CSRinsights: How Technology Shapes CSR

More than 62% of the entire world is “connected” to the web, which is why terms like applications, user experience, websites, and accessibility should be evaluated when determining CSR program goals.  The days of solving problems through paper forms or via spreadsheet tracking are almost non-existent.  Instead, program tools must live up to the continuous demand of modern user expectations, which is always fast and fleeting. 

 Fortunately, technology keeps up with the pace of users and sometimes even surpasses them.  Undeniably so, technology  profoundly impacts today’s CSR programs by  enabling companies to expand their reach, improve their offerings, and ultimately, drive greater good to more people than ever before.  

At YourCause, and as we continuously develop CSRconnect, we see first-hand how technology drives the evolution of today’s CSR programs, bringing about both struggles and greater opportunities.  We see how diverse types of users adapt differently to a change in technology  – a completely normal obstacle to exceed. The pace of which technology changes is rapid and moving, but it also keeps us on our toes and full of innovation. 

3.0 From Web 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0…

Understanding the lingo can often times be your greatest hurdle.  Many haphazardly use the term ‘Web 1.0’ or ‘Web 2.0’ in conversation, but what does it really mean?  Suffice to say, it’s a matter of opinion for how you ultimately define it, but here are some insights that may be helpful:

  • Web 1.0 The Search & Find Web – This was the beginning of the web.  Anyone who still deploys a ‘Web 1.0’ mentality is archaic.  Web 1.0 took paper forms and put them online.  More artistically, Web 1.0 delivered information to us whenever we asked for it. 
  • Web 2.0 The Read & Write (Social) Web – Then the web evolved. Users begin generating content and collaborating with each other in a social media dialogue.  Offline actions could now be performed online. 
  • Web 3.0 The Semantic Web Some would argue 3.0 is here today.  Applications are smarter; devices know who we are.  Couple that data with intelligent applications, and the web delivers the information we need more efficiently.  It’s artificial intelligence at its best.

43% Types of Users 

Understanding your audience is key, especially when introducing new technical products and applications.  Some adapt well to trends and technological changes, while others struggle a bit. 

An estimated 40% of millennials will be in the workforce by 2015, whom historically represent the early adopters and early majority within the Innovation Adoption Cycle.  Nonetheless, 43% of employees surveyed state that they feel comfortable (and capable) of making their own technical decisions at work, according to Nielsen and NM Incite’s 2012 U.S. Digital Consumer Report.

                                   Photobucket

30% Expectations driving decisions 

Ensuring that the company maintains alignment with its employeesand programs is key to its success.  Companies with highly aligned cultures and innovation strategies have 30% higher enterprise growth than those with low alignment, according to Booz & Co. Understanding, communicating, and delivering to the expectations of the users is key toward inspiring engagement.

In 2012, more than 845 million people had a Facebook account, 500 million on Twitter, 44% have a smart phone, and now, 150 million people are using LinkedIn.  These numbers were all non-existent 10 years ago. Today, they help establish minimum expectations of each employee.  Such tools are now finding their way to the workplace.

Non-corporate web applications are now routinely used by more than 27% of employees, supporting internal communications, research, and other tools designed to bring about greater efficiency.  These same types of applications are also a driving force in forming the next generation of tools to be deployed throughout the enterprise – CSR included.

45% of employees surveyed stated that personal consumer devices & software applications are more useful than the tools and applications provided by their IT departments.” 

79% Business impact on technology changes 

Adoption of new technologies can often times disrupt the overall business , having an adverse  impact on the program’s objectives.  At the same time, failure to keep updated with the advances in technology  (and their respective influence on your CSR program) may only prolong an issue and lead to deeper negative impacts on the business.  Finding the balance between evolving from the old to embracing the new is critical.

Despite the difficulty of adaption to change, 79% of businesses state that it’s important to respond quickly to technological changes, reported the Economist Intelligence Unit.  The research showed that the top three reasons listed for slowing the business response times, included: lack of resources to implement change (35%), lack of coordination across different functions (34%), and inaccurate or incomplete data (28%).

8X Speed of change 

Referring to the speed of your internet connection (remember how we use to think that 28.8k was superior to 14.4k download speed?) is officially passé.  As are non-smart phones, writing a check, Window’s XP, and printing out photos at the photo lab.  Even advertisements tease that something is old news by joking that it’s “so 28 seconds ago.”

Today, the speed of technology continues to move at lightning speed.  In the last five years, the speed at which a user can download an item from the internet is 8x faster, and is available at work, home, and even the local coffee shop or grocery store.  The increased speed is leading to fewer constraints for application developers, resulting in greater innovation and more rapid product deployment. Though the challenges and conceptions are what people live for, a well-balanced  median must be met as to not destroy ourselves creatively.  Focus on long-term value and not short –lived trends to thrive in the fast-paced world of technology.

-YourCause Team

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