In the last year, we saw arguably more disruption than in a number of previous years combined.
Adoption of technologies may have been underway to some extent, but 2020 saw an uptake in remote working and digitisation become essential for more businesses than ever before. While many predicted enormous changes in industry, few could have expected how it actually began.
At Nukon, we were really fortunate to ‘weather the storm’, to be able to retain our great team and help our clients taking steps to digitise due to the pandemic.
Rather than dwelling on the year that was, let’s consider how we move forward.
What does ‘moving forward’ look like in 2021?
For team Nukon, and a lot of other businesses, 2020 saw a transition to working from home. With that shift, some of us (including myself), spent a lot less time commuting and saw our teams maintaining high levels of productivity.
Particularly in the state of Victoria, a 112-day lockdown led to a change in working habits and we’ll see a lingering change of the working landscape.
It’s likely we see more of this change happening around Australia, and we expect it to impact the way cities are designed (we’re already seeing some of this in the post-COVID recovery plan for Melbourne). The way we manage workplaces going forward – including those where working from home is not a practical option.
Aligning priorities and adapting to change
In 2020, many businesses learned they can do much more virtually – because they were forced to adapt and take up tools to enable this change.
Some of the basic pleasures we enjoyed found ways to operate in 2020 that hadn’t been adopted on a large scale. The take up of simple tools like digital menus meant local cafes and restaurants saw a change in the way service is delivered, which meant their labour needs changed dramatically.
This kind of digital shift is already happening in other industries.
Technologies are becoming much more acceptable to customers, and this brings changes for many organisations. And it starts by taking existing paperwork and turn it into data that can be easily accessed and used.
Manufacturing has been spoken about at length, and within that, the Federal Government has identified recycling and clean energy as priorities in its COVID-19 recovery plan. Significant reform changes mean Australia will progress towards the circular economy model, which will bring with it a need for more data.
Why more data?
Because manufacturers need to be accountable for their resource recovery and waste management practices, being able to monitor, measure and adjust to meet set targets means having access to the right information.
In Australia, much like other parts of the world, we’re seeing a much bigger focus on waste and recycling. With more people wanting to live in a sustainable way, there’s a need to understand the true cost of products and to find a way to get items back into the supply chain for reuse.
Nukon have worked with a couple of key companies building solutions in this space. It’s very exciting and something we hope to continue doing more of.
Leveraging AI, machine learning and analytics
We’re lucky to be growing our consultant teams and with that comes the news that Nukon now have a principal consultant based in Perth.
Ben brings with him a range of experience in machine learning and artificial intelligence, adding some additional capacity to our existing team. We use a lot of technologies – both off-the-shelf and custom applications – so having the extra capacity in machine learning and AI will deliver self-service data solutions for our customers.
What we hope to see this year
We canvassed our team and asked them what they want to see more of in 2021, and there were a couple of key themes.
Adoption of technology
It’s been talked about for years under the umbrella of technologies, digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and many other names, but 2020 pushed many more companies to re-examine digitised processes and digital tools.
We want to ensure businesses take on the technology, continue to do the rollouts and improve their operations. The proof point of 2020 is there are some very successful ways to change without compromising productivity levels.
Another key consideration for businesses is safety and particularly personal safety in the workplace. Increasing safety and minimising risk for employees is front-of-mind, but many businesses are worried this might mean compromising output. There’s lots of ways of ensuring employee safety while still improving the output and quality to get a strong result for everyone.
Some of the digital safety workflows Nukon are working with at the moment are really interesting ways of doing this, and we’d like to see more of this going forward.
Focus on continued learning
Nukon’s team, being passionate technology people, are dedicated to continued learning. They often spend time each week (even if they can only spare an hour) ensuring their skills are up-to-speed. Online learning platforms, micro-credentials and short courses through our sister company, Skills Lab, make continued learning more accessible than ever.
It’s not just important for our team, but also for those we work with to bring that knowledge into their operations. Within the SAGE Group, we have employed a couple of digital apprentices who will learn critical digital skills through Skills Lab while working alongside those already in the industry. It’s a great approach and we’re really excited to bring these people into the team.
Finally, it goes without saying that we want to see a continued focus on cyber security. Given we’re significantly online these days, making sure the systems are designed with this in mind is crucial. I’m not talking about a ‘lift and shift’ approach, we should be trying to understand the right way to approach a problem. This means making sure we secure your data but still make it usable and available so you can get the most value from it.
For our team, we want to ensure we get the most out of 2021 and continue helping our clients move forward. If you’re unsure how to continue your digital journey, or looking for advice on digital tools, we’re here to help.