Thinking outside the budget-shaped box

July 6, 2010

BRITAIN

- Dave Coplin is national technology editor at Microsoft UK. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The emergency budget was announced recently as a means to tackle the country’s deficit and Britain’s current economic situation.

But embracing a new approach to the way we run public- and private-sector organisations will be needed in order to stay competitive in the current market and help to redefine the fundamentals of business in this new environment.

Although Chancellor George Osborne’s budget has been deemed by a few as a “credible plan” for the future of public finances, and is an important step on the long journey back to economic health, we must remember that the economy is still fragile.

The budget announcement is likely to define the coming Parliament, and the government will either stand tall or fall on its ability to deliver Osborne’s proposals to bring the deficit down.

But it is UK businesses that the announcement will have the most tangible effects upon. Astute business leaders know that dramatic social, economic and political changes all ultimately affect our global competitiveness.

In addition to these recent changes, an evolving workforce demographic, globalisation and rapid developments in social and business technologies are now all fusing together to alter every aspect of business.

The emergency budget will now force organisations to think differently, as the recession did before, about how they operate and exist in an evolving world.

A more hybrid approach to the way organisations think about their people, buildings and technology (the largest overhead costs for all businesses) will need to be addressed.

First, businesses need to consider people, the physical workplace and IT together and not as separate silos.

Second, they need to recognise and respond effectively to the blurring demarcation between work and home life – we no longer live in a 9-5 culture.

And third, realise that with four generations of people together in the workplace, we need to recognise their individual requirements and empower the potential of the individual while harnessing the opportunity presented by the generational mix.

For example, generation Y’s ability to harness social networking that connects businesses to their customers and partners on an individual level.

The government has sent a message that Britain is again now open for business. If we adapt to the changes taking place with a hybrid approach, businesses will be able to wave that “open” sign a little higher and prouder.

Picture Credit: Chancellor George Osborne is shown making his budget speech on television screens in an electrical store in Edinburgh, Scotland June 22, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir

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