Untapped expertise: a business tragedy

Every business has deep reserves of knowledge running through it - it's up to them to tap into the source.

A philosopher by the name of David Brent once mused on the subject of wasted talent in the workplace:

“What upsets me about the job? Wasted talent. People could come to me and they could go, ‘David, you’ve been in the business for twelve years. Can you spare us a moment to tell us how to run a team? How to keep them task-orientated as well as happy?’ But they don’t. That’s the tragedy.”

OK, so David Brent was more of a pillock than a philosopher – but the point stands. Before you immediately look up from your desk at the Brent in the room (every office has one), instead try this: look around the room at your colleagues, and think of the experience and expertise being squandered, whether in silos, poor resource planning, rigid workflows or missing collaboration.

Natalie from accounts may have understanding of a tax regulation that a more junior team member has never come across. Mo from the fraud department may have gained uniquely nuanced insights from a recent trend of fraudulent loan applications, but it’s getting lost amongst overly risk-averse company standards. You get the picture.

Knowledge sharing between colleagues, and proper, timely application of this expertise, is what can make your business more than the sum of its parts.

Intelligent automation platforms can bring fluidity to the rigid lines that often keep employees and their knowledge trapped in narrow functional domains. Where subject matter expertise can be encoded, with all of its nuances intact, it can be scaled across a business and made available to an ever-wider number of employees and, by extension, customers. For a prime example, we recently wrote about how breaking linear structures with platform technology can enable call centres to centralise expert knowledge from all corners of the enterprise, and apply it wherever clients need it.

For now, we’ll give the last word to KMPG’s 2018 whitepaper, Ready, set, fail: Avoiding setbacks in the intelligent automation race, which does a good job of summarising our point:

“Automation will erode boundaries separating business functions, resulting in fewer isolated or vertical functions. A ‘boundary-less’ enterprise – one that is able to build on institutional knowledge – will ultimately produce a more customer-focused business model.”

  • Blog Post
  • 30/10/2019
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