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Perspectives

Four Digital Workplace Innovations and Ways to Unlock More Value

2019-09-19


Workplaces that bridge the gap between consumer-life and work-life technologies empower employees with more personal, immersive experiences and new-found intelligence. As organizations adopt AI, IoT and automation, they should first assess internal limitations and set a responsible pace dictated by workplace strategy.

Employees who relish the latest devices and online services in their consumer life expect that these same capabilities and conveniences will carry over to their work life. Workplaces that meet these expectations will keep employees more engaged and productive, while inviting more innovative thinking and aspired growth. Conversely, watercooler talk about backward technology, poor implementations or old-school approaches can quickly flow through and beyond the organization, damaging morale and discouraging potential new hires.

Business leaders tasked with creating today’s productive digital workplaces should curb their urge to quickly adopt the latest technologies, instead setting a comprehensive and rational strategy to adopt what’s practical and possible. Too often, ambitious intentions collide with the stark reality of aged processes and IT infrastructure. This can impede progress or, even worse, lead to failed implementations.

There’s no holding back the exploration of new smart devices and technologies that aim to redefine work as we know it. Artificial intelligence (AI), automation, virtual assistants and Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices can significantly elevate efficiencies and bring new levels of employee freedom, collaboration and intelligence. However, taking a piecemeal approach to digital add-ons is like juggling blindfolded. When balls drop, hopes are dashed. Employees expect workplace technologies to work right the first time and deliver on expectations. They want to be free from IT hassles and constraints. Leaders must draft a holistic plan to meet these needs. 

You may recall that the bring your own device (BYOD) movement was a major undertaking for some early movers. They likely didn’t account for what was to come next — security and compliance requirements were secondary thoughts. Today, business leaders must be more digitally astute. As bots run processes, automation controls environments, and connected devices proliferate, it’s important to ensure proper diligence and stay in step with the digital workplace strategy.

The journey to create a more digital workplace is paved with myriad ways of working and doing business. Virtually every aspect of the workplace is evolving toward smart devices and more intelligent tools. As organizations advance on their digital workplace strategy, here are four important innovations and their associated considerations to support adoption.

AI-enabled automation for human-to-machine collaboration.

With intelligent automation platforms, data-driven decisions occur at lightning speed, either free from or supported by employee interaction. Algorithmic and AI-driven systems help teams more effectively innovate and adapt to changing workplace situations by providing insight that meets discerning end-user expectations. With automation comes greater speed, simplification and cost savings. Companies that embrace these automation platforms must factor in approaches to adopt technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing and cognitive computing. To take one example: For a Nordic energy and utility company, we implemented a customer-service chatbot solution that resolved 40% of all live internal inquiries and received a 90% user-satisfaction rate. The chatbot also handled more than one third of all email inquiries that included frequently asked questions, which significantly reduced reliance on customer service agents.

Predictive analytics and auto-resolution redefine IT.

IT departments are using AI self-service channels to speed common resolutions through automation and reduce the need for team interventions. Added intelligence alerts employees to potential incidents and can initiate resolutions behind the scenes. IT administrators receive insight that helps identify usage patterns and predict anomalies across systems. Organizations considering a shift to predictive IT analytics and automated resolution should adopt real-time monitoring to analyze the status of devices, user activity, locations, applications and all involved business services. These around-the-clock insights help to prioritize actions and reduce business impacts. After we helped a large retailer implement an AI-powered digital experience desk for all IT-related issues, the company saved more than $24 million over eight years. Automation resolved 65% of all requests, critical incidents dropped by 50%, and customer satisfaction scores rose 24%.

Security and management consoles integrate the device mix.

Many organizations have a siloed approach to device management. Disparate teams manage systems, from mobile and rugged devices to Windows and Mac operating systems. When applied to connected devices, this disconnected approach can impede innovation and cause employee frustration. A well-orchestrated digital workplace calls for a single team responsible for installing and managing all devices from a single console. With unified endpoint management (UEM), organizations can unite and manage all endpoint devices, such as mobile, desktop and IoT, under a single solution securely and cohesively. UEM is an essential component to ensure security, compliance, efficiency and consistency.

Cloud-driven workplace services.

Virtual and unfettered access to new applications, devices, data and business processes typically requires cloud-run services. Regardless of the IT complexity and vastness involved, security is paramount. We advise a cloud-based software management approach that’s delivered through a single SaaS platform. This ensures centralized management; reduces time to market; and enhances end-user satisfaction by making critical applications accessible anywhere and at any time — for example, field workers can access all productivity tools remotely from their mobile devices. To support a smooth migration from legacy tools to secure, cloud-based productivity and collaboration platforms and services, tie data and software access to individual users, not machines. This ensures that if a device is lost or stolen, there’s no risk of losing proprietary or confidential information.

To learn more, visit the Digital Workplace Services section of our website or contact us.

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