Untapped customer-facing employees hold key to next wave of digital transformation

Press Release

Untapped customer-facing employees hold key to next wave of digital transformation


SYDNEY – September 26, 2017 –
Streamlined access to accurate and up-to-date information is the lifeblood of successful digital transformation – but the workers who interact with customers or patients feel they are still being left out of the loop.

New research released today reveals that only 21 per cent of firstline workers are currently involved in digital transformation initiatives. A further 33 per cent are not involved but would like to be.

There’s scant evidence of firstline worker antipathy to, or fear of, automation. The survey found that 67 per cent of firstline workers agreed that the ability to work closely with automation and AI enabled systems was key to developing a successful modern workforce. Almost seven out of ten (66 per cent) feel that automation can make processes more flexible. The survey, commissioned by Microsoft Australia, reveals that 77 per cent of employees – both customer-facing firstline workers and managers – believe that digital transformation and technology are significant issues for every organisation.

Transforming customer experience was ranked as the number one strategic priority by respondents (22 per cent) followed by achieving above average profitability and revenue growth (18 per cent) and digital transformation (10 per cent).

While there’s clear appetite for technology-led reform across all employee categories, the survey reveals that firstline workers – the very people who engage with customers directly – feel they are largely underused in many digital transformation projects.

74 per cent of employees, both customer facing Firstline Workers and managers, believe the culture of a company starts with its Firstline Workers

Appetite for transformation

There’s obvious support for digital transformation and enterprise innovation – with 84 per cent of firstline workers agreeing that technology can help streamline processes, while 82 per cent say technology is key to unleashing efficiencies. The research also revealed 62 per cent of firstline workers want to work with intelligent automated systems.

They also recognise the benefits technology offers in terms of improving work-life balance, easing access to new skills and training, improving engagement levels and enabling collaboration with co-workers.

“As rote work is increasingly performed by machines, human interaction and knowledge-based expertise will become more important to firstline workers,” Ian Heard, General Manager, Digital Workplace & Collaboration, Microsoft Australia, said. “They’ll use technology to collaborate, to exercise greater creative and strategic freedom, and to bring real value to the work they perform.”

Microsoft’s vision for empowering Firstline Workers hinges around Microsoft 365 F1, a new offering that brings together Office 365 F1, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent solution to empower all workers.

The breadth and integration across solutions including Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft IoT, Microsoft AI, and mixed reality with HoloLens is also primed for enterprises leading the way to transform the firstline experience.

More than four out of five (81 per cent) survey respondents feel that strong leadership is key to a successful digital transformation program – but 36 per cent of firstline workers say their organisation is not effective when it comes to communicating information about such initiatives, while 39 per cent don’t have a clear idea of what their organisation is doing with digital technology.

The survey shows that firstline workers feel excluded from digital transformation initiatives, with almost two thirds (61 per cent) saying they don’t yet have an active and participatory role in how these technologies are deployed.

Organisations that engaged firstline workers in their digital transformation initiatives are better placed to succeed with their strategic priorities

Appetite for transformation

There’s obvious support for digital transformation and enterprise innovation – with 84 per cent of firstline workers agreeing that technology can help streamline processes, while 82 per cent say technology is key to unleashing efficiencies. The research also revealed 62 per cent of firstline workers want to work with intelligent automated systems.

They also recognise the benefits technology offers in terms of improving work-life balance, easing access to new skills and training, improving engagement levels and enabling collaboration with co-workers.

“As rote work is increasingly performed by machines, human interaction and knowledge-based expertise will become more important to firstline workers,” Ian Heard, General Manager, Digital Workplace & Collaboration, Microsoft Australia, said. “They’ll use technology to collaborate, to exercise greater creative and strategic freedom, and to bring real value to the work they perform.”

Microsoft’s vision for empowering Firstline Workers hinges around Microsoft 365 F1, a new offering that brings together Office 365 F1, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent solution to empower all workers.

The breadth and integration across solutions including Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft IoT, Microsoft AI, and mixed reality with HoloLens is also primed for enterprises leading the way to transform the firstline experience.

More than four out of five (81 per cent) survey respondents feel that strong leadership is key to a successful digital transformation program – but 36 per cent of firstline workers say their organisation is not effective when it comes to communicating information about such initiatives, while 39 per cent don’t have a clear idea of what their organisation is doing with digital technology.

The survey shows that firstline workers feel excluded from digital transformation initiatives, with almost two thirds (61 per cent) saying they don’t yet have an active and participatory role in how these technologies are deployed.

About Microsoft 

Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.