Digital transformation is affecting businesses everywhere. Whatever sector they operate in and however large or global their activities are, businesses face some common challenges when implementing change in the workplace. They aim to drive productivity improvements, encourage collaboration among staff, improve responsiveness to customers, support mobility and flexible ways of working, and at the same time ensure that company data remains secure. They also want to make sure that they attract the best talent they can and that these employees retain a high level of engagement with the business since they are critical to its future growth and success.
We have just completed some research with IT leaders in over 800 large enterprises across 13 countries, in which we look at their priorities for investment in the future workplace. Here are some headline findings:
The top three goals of investment in the workplace are improving employee productivity, protecting the organization's assets, and improving the customer experience. Over half of organizations believe that they will be able to show a demonstrable return on investment, with most relying on productivity data and satisfaction surveys to measure successful implementation.
The vast majority of enterprises are investing in a number of areas to help employees work more effectively. They are putting in place a range of services and tools to support mobility, various unified communications and collaboration applications, persistent messaging and enterprise social networking, and document sharing and storage, among others.
Most IT heads believe that emerging technologies will have a major impact in their own workplace within three to five years. They include analytics tools for workforce performance measurement and improvement; communications platform-as-a-service, which adds real-time communication to business applications; artificial intelligence; and workplace IoT sensors.
Managing mobility remains a challenge. Mobility is core to the future workplace, and for many employees their smartphone is already the most important tool they use at work. Debates about device ownership models (bring your own device [BYOD], choose your own device [CYOD], etc.) are largely over and the focus now is on making sure employees can access the right applications and services for their role, and that they do so in a secure fashion. It is no surprise that the top three mobility objectives are improving security and data regulation and compliance, unifying the management and security of smart devices and traditional PC hardware, and modernizing and mobilizing legacy systems and applications.
Effecting change in the workplace is not a simple task. We found that around three-quarters of organizations believe they need external assistance in introducing new tools to support more effective working. The introduction of new technologies is difficult enough, but there will also be significant organizational and cultural change to address and successful initiatives will require buy-in across the organization.
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