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Workspace in the era of digital transformation: Top trends for 2017

Mon 5 Dec 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

One of the most important arenas of digital transformation is the workspace of knowledge workers, with its drive to greater mobility, personalisation and device versatility. A forward-looking workspace strategy can help make people more productive, reduce costs and sharpen the employer brand in a bid to attract tech-savvy young professionals. Ahead of the new year Oliver Bendig, CEO of Matrix42, has shared insights into the defining technologies for the IT workplace in 2017.

1. UX as in the consumer world: context-based, personalised workspace services Being experienced digital consumers, knowledge workers are accustomed to a highly personalised environment – such as automatically generated playlists of music streaming services. By adapting in a similar fashion to personal work contexts, workspace technology can help knowledge workers be more efficient, productive and motivated.

My workspace will know where I am, which device I’m using, which app makes the most sense for the available bandwidth, and what data and documents I need next. It will get to know my personal preferences and adapt accordingly.   2. Soon to be essential: Unified Endpoint Management Employees today use more than one device in the course of their work. With this in mind, new IT management technologies have the user as their starting point, rather than an individual device. It’s increasingly essential for IT departments to use integrated approaches to managing the company’s entire device landscape – with mobile, traditional and hybrid devices.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), which enables administrators to manage workspace environments across all devices, has gathered pace throughout 2016, with more strong growth to come: market research firm MarketsandMarkets forecasts annual growth rates of 42.9 percent by 2020 for the global UEM market.

In fact, unified management of the growing variety of devices, apps and cloud resources is imperative for any company looking to offer its knowledge workers a user experience that compares with the one they know from digital entertainment.   3. Cloud-based workspace: the browser as a new operating system One fundamental part of digital transformation is the cloud – and this holds equally true for workspaces. Personal work environments are moving to the cloud, and can be accessed anytime and anywhere via a browser. As a result, workspaces are leaving their original, fixed location or device.

No matter where I am, what device I’m using or when I work, my cloud workspace gives me access anytime to my working environment, complete with all my apps, documents, digital identities and services. Work is increasingly becoming a “state” – a status that knowledge workers can activate or deactivate at any time, regardless of where they happen to be.   4. Enterprise Service Management – beyond IT In terms of provisioning and administration, over the last few decades IT service management has developed and implemented highly efficient processes within the ITIL framework. With a flexible service management solution, these can now also be deployed for non-IT processes.

The growing “Internet of Everything” will enable enterprises to efficiently deploy best practices and functions of IT service management for provisioning and managing services in other disciplines, for example in HR or finance. “Servicication” can automate and optimise processes in HR such as onboarding of new staff, dealing with vacation requests or notices of sick leave.   5. Virtual workspace assistants Siri might have come in for some mockery at first, but the fact remains that intelligent speech recognition genuinely works. And it’s getting better all the time. This creates huge opportunities for our workspaces. We’ll soon all be working with smart super-assistants who can deal with some of our mail for us, write summaries of long documents, or book hotels for our business trips.

When I meet a business partner for the first time, my assistant will put together a social media profile of the person for me, and brief me for the meeting. From an IT management perspective, this will present fresh challenges to IT departments to increase security and protect employees’ privacy.   6. Screens everywhere – folded, rolled or projected Cloud-based working with browser access means we’ll be able to work using any Internet-connected display. For instance, the smart TV at home can also double up as a workspace. The idea of foldable or retractable screens will also gain more and more traction. In future, it will be possible to use just about any surface as a screen, potentially extending the working environment into new spaces.   7. New workspace possibilities: wearables & co Data goggles, fitness trackers and other wearables will increasingly become part of the working world, being used in areas such as healthcare, logistics or manufacturing. For instance, additional detailed information or process steps could be displayed to service staff via data goggles. And head-mounted displays will make meetings with people on the other side of the world feel completely real.   8. Smart Office: Internet of Things connects workspace to physical infrastructure Continued progress on integrating workspace management with intelligent infrastructure technology is tightening the efficiency of many processes. For example, a calendar invitation could in future trigger an entire chain of steps to arrange the meeting, including booking the room, preparing the beamer and telephone system, even adjusting the level of heating in the room depending on the number of participants.

Article by Oliver Bendig, CEO of Matrix42.

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