8 envy-inducing traits of the future workspace

The cognitive workplace is all about the constant tuning and adaption of the environment to meet users' needs

By | 4 minute read | August 22, 2019

Most conversations about the future of work underscore two key considerations — user experience and the technology that enables it.

For good reason: Technology increasingly factors in when it comes to where people want to work.

A January survey by IBM’s Market Development & Insights division found that 74 percent of participants view the ability to collaborate through apps and digital tools as extremely influential or very influential in their choice of employer. More than half said device choice was extremely or very influential.

Yes, we’re squarely in the era of the digital workplace. But not for long.

The cognitive workplace is the next phase of enterprise workplace evolution. A distinguishing characteristic is a consolidation of workplace data into a common data pond that is used to drive the constant tuning and adaption of the workplace to meet users’ needs. This may be as simple as suggesting apps they may want to use because their colleagues are using them, to ensuring devices remain usable (predictive self-healing) and secure without users’ explicit intervention.

That becomes the basis for driving user experiences at work that rival or top consumer experiences, as well as achieving bottom-line outcomes.

Look out for these eight traits, which will soon represent what good looks like in terms of workplace technology.

1. Self-healing devices

Why it’s awesome. Issues are identified and fixes applied to users’ individual devices before they impact productivity. This includes recognizing patterns of issues across the fleet and applying fixes as needed to yet-to-be impacted devices.

Self-healing benefits both end users, by reducing the amount of time they spend on identifying and resolving issues, and the business, by ensuring a greater availability of users for productive activity.

When we’ll see it. Now. Self-healing solutions are arriving in the market in the second half of 2019.

2. Adaptive context-aware security that ramps up authentication challenges 

Why it’s awesome. Increased security protocols are based on the context of the user (i.e. device, location, role, etc.). These may include two-factor, alternative and more secure access methods such as using a secure browser session hosted in the enterprise cloud. Based on enterprise security and compliance policies, this helps ensure appropriate access is granted to enterprise users.

When we’ll see it. Now. Some products in the market already have this capability.

3. Integrated workplace dashboards driven from a common data pond 

Why it’s awesome. A cognitive workplace is data-driven. The data is aggregated and analyzed to derive patterns of issues and behaviors that can then be mitigated or eliminated. This common data pond is then the means by which dynamic dashboards, customized to each constituent’s needs, are created. It eliminates the need for standard reporting and offers the ability to intervene early when issues arise.

When we’ll see it. Next 12 months. There are some point solutions in market. But to be truly effective, this trait requires an underlying consolidation of workplace data.

4. Virtual personal assistants for common and repetitive tasks 

Why it’s awesome. This capability extends virtual personal assistants available on modern device platforms into common business processes. Consider:  “Hey Siri, can you start my travel app please?” or “Hey Cortana, I need to do my expenses.”

When we’ll see it. Next 12 months. Some early examples are being developed.

5. Automated mover/joiner provisioning 

Why it’s awesome. Mover/joiner/leaver is the most common driver of administrative tasks in a workplace. Integrating automation of these processes into the enterprise will ensure all users have what they need on Day 1 of their new roles.

When we’ll see it. Next 12 to 18 months. Requires the integration of workplace data with other sources (e.g., HR) so that triggers of joining, moving or leaving processes can automatically occur.

6. Application suggestions and recommendations based on peer usage 

Why it’s awesome. This enhances user experiences by recommending applications employees may want to use based on what their peers and others in similar roles use.

When we’ll see it. Next 12 to 18 months. This capability also requires underlying data consolidation.

7. Business process experience measurement and reporting from an end user perspective 

Why it’s awesome. Measuring the health of a business process (e.g., Is it accessible by its users? Can it perform its function? How efficiently is it performing?) and using results to gauge capability and efficiency improves business outcomes.

When we’ll see it. Next 2 to 3 years. This requires a significant consolidation of underlying data and analysis of the key business processes within each business.

8. Real-time optimization of user experiences based on location, role and device

Why it’s awesome. Using software defined capabilities of the network, device and data center ensures users are always presented the optimal way of accessing business capability.

When we’ll see it. Next 2 to 3 years. Like business process measurement, this requires significant integration across many different domains, as well as an understanding of the many dimensions that optimization may entail.


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