Your people are your most important technology asset

Technology removes the burden of repetitive, often mind-numbing tasks and frees people up to do what humans do best: be creative, insightful, and collaborative.
Written by James L. McQuivey, Contributor

The robot overlords you've been promised haven't arrived yet. It's understandable that you might think they were coming soon, since media coverage of technology in the workplace has focused on an inevitable conflict between human jobs and robotic automation. This doom-and-gloom scenario isn't coming to pass, however, and it never will. That's because people are the most important technology asset that companies have. 

Back in 2011, when McDonald's announced it would install 800 self-serve kiosks across France to take orders and payment, the company was criticized for scheming to cut out thousands of jobs. Since then, McDonald's has increased self-serve kiosks across the country, the continent, and now the world. What happened to hiring? By 2017, McDonald's France was hiring 20% more people per year than before the kiosks were installed. So much for the prophesied conflict between people and technology. 

At Forrester, we understand what's really happening. Yes, robots, automation, and technologies of all kinds -- from Microsoft Teams to Salesforce to Zoom -- are showing up in more people's work lives, taking our time and effort to learn and use. But the outcome of so much technology, when it's done right, is that it removes humans from the burden of repetitive, often mind-numbing tasks and frees them up to do what humans do best: be creative, insightful, and collaborative. 

As part of Forrester's Technology & Innovation North America event, I'll present a keynote entitled, Make Your People the Key to Your Creativity. This session will kick off a track at the forum designed to highlight the role of employees in what we call a future fit enterprise. In the track, we'll talk about employee experience, burnout, performance management, inclusive leadership, and where we stand on hybrid work plans. To support these sessions, we'll use new data we acquired from surveys of thousands of workers in the US and five other countries around the world. 

Will it surprise you to learn that only 24% of US workers believe the company they work for is very creative? Wait until I share the data that shows what effect that belief has on the way someone brings their best self to work. It affects how they feel about management, process, and even the technology strategy of the organization. 

All of this should help put the title of this article into context. If you invest in technology that frees up your people to be creative, they turn around and use the same technology to be more inventive and collaborative. They change the processes of your organization, generating more customer-obsessed products and experiences. This then stimulates the organization to provide even better technology to support their ambitions, and before you know it, you're turning a flywheel that will run as long as you want it to.

You just have to view your people as your most important technology asset.

To learn more, register to attend Technology & Innovation North America here.

This post was written by Vice President, Principal Analyst James L. McQuivey, PhD, and it originally appeared here.

Editorial standards