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The Future Workplace: A Transformational Journey (Part 2)


In the second installment of this two-part series, we define workplace maturity levels, suggest a framework for moving to the future state and offer examples of success.

As noted in Part 1, connected enterprises can begin boosting productivity for the next-gen workforce by addressing  four key areas (people, processes, platforms and products), following several guiding principles and defining a new target operating model. In order to move forward, organizations also need to understand their readiness, based on their existing workplace maturity level.

We classify enterprise workplace maturity by four stages of readiness:

Inception (primitive) stage.

Organizations in this category are focused on running and supporting the business. Such companies do not standardize processes and lack application virtualization and a unified service desk. 

Functioning stage.

In these companies, performance delivered exceeds service commitments. Organizations that fit this classification have built a robust desktop management practice and demonstrated application virtualization.

Performing stage.

In this category, performance is proactively benchmarked to strengthen competitive advantage. These enterprises have implemented desktop and mobile standards, deployed virtualization services and developed context-aware incident resolution, supported with self-help and self-healing solutions. They adhere to a repeatable, standardized and industrialized automation (RSIA) framework but have not taken the next step of building automation solutions to avoid manual intervention.  

Best-in-class stage.

These companies demonstrate industry-leading performance and continuous innovation and improvement. They fully empower dynamic workforces and customers with always-on availability and enterprise-wide productivity. 

Using SLB for Productivity 

The goals of the future workplace can be met by enabling a stateless, limitless and boundaryless (SLB) computing environment. Such an environment is designed to enable and empower employees to work from the place of their choice, use the devices they prefer and function without resource constraints. 

Here’s how each SLB component works:

  • Stateless computing. This is about decoupling user profiles and data from end-points to ensure user profiles are standardized across devices and that data is centralized so it can be accessed from any device. Profiles are also virtualized and personalized, enabling a consistent user experience. Employees can start working on a file at the office, edit it on their phone while returning home, and then e-mail it from a tablet.

  • Limitless computing. This is about enabling access to resources and services on the corporate and public clouds through virtualization. In short, users aren’t limited to what they have on their devices but can instead access elastic computing resources, including computing power, memory and storage.

  • Boundaryless computing. This is all about providing anywhere, anytime accessibility, on-premise or at remote sites, from any device. Organizations must act fast to ensure they are mobile-friendly and that user experiences are uniform across a spectrum of devices and form factors.  

We have developed a six-layer model for enterprises to transform to the desired future state of empowering employees with an enriched user experience. Using our model, organizations can transform their approach to managing the user experience, user state, end-user applications, operating system environment, end-user devices and core services, culminating in a best-in-class future workplace. The solutions for device management, application delivery, user state and experience management are based on third-party products, as well as our own IP. 

The Always-On Enterprise in Action 

To get an idea of what’s possible with SLB-enabled workplaces, consider the following two scenarios. 

Wilson, a product engineer in a large steel plant, heads the manufacturing process and oversees steel manufacturing. As part of his work, he walks approximately 5 kms each day, keeping him away from his main workstation for approximately six hours each day. As part of its comprehensive mobility and digital strategy, IT developed an SLB computing platform that enables Wilson to meet with workers across sites while remaining connected, reporting on performance and responding to demands on a timely basis.

Stateless computing enables him to access all his applications, e-mails, reports and documents; limitless computing enables him to access enterprise resources, including real-time analytics powered through a cloud delivery model; and boundaryless computing enables him to access corporate applications through the enterprise app store and perform daily business tasks while being mobile. 

John is a regional manager of an auto insurer that offers usage-based insurance, which works by feeding data from a telematics device to an app loaded on customers’ smartphones. The app then sends driver safety data back to the company, based on speed, braking and other driving behaviors. In return, customers receive a monthly premium tied to their “risk profile rather than generic parameters such as age, location, etc. 

With a product line and business model that rely heavily on IoT generated data, John and his team members expect sound IT workplace services to ensure they can do their jobs better, keep the business model running and deliver envisioned returns. In such cases, IT can accelerate business, and the workplace team can become a key enabler of product line success in terms of increasing business productivity and end-user satisfaction.

Moving Forward 

Numerous solutions exist to deliver an enriched user experience and ultimately increase productivity. However, organizations must evaluate their existing business/IT landscape, envision a target operating model and work through the merits of deploying the solution while analyzing its potential business-technology impact. 

Embracing and building a vibrant workplace will further enhance the enterprise’s value proposition in the eyes and ears of the market. Done right, a dynamic workplace enabled by SLB computing can become a sustainable competitive advantage.

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 our website.

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