Connected, automated workplaces of the future
The growth in the number and usage of mobile devices and cloud-based applications together with availability of pervasive and inexpensive Internet access is transforming the modern-day workplace like never before. Millennials, who form a large part of today’s workforce expect both flexibility and choice in the workplace both with respect to devices as well as information, and organizations have to accommodate these new needs and expectations of employees so everyone can work together effectively.
Working from anywhere
According to a frost and Sullivan report, 90% of organizations worldwide will offer mobility to workers by 2020; while a PGI report states that there is a 35% increase and creativity with collaboration outside the organization. Working from anywhere, at any time, using devices of choice, to access information in an always connected mode, is helping to derive business outputs; and agile teams collaborating across physical and time boundaries are estimated to generate 500% more information created by 2020.
The rise of connected way of working, that is people centric, collaborative, customer friendly, contextual and mobile is helping to integrate business processes for rapid response to market conditions and engage with customers using an omni-channel approach.
From a technology perspective, IT organizations need to provide a greater variety of tools and devices to meet employee preferences. While workplace digitization has been going on for a while now, the challenge at the workplace today has been the explosion of new tools because many of them do not work together, or work together partially.
The other issue is that many of the tools are not automating work. So, organizations are pressurized to ensure that there is functional consistency, interoperability, and a consistent, seamless user experience in the services they offer.
Cisco Connected Workplace
Solutions like the Cisco Connected Workplace, can provide the foundation for companies to deliver innovative workplace services. This solution platform leverages capabilities across the entire Cisco portfolio of products and services, and integrates capabilities from across each of the Cisco product architectures (Data Center, Enterprise Networking, Security, and Collaboration) to create workplace solutions that are uniquely suited to address the requirements of the next-generation employees.
In fact, within Cisco, technology has enabled us to create a work environment that empowers our employees to be productive, efficient, and satisfied. This in turn has helped us to respond to customers faster, improve employee satisfaction, increase wellbeing and empower workforce innovations.
Clearly the role of technology in the transformation of the modern workplace cannot be denied. Part of the transition is also automation of the workplace. As processes are transformed by the automation of individual activities, people will perform activities that are complementary to the work that machines do (and vice versa).
This will make things much easier and more flexible for employees in an organization, paving the way for them to become more productive, more creative and more “human”. It will also enable employees to interact and collaborate better with their colleagues, and focus on higher-value work that that require ideation, innovation and creativity.
There is no denying that the pace and extent of automation, and its impact on workers, varies across different occupations, and wage and skill levels. While the effects of automation might be slow at a macro level, they could be quite fast at a micro level, for an individual worker whose activities are automated, or a company whose industry is disrupted by competitors using automation.
A pre-requisite for everyone to consider before truly reaping the benefits of automation, is that there has to be a commitment towards change across the organization, and this means there is a need to think about a holistic change management approach from both an operational and a cultural perspective.
Operationally, employees need to get to grips with the new workflow processes, and at the same time, ensure they adapt to the new way of working – at enhanced speed and responsiveness. In the long run companies that are looking to better understand organizational dynamics, measure employee engagement, and reduce employee turnover, need to accept that automation is a way forward.