5 ways the modern workplace is changing

Employees using technology in disruptive ways is driving the notion of ‘digital business’ – an important part of the ‘digital transformation economy’ – in which new business designs are being created that blur the digital and physical worlds. Business models, markets and entire organisations are being transformed in the process.

Indeed, in its 2017 forecast, IDC predicted that this evolution in our approach to conducting business would mean that “by 2020, 50% of the Global 2000 will see the majority of their business depend on their ability to create digitally enhanced products, services, and experiences”.

Making sense of this constant change, and defining how a business can capitalise on the opportunities it presents is enormously challenging. Employees’ expectations are changing too; adept with advanced consumer technology, they now expect to work in a more flexible, collaborative way, and will therefore benefit from an enterprise IT environment that provides a comparable experience.

>See also: Technology is ready to define the future of the workplace

A thorough digital transformation strategy has therefore become essential, but many businesses remain unsure about how to incorporate and manage all that the digital world can offer.

Many are uncertain about what lies around the corner, and about what their response to innovations such as wearable tech, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) should be.

Fully understanding the future workspace is essential, hence Dimension Data has surveyed 850 IT and business leaders across 15 countries and seven industries in order to understand digital transformation in their organisations. The results have identified five separate ways in which the modern workplace is changing.

1. Employees are key drivers of change

Employees want (and expect) to work in a flexible, collaborative environment, with the research suggesting that they will shortly be getting exactly that.

The survey showed that 49% of European organisations will have some employees working from home full-time two years from now, and 76% will have part-time homeworkers in the same time frame.

2. Device strategies to become increasingly sophisticated

Mobile devices have become an instrumental part of modern work; many employees now simply cannot do their jobs without them.

>See also: Wi-Fi and productivity: redefining the workplace

However, the ever-increasing array of devices – including laptops, smartphones, tablets and wearables – creates a steady flow of new challenges. Whether it’s bring your own device (BYOD) policies or the adoption of wearable tech, digital strategies must keep up with the latest developments.

50% of organisations said that managing and leveraging the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise is of high importance. Key to getting the most value from these devices is thinking about how the business can manage them.

Until now, many businesses have only been able to provide basic management, ensuring devices are secure with mobile device management policies, for instance. However, the survey showed that organisations are starting to develop more sophisticated policies to support their enterprise devices.

A more comprehensive approach goes above and beyond simply providing the equipment; businesses should ensure that devices function properly, that employees have access to the data or applications they need, and that the lifecycle of devices is well managed.

3. The perception of success is changing

Rather than focusing purely on more traditional metrics like savings and budgets, businesses are paying increased attention to the way IT can support productivity and growth, which is a significant shift in perspective. 40% of organisations now frame digital strategies equally on improving business processes, gaining competitive advantage and growing revenues.

>See also: Engaging millennials in the workplace

Meanwhile, more than 20% of businesses believe that workspace analytics tools, AR tools and machine learning will have a role to play in the workplace environment within the next year. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to build networks capable of handling emerging tech, ensuring all underlying computing power is ready to support it, and that a plan is in place to deal with all relevant security issues.

4. Collaboration between IT and Line-of-Business (LOB) is on the rise

When it comes to defining and creating a digital workplace, organisations are increasingly recognising the requirement for buy-in from parts of the business beyond IT. Indeed, 39% of firms now get significant input from LOBs when defining a digital strategy.

The research also suggests that, while C-level is still driving the overall strategy, it is becoming more likely to be alongside LOB. It’s clear that these two levels need to work together more than ever.

Communication and collaboration between the two can be achieved by encouraging dialogue, incorporating LOB leaders into decisions about strategy and products, and by building smart and virtual meeting spaces that support greater collaboration.

5. Trusted partners vital to implementing change

With many organisations struggling to deal with the challenges presented above, even large enterprises are finding a lack of the necessary skills and resources within their teams to ‘go it alone’.

>See also: The increasing impact of the digital workplace

As a result, 78% of businesses now enlist the support of external partners when planning, designing and deploying workplace technology solutions.

Capitalising on modern workplace trends

Evidently the approach to modern workplaces is rapidly evolving. The organisations that begin thinking strategically about how they respond to digital transformation will be best placed to capitalise on the opportunities this presents.


Sourced by Chris Nunn, head of Digital Workplace Practice at Dimension Data

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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