By Josh Ellyson, Senior Digital Asset Management Analyst at GP Strategies, an LGT company

As a 20-year veteran of digital asset management and business process automation, I have seen many large and small organizations needing to pivot business and workforce organization. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated what was already in play. That is, the need for businesses to become more agile, efficient, and effective because of increasing competition, cost pressures, and more demanding customers.

A recent Sitecore whitepaper shows that since the pandemic, operational efficiency has jumped to be the top transformation driver for financial firms. Another study by Sitecore and Coveo found that Covid-19 has accelerated a re-evaluation of ways of doing business, with two-thirds (63%) of manufacturing executives agreeing that their organization’s business model has changed. These industry trends are underlined by GP Strategies’ own recent survey of more than 500 global HR and business leaders.

Fixing the chronically leaking boat

Warren Buffet encapsulated the issue well when he said, “In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” Solving business problems starts with a well-designed change management strategy. It is important to state that technology doesn’t, or shouldn’t, drive change; rather it should support it.

The challenge, of course, is how do you change the boat? I work at GP Strategies, a Learning Technologies Group company and global leader in the growing workplace digital learning and talent management market. We’ve deployed Sitecore Content Hub, but not as a traditional marketing digitization platform. Instead, we use it to improve the workforce training and development solutions we offer customers to help them deliver business change by moving rapidly from in-person to online training. A business is the sum of its people, and their skills and capabilities are fundamental to delivering effective change.

In many sectors one of the most important business drivers for change is workforce retention and up-leveling. Manufacturers, for example, are becoming tech companies – with IoT, 5G connectivity, AI, machine learning – which means employees need significant retraining. Covid-19 has also accelerated retirement , shrinking the traditional five-generation manufacturing workforce to three or less. That equates to a huge loss of human capital and know-how.

40% of the world's jobs lag in digital enablement

Sectors like manufacturing and finance, which are typically slow to change, together account for nearly 40% of the world’s jobs, according to IBIS World estimates. These companies need to look to their people as the fulcrum of change and give them the right tools and processes to enable them to define and execute competitive strategies, speed time to market, and consistently adhere to ever-changing industry regulations. Traditional industries also face increased competition to recruit emerging talent, as many new entrants to the workforce covet tech sector jobs.

These businesses had employee learning and development that typically relied on in-person or classroom-based training. And they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and many hours travelling to their factory floors and workplaces around the world to deliver that training. The training development process also reflected traditional and somewhat rigid business processes, using a linear, waterfall approach. It was slow, costly, and crucially, errors and changes were often only realized in post-production when expensive to correct.

Accelerated workforce transformation

Ensuring a bank employee understands how the business needs to adapt to new financial regulations, or a line worker understands agile, just-in-time manufacturing, cannot wait for the pandemic to end so in-person training can resume. Yet an organization cannot really deliver meaningful business change until the workforce is changed or given a new direction.

This is why GP Strategies is using Sitecore Content Hub as a single, centralized Learning Content Hub – to help their customers make workforce enablement and transformation easier, faster, and less costly. Having a centralized, controlled, and managed platform increases security as well.

Content Hub replaces the waterfall approach to workforce enablement and training content with one that is dynamic and cyclical: create, approve, store, maintain, update, and review. It’s a creative way of using and reaping the benefits of Content Hub beyond the traditional use case as a marketing DAM. Read our new Sitecore-GP Strategies case study on how we approached and achieved this success.

Technology supports better business processes

There is a race to adopt a more agile approach to workforce training and enablement, so organizations are able to respond to the fast-moving challenges of the modern business environment. The most difficult part of this is not a shift in technology, it is change itself. The height of the change hurdle is related to how well these organizations can deliver change management.

Businesses can bring in new people or train existing staff, accelerate how workforce enablement is developed and delivered, and break down an independent, siloed approach to training content development. Our approach is to make sure the technology follows the business function. We use technologies like Content Hub as a tool to support change, to shorten training development time and centralize content management. Leadership, education, and coaching start the route to successful change, with technology supporting better business processes, not leading them.

Josh Ellyson, Senior Digital Asset Management Analyst, GP Strategies is a 30-year veteran of the DAM and CMS environment. He has been at GP Strategies for 20 years and today specializes in digital asset management, business and process automation, and data modeling.

See also the Sitecore-GP Strategies case study and Josh's Sitecore Symposium presentation, and find Josh on LinkedIn.