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Perspectives

Boosting Business Productivity in the Connected Enterprise
(Part 1)

2016-12-14


By shifting toward a services-oriented approach and transforming the workplace to meet the needs of the new-age workforce, CIOs can directly increase business productivity in the connected enterprise. (Part 1 of a two-part series)

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With organizations intent on becoming more hyper-connected in today’s dynamic and IT-inten­sive business world, they often overlook the critical aspect of business productivity. CIOs can play a lead role in optimizing productivity in the connected enterprise by simplifying information flows, building a progressive and agile IT infrastructure, and aligning users across the value chain with business objectives. 

In our view, combining workforce transformation with workplace transformation will directly increase business productivity. CIOs can get started by understanding the four operational pillars of business productivity: people, processes, platforms and products. 

People.

Employees today communicate through a variety of digital channels, which heightens the demand on IT infrastructure and boosts the complexity of IT management. Because employees and business partners expect services, tools and platforms to accommodate their needs, IT needs to take a services-led approach. To navigate this shift, we suggest developing a clear-cut roadmap and aligning various groups around the end goal of user satisfaction. (For more insights on this topic, see our report “Delivering Customer Excitement in the Digital Era through an Enterprise Service Hub.”)

Processes.

In a connected enterprise, business availability is based on infrastructure and application availability. This requires a holistic business process view that includes all applications and related infrastructure, which can be achieved through a real-time service integration portal. Through such a portal, IT can see how the technology infrastructure can be simplified and made always-ready to deliver business impact and relevance. As behavioral analytics gains momentum, a holistic, insights-driven approach will further strengthen the effort to increase productivity.

Platforms.

To capitalize on the opportunities of the digital economy, enterprises should simplify and transform the IT landscape with solutions powered by social, mobile, cloud and analytics technologies (aka the SMAC Stack), informed by Code Halo™ thinking. As more data reveals customers’ behavior through their digital footprints, IT models are increasingly enabling a more personalized and curated user experience that generates greater business impact. A Code Halo-driven, SMAC-powered platform can play a critical role in boosting productivity, particularly as the workforce evolves and extends outside the on-premise business.

Products.

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), building a services layer to orchestrate, manage and simplify the connected products/insights ecosystem will increasingly become a key differentiator. Managing the services layer will enable organizations to become more agile, prompting them to build new partnerships and business models and realize new revenue opportunities. Further, as IoT sensors collect and send data across operational and technical parameters, end users will begin using these inputs to augment their work. Because any issues in the IoT or related application’s device layer will impact business productivity, it’s critical to establish real-time asset and patch management, software deployment, reporting, tracking and monitoring mechanisms. 

The Essentials of Workplace Transformation

We believe that the people, process, platform and products perspectives will form binding agents that enable new ways of working. However, achieving digital equilibrium is a tricky balance: Enterprises must foster innovation among the workforce, while also adding processes, checks and balances that are often perceived as a hindrance to productivity; workforces expect to use new tools and approaches to do their jobs more effectively, while enterprises look for tools and approaches to increase efficiency, standardize and automate as much as possible; the changing workforce demands one-click, total-ownership systems, while next-gen enterprises seek to enhance  productivity through these workforce characteristics, disrupting traditional business norms. Organizations must re-fit their systems to reconcile these differences, thereby embracing growth with innovation-led productivity. 

Meanwhile, enterprise workplace technology trends — such as wearable technology, mobile-enabled devices and IoT — have disrupted traditional business models. Enterprises must integrate processes, tools and platforms comprising applications and infrastructure to systematize innovation and enable business productivity with next-gen solutions. We believe this phenomenon is critical to the end-user empowerment journey, a journey that entails critical enterprise workplace shifts as IT transforms from an approach premised on end-user support to one that pivots around the end-user experience. 

Enterprises must embark on this journey sooner rather than later, as it is the employee experience that typically jumpstarts innovation within the organization. 

Embracing the Gen-Now Workforce 

To contend with these challenges, organizations should embrace five guiding principles that will shape the future workplace, as well as a new target operating model. Doing so will help them stay ahead of the workplace curve by supporting a “Gen-Now” workforce, with a platform for enhanced productivity.

Guiding Principles

  • Accelerate smart work. Enable the workforce to be more productive with anytime, anywhere access to apps and data, aligned with security guidelines. 

  • Institutionalize process excellence. Establish built-in workflows that trigger a process-centric approach to information seeking and sharing with role-based access. 

  • Facilitate insights and information visibility. Enable the workforce to find and share information, thereby improving business insight. 

  • Promote compliance. Leverage gamification techniques to promote compliance, motivate employees and drive adoption within the workforce. 

  • Support collaboration. Offer tools that leverage technology and platforms for teams to interact with and work through.

Target Operating Model Characteristics:

  1. Agility.
  2. Persistent connectivity.
  3. Enriched user experiences.
  4. Sustainable competitive advantage.
  5. Insight-driven decision-making.

Using these principles and operating model characteristics, enterprises can plan their path forward. First, however, they need to assess their current workplace strategy and services maturity levels. In Part 2, we examine four levels of workplace maturity to help you see where your organization stands. We also outline ideas and scenarios that can help you develop a future-ready workplace for the new-age workforce.

To learn more, read our full report on Increasing Business Productivity in Connected Enterprises and an Always-On Digital World or visit the Cognizant Infrastructure Service section of the website. 

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Boosting Business Productivity in the Connected Enterprise (Part 1)