What is the democratization of technology and why does it matter in business?
In the past, IT departments were viewed as back-office functions that only supported the rest of the organization. Operations was their main focus. About, however, is changing as technology becomes more widespread throughout the organization.
As well see in this article, the democratization of technology not only means providing more people with technology, it also means increasing the capabilities of non-technical workers.
What Is the Democratization of Technology and Why Does It Matter?
To democratize something means to spread it out evenly to a group of people.
The democratization of technology, therefore, refers to distributing technology to a group of people.
In a business setting, this means:
- Providing tools to more employees. As technology advances and permeates every aspect of the workplace, more and more employees are able to use technology to perform their job. Also, cloud computing has sprung up globally, enabling businesses of every size to access more technology. Employees, likewise, are able to access powerful software from their web browsers, whether they are working from home or in the office.
- Elevating employee skill levels. Digital skills are also being increased across the workforce. The democratization of technology, in other words, also means democratizing skills. Today, the democratization of digital skills is critical, since employees must have the right skills in order to stay productive in today’s digital workplace.
- Increasing the capabilities of the software that employees do use. Another major trend in workplace technology is the increasing sophistication of B2B platforms. No-code platforms, for instance, can be used to automate workflows, develop mini-apps, and enhance the organization’s composability – all without typing a single line of code.
In short, as IT becomes more pivotal two companies around the world, technology is being democratized throughout the organization.
For the most part, this is a good thing for both employees and their employers.
The Advantages of Democratizing Technology
The benefits of effective technology democratization include:
- Increased employee productivity. The more access employees have to digital tools, and the more skilled they are at using those tools, the more productive they will be.
- Greater innovation. New tools, such as the no-code platforms mentioned earlier, enable employees to innovate in ways that weren’t possible before the introduction of these tools. Certain platforms, such as digital adoption platforms, enable employees to automate workflows or even create “automation bots” that interact with employees.
- Enhanced agility. Technology drives efficiency and performance wherever it is applied. The more democratized technology is within an organization, the more quickly the organization can adopt new tools, move, and transform.
- Improved resilience. Today, digital disruption is the norm. Organizations that cannot adopt new technology and democratize it quickly risk losing market share to the companies that can. On the other hand, organizations that have structured digital adoption programs in place can integrate new technology more quickly and stay resilient in the face of digital disruption.
- Improved organizational performance. Ultimately, an organization that can turn technology into an asset – and increase its productivity, efficiency, innovation, and agility – will perform better in the marketplace.
Clearly, there are benefits to democratizing technology within an organization.
Democratizing technology, however, requires planning, effort, and organizational change.
4 Steps to Democratizing Technology in Your Organization
Here are a few steps you can take to help improve your organization’s digital maturity and democratized technology within your company.
1. Obtain buy-in from leadership
One of the most important points to focus on is executive support.
Without buy-in from leadership, any business initiative, including a digital initiative, will likely fizzle out.
To secure that buy in, make a case for the business value of technology democratization, highlighting some of the benefits mentioned above.
2. Invest in a digital adoption program
A digital adoption program – ideally one that is built upon a digital adoption platform – can accelerate the implementation and adoption of digital tools within your business.
By ensuring that employees have adequate onboarding, training, and support, you will also be ensuring that they will be more productive in less time period
3. Create a culture of learning
A culture of learning means that employees are ready, willing, and interested in learning new things, including new tools and workflows.
Since the democratization of technology relies on engagement from the workforce, a culture that prioritizes learning will be more conducive to digital adoption.
To foster this culture, hire employees who are inherently curious, ambitious, and eager to develop their careers. Also, build robust support mechanisms for the workforce, such as employee training programs, mentorship programs, career development programs, and other opportunities that support their growth.
4. Modernize your digital ecosystem
Finally, it is critical to have a modern IT infrastructure and a modern set of digital tools for your workers.
The democratization of technology, after all, is fundamentally built upon distributing new technology and tools to the entire workforce. The more you provide modern tools such as cloud platforms, for instance, the easier it will be to boost employee engagement and productivity – two major benefits of technology democratization.