology has the capacity to help stop advanced fraud scenarios in real time.

Graph databases can help future proof an organisation’s fraud prevention initiatives by enhancing insight based on data relationships and building connected intelligence.

 

The author is Director, Analytics and AI Program at Neo4j, the world’s leading graph database company, and co-author of Graph Algorithms: Practical Examples in Apache Spark & Neo4j, published by O’Reilly Media

Continue Reading

Magazine

Partner Events

Trending

Business10 hours ago

WHY AUTOMATING CAN FUTURE PROOF YOUR BUSINESS

By Ryan Demaray, Managing Director SMB EMEA at SAP Concur   Every business has administration duties that can be considered...

News10 hours ago

VIBEPAY SETS SIGHTS ON GROWTH WITH INTEGRATION OF MORE UK BANKS AND NEW BUSINESS ACCOUNTS

VibePay is continuing on its ambitious path of growth, with the integration of more UK banks and payment providers via...

Banking10 hours ago

HOW BANKING IS USING AI TO PROCESS CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

By Dan Somers, CEO of Warwick Analytics   More banks are turning to practical AI to rapidly analyse customer conversations...

News10 hours ago

BOARD REPORT HIGHLIGHTS COMPLEX DECISION-MAKING PROCESS ACROSS BANKING AND FINANCE SECTOR

‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report from Board, reveals business decisions made in silos without modern planning tools A third (33%)...

Business10 hours ago

COULD GRAPH TECHNOLOGY BE A POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST CORONAVIRUS FRAUD?

Crisis funds and loans put in place to help support businesses during the health emergency have become a prime target...

News11 hours ago

THOUGHT MACHINE JOINS THE BANKING INDUSTRY ARCHITECTURE NETWORK (BIAN)

Thought Machine, the cloud native core banking technology firm which builds Vault, today announces it has joined the Banking Industry Architecture...

Wealth Management4 days ago

DON’T RISK IT ALL WITH NON-COMPLIANCE

By Paul Sleath, CEO at PEO Worldwide   Did you know non-compliance costs more than twice the cost of maintaining or...

News4 days ago

BANKIA TRANSFORMS THE CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE WITH BIANKA BY IPSOFT

Developed with cognitive artificial intelligence, IPsoft’s conversational agent can carry out transactional tasks, perform different roles in customer service and...

Finance4 days ago

FIDUCIARY MANAGEMENT

by Devan Nathwani, FIA and Investment Strategist at Secor Asset Management   Defined Benefit pension schemes are one of the most significant institutional...

Business4 days ago

TOUCH-FREE AUTHENTICATION FOR ALL: WHY WE NEED A SAFER PAYMENT METHOD IN THE ‘NEW NORMAL’

David Orme, SVP, Sales & Marketing, IDEX Biometrics ASA   Ever since March, when the World Health Organization encouraged people to...

Banking4 days ago

WHY BANKS NEED TO EMBRACE OPEN SOURCE COMMUNITIES

Nikolai Stankau, Director Business Development, EMEA Financial Services at Red Hat, the world’s largest enterprise open source solutions provider.  ...

FINANCIAL MARKET FINANCIAL MARKET
Wealth Management4 days ago

FOR PE TO SNAP UP “GOOD” COMPANIES, THEY MAY NEED TO WADE INTO “BAD” ECONOMIES

By  Martin Soderberg, Partner at SPEAR Capital   There’s no shortage of global challenges for investors currently, especially for those...

Business5 days ago

THE BASICS OF BUSINESS FINANCE

When you’re starting your business, you’ve got a lot to be thinking about. You need to find affordable suppliers, market...

Business5 days ago

HOW THE IMPORTANCE OF E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS GREW DURING THE PANDEMIC

Never in history has the world relied more on the internet than during this Covid-19 pandemic. With governments imposing lockdowns...

Business5 days ago

UNBANKED AND UNCONNECTED: SUPPORTING FINANCIAL INCLUSION BEYOND DIGITAL

Darren Capehorn, Director, Icon Solutions   Many of us take it for granted, but accessing basic financial services is fundamental...

Banking1 week ago

MORE THAN REGULATION – HOW PSD2 WILL BE A KEY DRIVING FORCE FOR AN OPEN BANKING FUTURE

Ralf Ohlhausen, Executive Advisor, at PPRO   Whilst initially seen as simply a regulation exercise, the second Payment Service Directive,...

Top 101 week ago

TIME TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BLACK BOX

Mike Brockman, CEO, ThingCo   If you have the unbridled joy of parenting a teenager you’ll probably know what telematics...

Banking1 week ago

BANKING’S SECOND WAVE OF TRANSFORMATION: INTEGRATING THE CLOUD-ENABLED FUTURE BANK

Keith Pearson, Head of Financial Services EMEA, ServiceNow   The last six months have seen significant changes to the financial services landscape, with operational resilience, economic recovery, cost reduction and an...

News1 week ago

RISK AND INVESTMENT SPECIALIST, CARDANO, TAKES TO DOCUMENT AND EMAIL MANAGEMENT IN THE CLOUD WITH ASCERTUS AS IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER

Ascertus also providing document comparison tool, compareDocs    Cardano, a privately-owned, purpose-built risk and investment specialist, has chosen Ascertus Limited as its implementation...

Wealth Management1 week ago

HOW SALARY SLIPS HELP YOU UNDERSTAND TAX DEDUCTIONS ON YOUR SALARY

A salary slip is defined as a document that is provided by your employer which contains the breakdown of your...

Trending