One thing I have learned over the last 8 weeks is that some of the ways we did things in the past were slow, lacked focus, and had poor outcomes. Embracing change, thinking differently, being more agile, and collaborating better are all going to be key given the uncertainty around us. 

Leveraging the technology that is available and understanding how to use the power of people to work in new ways will be what drives our success. A survey by McKinsey reported that one in five respondents said that introducing more agile ways of working will be a high priority. A quick online search opens up a world of information and I've highlighted some key areas and further source reports that you may want to explore. 
Is it About Value or Cost? 

Necessity is the mother of invention and many of us have to a lesser or greater extent adopted some cloud functionality over the last 2 months because we simply had to. It is very unlikely that there will be a rapid return to “normal” working and hence this is likely to be the new normal, but are we getting the best out of the available technology. 

- Cost
Most cloud applications are priced on a monthly rental per user. They vary greatly in price as you add more functionality. M365 (the new name for Office 365), ranges from £6.00 to £30.80 per user per month, depending on what features you want. There is no doubt that a full-fat version of cloud software will deliver great capability, however, you need to make sure you are using it or you could be wasting money. In a 50 user business it could be as much as £15k per annum.
- Value

Many of the “advanced” features inside M365, for example, if used properly, can unlock higher performance. According to a Stanford University study, people who are encouraged to collaborate stick to a given task 64% longer than peers who work alone, while reporting higher engagement levels, less fatigue, and higher success rates.
Why is it then that many of us simply use the bare minimum features? A quick search online suggests the answer, a widening skills gap in our people. So, what is to be done? Buy the bare minimum and focus on costs? Or embrace the power of these applications and open your business up to new ways of working.   

People Power 

- Train

According to ‘Bounce’ author Matthew Sayed “Speed in sport is not based on innate reaction speed, but derived from highly specific practice”. I think this is also true for the adoption and use of digital platforms such as M365. We all need to practice more, and more purposefully. The challenge is how to do this when we simply don’t have time for hours spent retraining in a classroom when we have a business to run.

To a digital problem, there is a digital solution, speak to your ICT provider, and ask them about online training platforms preloaded with content, which allow you to upload your content, and monitor and report on end-user usage.

- Outsource

Some skills gaps are simply too large to bridge all by yourself. The cybersecurity skills gap is well documented. (ISC) Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2018 found that the EMEA region has a shortfall of 142,000 cybersecurity workers. This has only got worse since then. This is a trend that applies across the whole IT sector, especially driven by the rapid deployment and proliferation of new apps and features within all digital platforms from major vendors. A shortage of critical skills and an increase in demand has driven up the cost of experts and made them difficult to find and retain. A recent report by Microsoft identifies that in the next two decades 90% of jobs will require some level of digital proficiency.

It makes sense to Partner with external organisations who can inject expertise when you need it rather than try to employ expensive full-time heads. 

- Recruit

Recruitment is probably last on the list, but when you start again it will be important to look at the digital skills of your potential employees. 
The Open University skills shortage report saythat (91%) of UK organisations struggled to find workers with the right skills over the past 12 months. However, the cost of training someone lacking skills is significant, so it’s a good idea to recruit people already trained up if you can. How many businesses have this on their recruitment checklist at present?