A hundred years ago business went through a period of transformation unlike anything seen before, as an incredible new technology – electricity – changed the way they operated.
The advent of electrification gave rise to a new class of executive, whose role it was to bring their organisation into this modern era - the chief electrification officer.
Of course, no one today talks about chief electrification officers, or about electrical transformation at all, for that matter.
And I suspect that in fewer than a hundred years no one will be talking about digital transformation either.
The pace of technological innovation means that all too often we put our focus on the technology, rather than what it can do. So, we talk about digital transformation - when in fact what we should be talking about is business transformation, because transformation is a constant requirement, and doesn’t end once the latest technology trend has run its course.
But there’s another good reason we need to move away from talking about digital transformation and all of the other industry jargon, tech speak, and buzzwords that comes with it. And that is because there are simply too many of them.
When I look back over my four years here at Epicor, I can point to a slew of innovations that have washed across the industry over that time, from the Cloud to the Internet of Things, to the rapid uptake of automation technology. Even technologies that were once the domain of hobbyists, such as drones and Raspberry Pi controllers, are now an accepted part of the enterprise technology toolkit.
In fact, there have been so many advances that it is hard even for technologists to keep up – let alone for the business stakeholders who these advances directly benefit.
We can’t slow down the march of technology, of course, but we can make it simpler for business users to benefit from it. And it starts with setting aside the buzzwords and discussing the application of transformative technology in terms that business users understand.
One of the solutions commonly proposed is to educate business users on digital technology. While this can help, it doesn’t account for the fact that most business users have enough on their plates already.
What needs to change here is us – the technology specialists and providers – so that we can make our offerings more relatable for the people using them. By overcoming the barriers of language and jargon, we can quickly convey meaning and accelerate the journey to tangible outcomes.
At Epicor, we recently undertook a global rebranding effort led by our chief marketing officer Paul Stoddart. One of Paul and his team’s key realisations was that while we were adept at explaining what our core enterprise resource planning (ERP) software does, we weren’t doing a good enough job of explaining its benefits for each industry’s users in a language they could understand.
One specific sector that warrants clearer language is aged care. Technology is critical to the sector, which needs significant uplift in its digital infrastructure and a boost in the digital skillset of its workforce. For instance, released earlier this year, the Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety final report revealed over 148 recommendations were needed to improve the aged care sector. In response, the Morrison Government committed $17.7 billion over five years ($3.45 billion per year) at the 2021 Federal Budget.
From the Budget, Upskilling and training staff, as well as offering better wages is also key to the industry bouncing back. Aged care suppliers and staff must have access to technology solutions in order to assist in the digital landscape shift while encouraging them to embrace change.
But we cannot simply put that task back on the sector’s participants. Delivering the benefits of digital transformation in aged care requires us to frame those benefits in terms of their potential for business transformation and communicate them in a common language.
We see the same requirement in the manufacturing sector. Concepts such as Industry 4.0, which describes a manufacturing sector governed by data, will bring enormous benefits, but only if the pathways to those benefits can be explained in terms manufacturers will understand.
Technologies such as the Cloud, Internet of Things and automation will be vital in helping Australian organisations emerge with strength into the post-COVID world. But we also need to ensure that we don’t inadvertently throw barriers in their way – and that includes language barriers.
We don’t need to know the jargon of the energy industry to benefit from electricity. Nor should we need to know every digital business to benefit from digital transformation.
Let’s all make a commitment to removing jargon from all our materials moving forward - not an easy task but a critical one. That means throwing out the buzzwords and focusing on building a common language if we are to reap the benefits of transformation as quickly as possible.
About Epicor Software Corporation
Epicor Software Corporation equips hard-working businesses with enterprise solutions that keep the world turning. For nearly 50 years, Epicor customers in the aged care, automotive, building supply, distribution, manufacturing, and retail industries have trusted Epicor to help them do business better. Epicor’s innovative solution sets are carefully curated to fit customer needs and built to respond flexibly to their fast-changing reality. With deep industry knowledge and experience, Epicor accelerates every customer’s ambitions, whether to grow and transform, or simply become more productive and effective. Visit www.epicor.com/en-au/ for more information.