Reading some of this year’s predictions, starting on page 32, you might be tempted to go back to bed and wake up again in 2020. The year of the vaporworm; the year the internet crashes; the year the skills gap widens; the year of phantom drones; the year of Brexit. What’s not to
like? Behind the headlines, however, there is much to be excited about. Technological advancements like robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning and AI have the potential to transform not just the world of work, but all aspects of our lives, from driving and home automation to education and healthcare.
For office workers, these new technologies can help overcome persistent productivity challenges, through the application of machine learning and the development of personal assistant- type capabilities. Just improving access to documents and corporate information could bring big dividends for the 95% of UK office workers questioned by M-Files who say they have trouble locating the most recent version of a file or the 86% who end up recreating documents simply because they can’t find the original on their corporate network.
Existing technologies offer significant benefits too. As we report on page 31, the implementation of a paperless, cloud and app-based mobile working solution is saving CleanSafe two hours a day on admin and enabling some engineers to squeeze in an extra job a day, potentially adding as much as £1 million to the company’s annual turnover. Summing up the benefits of the integrated system, Finance Director Caroline Bugg says: “No more paper, no more data entry, fewer customer queries and quicker invoicing.” No wonder Brian Fortune, PFU (EMEA) General Manager Sales, advises businesses seeking efficiency gains “to look for the paper”, as we report on page 28.
Of course, there is nothing new about this advice, which, amongst other things, is forcing printer vendors to diversify their offerings and develop new revenue streams. This doesn’t mean giving up on paper completely, and on page 22 we hear how, and why, Konica Minolta is combining the old with the new in its ground-breaking Workplace Hub.
James Goulding, Editor email@example.com