Tag Archive | cope

The Future of Work

Defining the Future of Work

The premise of the recent Ovum Future of Work Summit, sponsored by Computacenter and Microsoft, was that the ways in which businesses work today is being fundamentally changed by mobile and social technology.

Over the course of the day presenters from a variety of organisations discussed how technology is redefining roles in organisations and enterprise social networks. If adopted effectively it can enable organisations to be agile, outcome-focused and more efficient, while at the same time increasing employee satisfaction, backed by new opportunities for performance analytics

There were 3 key themes that ran through the discussion topics

  • The Multi-Screen Workplace
  • Mobility
  • Social Enterprise

 The Multi-Screen Workplace

Users are no longer using a single (fixed) device on which they conduct their work, and, in common with a range of other research in the area, people are increasingly time/work-slicing across a range of different device types from laptops, tablets and smartphones and in various locations.  This is a blending of the workstyles with “work-life balance” requiring the provision of the right device for each user scenario.

The proliferation of tablets and other mobile devices are no doubt influencing this trend, as is the consumarisation of IT and the changing expectation of the new workforce entering the market (Gen Y). 

The general sentiment was the rate of change in the market is increasing  and that the consumerisation influence has led to penetration of Microsoft’s traditional enterprise dominance, with Apple and to a lesser extent Android obtaining Enterprise endorsement.

 Mobility

A portion of the event content  focussed on the technical solutions and tools that enable new mobile technologies to enter the enterprise environment, and the needs and solutions for appropriate control of these devices in the enterprise.

Clearly there are a range of form factors available but more importantly are the procurement models (BYoD vs CYoD vs COPE) and Platform types (Android, Apple etc) that are driving the need for a number of solutions. These could include MDM, MAM, MCM, Containerisation and Virtualisation – essentially these solutions can be attributed to the particular ownership model that is in play, or the range of controls that available. 

Beyond the technical controls (toolset) aspect, it was generally noted that there is a market maturity occurring, with organisations having typically deployed a tactical solution to resolve a C-Level BYO problem, but the vendors are quickly evolving up the stack into Application and Content Management solutions.  The major problem highlighted was how to resolve the “Corporate Dropbox” issue and that the successful vendors in this market will be those that view ECM as a central pillar of their strategy moving forwards.

Social Enterprise

There is a consensus that enterprise social/collaboration is a rapidly evolving area, borne out of a significant changing of the relationships between employees and IT departments – again manifested through the consumerisation trend.  There was a sense of the social/collaboration tools providing a real alternative to the email obsession, as well as more “human centred needs” of collaboration.

However, it is recognised that “social” solutions are challenging to implement and get right, for a number of reasons – they can be counter intuitive to some organisation cultures, supporting the views about the necessary sponsorship and focus to get it delivered, but when done and done correctly can deliver significant efficiency, value and engagement back into the business.

In a nutshell

  • Emerging trend of workslicing mean people are using multiple devices to work in new ways and at times that are new to enterprise
  • Drivers for major transition around mobility and introduction of consumer technology are Generation Y employees
  • There is a general sense amongst employees that they are “working with yesterday’s tools”
  • Enterprise IT is “normalising” with new solutions eroding Microsoft’s original dominance
  • 56.8% of FTE’s use their personal device to access corporate data (Ovum BYOD Study 2013)
  • The multiscreen workplace encompasses a range of behaviours/models including BYoD, CYoD, COPE – there yet to be consensus on which option is best/right
  • “Mobile First” is the ethos that companies must live by and adopt moving forwards. 
  • “Mobile First” will have same level of impact in Enterprise as the introduction of the internet
  • Development of a  new genre of collaboration software and tools, but there is a challenge in  recognising value and use cases for social tools in enterprise

 The rate of change in workplace technologies will not abate, with consumerisation and the demands of Gen Y employees entering the workforce, the pressures to evolve will continue. But as organisation and the nature of the work we do evolves the contemporary workplace needs to be on that can support today’s needs, whilst being agile enough to accommodate future strategies, working practices and technologies.

 

 

Connecting tomorrow’s next generation workspace “today”- where do you start?

I was fortunate last week to visit one of our enterprise customers for an executive strategy session.

The customer invited a room of senior stakeholders to discuss and debate future ways of working and connecting next generation end user workspaces. Many questions were posed – what are the needs of tomorrows employee, what does tomorrows customer look like, who will the competitors be – how many of today’s major players will remain? Most importantly what changes are required, personal, cultural, professional, operational, technological and so on to take everything that makes the organisation great today and recalibrate it to ensure they are great tomorrow.

It is a pleasure to interface directly with business stakeholders discussing how their organisation needs to evolve to realise business success in the future. And you know it’s a mutually rewarding session when discussions pose new and radical questions that encourage all to rethink even the most robust personal viewpoints.

Understanding the “future way of working” or “tomorrows workplace”, spawned by evolving employee and customer behaviour seems to be top of the agenda of many organisations serious about winning in the corporate landscape of tomorrow. But where do you start, is the current BYOD euphoria a sneak preview of tomorrows mobile orientated, information rich, always on world or the late arrival of an activity organisations should have undertaken years ago.

And the wire “free” wireless network environment both public and private highlighted by many as one of the silver bullets of “next generation workspace” is also raising a few concerns. The consensus seems to be whilst performing admirably most of the time, many legacy wireless LANs are seriously compromised all too many times. Which positions a wireless LAN upgrade as the first “upgrade it now” post it note on the fridge of any thought leading CTO or CIO.

And who can forget end user devices, or is it operating systems or is it applications or even “apps”, and so on. Do we understand the end user behaviour enabled by this new mobile device wave that unlocks and enables different business outcomes – can the organisation harness it, maximise it, capitalise on it?

But now appears a real dilemma, “to be ready for the workspace tomorrow”, “where do you start today”. Is it wireless, is it devices, users, apps, BYOD – is it security, is it process / workflow change, is it all of the above and more ….. Or is it quite simply to “just start”.

Change starts with change and one of the hardest elements to embrace for even the most successful of the worlds species is the ode that the “skills and capabilities have got you here may not be enough to get you there”.

Future blogs will examine this topic further but organisations may want to consider the following as a minimum to ensure they obtain a connected environment essential to achieving “future workspace” success.

  • Local area access switch functionality and effectiveness (poe, onboard WLC,etc).
  • Device independent applications (HTML5 for example).
  • Wireless LAN coverage, reliability and performance.
  • End user wireless access and authentication, remediation.
  • Mobile device and application management (MDaAM)
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)
  • Wireless to core round trip optimisation (and internet back haul)

Getting today’s workplace centric organisation ready for tomorrow’s workspace centric ideal will be fun but hard. With that in mind senior level sponsorship and acknowledgement that change is not only essential but also now, is as good a place to start – and will ensure that you actually “start”.

Until next time

Colin

Twitter: @colinwccuk