The rise of the digital citizen transforms the way we work
The lines are blurring.
The lines between work and home, as mobile devices allow us to take our work with us and our personal cloud to work.
The lines between how we access information as consumers and how we want to access information as employees or entrepreneurs.
The lines between our physical office and our digital one, as teams assemble and dissemble in a variety of ways, sometimes never meeting face to face.
Employees, accustomed to being an empowered consumer, are seeking that same empowerment at work. As a result, they are bringing technology prevalent in their lives outside of work into their offices, whether physical or virtual. They demand rapid access to knowledge and experts to make data-driven decisions in real time.
Meanwhile, partners are demanding more and more self-service options for interaction. Customers are becoming ever more vocal and impatient in their experiences with businesses. Employees are left scrambling for real-time, effective ways to serve up stellar service.
Enter the digital workplace, an intelligent computing environment that promotes employee, customer, and partner engagement and effectiveness. From the enterprise social network to smart decision support, virtual personal assistants to salesforce automation, new digital ways of working are upon us.
In an interesting twist, these tech-fueled ways of working are not in most cases being driven by IT departments, but rather by lines of business that have taken matters into their own hands.
As part of the rise of the citizen integrator, employee teams are identifying, sourcing, and deploying their own solutions to support changing needs, increasingly turning to self-service options in the cloud. As digital workplace technologies become democratized, the revolution will amp up in earnest, as digital and mission-critical work become inextricably intertwined.
“By 2021, more than 70% of business users will be substantially provisioned with cloud office capabilities.”
(Source: Gartner, Predicts 2017: Boosting Business Results Through Personal Choice in the Digital Workplace, November 14, 2016)
Digital dexterity at all levels of the organization
Agile organizational models have replaced the hierarchies of old, bringing with them a fluidity in where and how decisions are made. Increasingly aided by machine intelligence, decisions are made closer to the point of action and impact. Tools that promote breaking down organizational idea siloes--from crowdsourcing support to process hacking—will continue to develop and be adopted at a rapid pace.
An influx of emerging technologies from the consumer space will continue for the foreseeable future, generally brought in by individual groups rather than in lockstep, centralized fashion. IT departments will struggle to absorb these new technologies and capabilities, while trying desperately to connect technology to important business outcomes in a cohesive secure fashion.
The savvy will develop a flexible roadmap for their digital workplace, which allows for the influx of new technologies and capabilities but provides a framework to incorporate these into the enterprise nervous system. It is only through such a roadmap that teams can unlock and accelerate the true value of digital.
The era of the autonomous, empowered employee citizen is upon us. Leadership teams will need to exploit digital dexterity to boost performance, as well as promote creativity and innovation, in order to serve customers’ increasing demands.
2/3 of senior management across EMEA believe that optimizing the cloud, applications and mobile devices is a strategic priority. But, half of all organizations have no foreseeable plans to implement a digital workplace strategy.
(Source: "Aruba Study: Two Thirds of SMEs in EMEA are Set for the Digital Workplace, But Company Strategy is Struggling to Keep Up," CMX World, September 26, 2016)
Reimagining the workplace: People enabled by technology
The future hybrid workforce (part machine, part human) brings with it a change in roles. Routine work will be automated without necessity for human intervention. Humans will be freed up to do what they do best - non-routine, creative, innovative work. Real-time analytics, contextualized context and machine learning will support them in this role.
The new digital workplace contains a plethora of employee and corporate-sanctioned devices. SaaS, app-fueled, technology in the workplace is now about how to further engage employees and advance the business. The challenge will be to take these individual apps and make them an ecosystem of tools, smart tools that work across siloes and information stores, to fuel new insights and ways of doing things.
Virtual personal assistants will provide teams greater effortless access to ambient knowledge. Curated collections of personalized, context-rich information will be the new norm. In the foreseeable future, voice-driven computer interactions with devices like Amazon Echo, Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana will be deeply embedded into how we do business, tapping into ambient knowledge to answer questions we have not even posed yet.
Taken a step further, we see virtual and augmented reality immersing employees for training, instruction and personal collaboration.
“Employees should be able to access information based on its relevancy to the goal at hand, versus information by silo or location. Intelligent agents need to be context specific and location agnostic."
– Ken Kuzdas, Director of Technology, Digital Workplace, Neudesic
Empowerment comes with blurred lines
As the digital workplace takes shape, the future is bright. Assistance from machines who can take mundane work off of the back of human employees should be a positive change. Humans will be freed up to take on greater innovation and creativity, while shedding the mundane.
Empowered employees will have the information they need, when they need it. They will leverage modern tools to find solutions that work and implement them rapidly, better serving customers and meeting myriad deadlines.
We have really only just begun to tap the service of human potential in the workplace.
The Evolution of Virtual Personal Assistants
According to Gartner, by 2020, four out of 10 high performers will distribute their work across a team of “virtual doppelgangers” to boost personal productivity. This process will be enabled by the rapid evolution of VPAs over the next several years.
VPAs can respond to queries and requests. "Pull up the quarterly results spreadsheet."
VPAs understand the context of the individual, whether at home, work or in car, or on a particular device.
VPAs understand personal needs and proactively takes action. Knowing Monday's schedule is back-to-back meetings with no time for lunch, VPA orders from your favorite takeout restaurant and has delivered to office.
Conflicting meetings are no longer an issue. Your VPA can "attend" a meeting virtually in your stead, taking notes and/or preparing a presentation.
(Source: Gartner, “Empower Employees by Tapping Into the Top Emerging Trends in Digital Workplace Technologies”, July 14, 2016 )