Blog | Oct 20, 2020

Redefining Business Models with a Digital Workforce

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Speed and Agility in The Three Thirds Business Model

COVID-19 has stretched many organizations to their limits, forcing them to hurry through digital transformation initiatives to meet customer demands in the most testing circumstances.

However, beyond the immediate fire-fighting, the pandemic has also demonstrated to business leaders the potential for technology to create a platform for more agile, resilient and productive operational structures.

Across all areas of business, the pandemic has shone a light on every organization’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to the ongoing disruption that now characterizes the global economy. And too many businesses are still being constrained by fixed architectures and resources, rigid structures and siloed departments.

Pandemics aside, businesses today operate in a landscape of constant change and need to continually react to unpredictable disruptions to their operations, whether that is cyber-attack, regulation or supply chain issues. McKinsey’s analysis shows that companies experience an instance of significant disruption once every three to four years and that on average each of these causes a financial impact equivalent to 45% on one year’s GDP.

This alarming statistic highlights the need for greater operational agility and resilience and explains why business leaders are now looking to re-define their business structures to ensure they have the speed to compete in a future economy.


Boardrooms have recognized the benefits of an agile approach to transformation and been surprised at the success that their organizations have achieved as a result. Talent has been re-trained and re-deployed, production lines have pivoted to meet changing demands and new service delivery models have been designed and launched, all in a matter of days.

Business leaders across all sectors are now re-thinking their entire operational structures and go-to-market strategies as a result of COVID-19 and, understandably, they are eager to harness this speed and agility moving forward.

Our recent analysis of UK FTSE 350 companies illustrated how growing numbers of organizations are implementing Intelligent Automation and AI as a strategic lever to accelerate digital transformation, drive customer experience and embed speed and agility into their operations.

By having access to a scalable pool of intelligent digital workers, which can be deployed when and wherever they are needed across their entire organization, businesses can easily and quickly navigate around traditional barriers to digital transformation and pursue opportunities that would simply be unfeasible with a traditional resourcing model. Alongside this, they can free up their best people from mundane, process-driven tasks and empower them to focus on more rewarding, high-value work.

The digital workforce has a critical role to play in instilling speed into operations, scaling in real time to meet business needs and acting as the integration layer between systems to ensure data flows easily across channels to provide a consistent digital experience for both customers and staff.

AI, Machine Learning and data analytics provides people with meaningful insight to make smart decisions in real-time, and to instruct digital workers to react to changing requirements and pursue new opportunities.


Based on our analysis of strategic implementation of Intelligent Automation within UK PLCs, we believe that companies are moving to a new operational structure, which combines and aligns the strengths of three core, complementary components:

  1. Highly skilled people
  2. A resilient, scalable digital core
  3. A flexible, intelligent digital workforce

The Three Thirds Model unlocks the dependencies that have held back business performance and productivity for decades. This involves separating time, tasks and location so that work can be undertaken irrespective of time and place, and therefore be delivered in the most appropriate way, by the most appropriate resource, whether that be a person or a digital worker.

Three Thirds Model embeds agility and resilience into operations, with flexible and resilience cloud computing aligned to an intelligent digital workforce which can scale up in response to business demand and support the human workforce through periods of unforeseen disruption.

Humans workers focus on strategic tasks which deliver enhanced customer experience and generate revenue, and they undertake ongoing learning to meet evolving business needs, informed by the data and insight created by the digital core. This leads to greater engagement and productivity across the workforce and more motivated, fulfilled people.

Underpinning everything, the digital core captures data at every touchpoint and feeds it through the organization. AI and analytics then converts this data into actionable insight which can inform real-time decision-making and continual optimization of operations.

Finally, the digital workforce delivers process-driven, repetitive work, across all parts of the organization, 24 hours a day. This brings improvements in customer experience, stronger regulatory compliance and reductions in cost. And these intelligent digital workers continually improve their performance and productivity, using AI to react to data insights and optimize their activities.


The challenge for business leaders as they look beyond the current crisis is to create a vision of the operational and resourcing models that their organization will need in three, five and ten years’ time. Such is the acceleration of technology innovation, that it has become extremely difficult to develop business strategies that remain relevant for a year, never mind a decade.

This is why The Three Thirds model presents a workable framework for businesses, as it delivers the skills, systems and infrastructure to move forward in an ever changing, highly disrupted marketplace. Importantly, it provides businesses with the speed and agility to respond quickly to new threats and opportunities, without the need for long-winded, cumbersome change programs. Transformation and innovation become a constant within an organization – an essential part of business as usual.

So rather than trying to define exactly how their organization needs to look to compete and thrive in five years’ time, based on a series of unknowns, business leaders should act now to build the agile structures and systems which will allow them to react quickly and easily to future disruption and change.

If you’d like to learn more about how boards are shaping their organizational models around a digital workforce, download The Strategic Intelligent Automation Index, here.