Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Letter from the President

As the economy begins to show hopeful signs of recovery, organizations are shifting their focus from survival to success. Critical to this success will be the ability of organizations to drive innovation to gain a competitive advantage. This battle will be won on the frontlines, by corporate foot soldiers.

Unfortunately, workforce learning and development has long been a victim of corporate budget cuts and scrutiny due in large part to the subjective interpretation of its business impact, notes Aberdeen.

For instance, many companies have cut technology staff levels too deeply, making it challenging for IT departments to keep pace with demands, warns Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Although businesses may be able to operate with stretched teams in the short term, being perpetually understaffed isn't sustainable and can detract from the overall productivity."

Willmer's right.

In this increasingly competitive global business environment, where organizations face mounting pressure not only to improve productivity, but also to capitalize on internal know-how and subject matter expertise, development and innovation will take on heightened organizational importance.

"An organization will only go as far as its leadership's ability to lead employees," says Elizebeth Varghese of Aon Consulting. "History has shown a new genre of competitors has risen from each economic crisis, capitalizing on innovative ways to do business. Conversely, those organizations that have focused on 'just getting by' lose market share and may eventually disappear. Those employers turning their attention to building a focused workforce in 2010 ... will see a 'bottom-line' benefit."

"To excel during changing times and the economic recovery, we believe organizations must take an 'offensive' approach, implementing talent strategies dedicated to driving innovation," adds Jeff Schwartz, principal, Human Capital, Deloitte Consulting, LLC. This is where technology comes in.

For example, solutions that integrate enterprise information can provide employees with critical, cross-database information, such as transaction data, in real-time. This information, in turn, can give today’s knowledge workers the ability to make higher-quality, more rapid decisions, because they can base their decision-making on higher-quality, more up-to-date information, notes Aberdeen.

High performing organizations are increasingly seeing the need these types of knowledge management systems as being critical to ensuring employees have the information and tools they need to do their jobs, according to the results of a recent survey by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business.

"The numbers are staggering," says CCH President Mike Sabbatis. "It's estimated that knowledge workers spend 15 to 35 percent of their time looking for information they need to do their jobs, and 40 percent of the time they never find it." High performing organizations are taking steps to ensure this productivity drain is stopped. Today, 32 percent use knowledge management systems, and the rate of adoption is expected to exceed 50 percent in three years, according to the CCH survey.

Several factors are driving this strong demand for knowledge management solutions, including continued staffing challenges and the demand for increased productivity, Sabbatis explains.

You can add the desire for innovation to that list.

Regardless of the economy, TAWPI will continue to provide its members -- many of whom are on the frontlines of their industry every day -- with the educational resources and tools they need to drive innovation and best practices across their organizations. From in-person events and actionable studies and reports, to industry councils and online resources, we are committed to facilitating the exchange of ideas that make businesses smarter. And we have even more resources planned.

TAWPI is excited about the future that lies ahead. Thanks for joining us on the journey!


Frank Moran

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