The Workplace of the Future

SMALLER, BRILLIANTLY MANAGED, PERFORMANCEIMPROVING – AND WITH PEOPLE.

Even tomorrow’s work has only one core element: people, who are becoming knowledge workers. This article explains how companies are challenging technological transformation – and creating an ideal workplace in the process.

Technology is rapidly changing the face of the modern workplace. As stated by Dennis Curry, Deputy CTO and Technology Fellow at Konica Minolta, the knowledge worker will take centre stage in the Workplace of the Future. The demand for increased access to information through a variety of interconnected devices from a flexible workplace increases both knowledge worker creativity and productivity.

Understanding, planning, and embarking upon this journey towards the future of work can be overwhelming. Konica Minolta has the knowledge, experience and resources to help customers navigate their way through a digital transformation within their organisation.

Konica Minolta’s future of work analysts predict that the Workplace of the Future will be ‘smaller, brilliantly managed and improve performance’, by adapting to the daily requirements of the knowledge worker.


MANY SMEs LACK AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY

While customers are eager to expedite their digital transformation, many are struggling to develop and implement an effective strategy. For instance, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are interested in implementing artificial intelligence. Often, however, there is no sensible integration of the concept. The idea that it is better to implement something than to do nothing is popular amongst SME customers who recognise the impact that transformative technologies, like artificial intelligence, are having on businesses. Rather than allowing the fear of being ‘left behind’ to drive the decision to change, consider these steps to a successful digital transformation:


1. GOOD INTENTIONS ARE NOT THE SAME AS GOOD IMPLEMENTATION

Before instigating changes in the workplace, particularly those of a transformative nature, consider the challenges within the organisation. Begin by seeking to understand ‘why’ – the reason the organisation should change. Focus on the specific benefits the change will offer the internal and external stakeholders.


2. CREATE A ‘PRODUCT EXPERIENCE VISION’

In contrast to the corporate vision, a ‘product experience vision’ is an idealised view of the experience your customers should have, set a few years into the future. This vision captures the most essential elements of the user experience and expresses the core idea. The focus is on the experience, not the technology required to get there.


3. MANAGE INERTIA

Inertia is the continuation of a movement in one direction until that state of motion is changed by an external force. A ball rolling down a hill continues to roll down the hill unless a force stops it. This can apply to organisations as well. If you don’t force yourself to change, you never will. Positive inertia counters negative inertia, which is the efforts to fight change. Your organisation must fight legacy, negative inertia.


4. PUT PEOPLE AT THE CENTRE

According to McKinsey & Company, 70 per cent of large-scale transformation initiatives fail to achieve their goals. Where technology is concerned, we see digital transformation fail when priority is given to transforming processes, without looking at the people that technology must serve.

How we understand technology today is fundamentally changing – it’s not just about devices. Technology is taking centre stage in the workplace, with the expectation that it will augment knowledge workers’ intellectual and creative outputs. As such, ‘transformation does not happen around processes, but rather it organises people in a way that allows us to remain agile in a changing environment.’ (Nate Walkingshaw, CXO of Pluralsight).


5. A HOLISTIC WHOLE

Over the past decade, there has been a fundamental shift in the technology landscape. In the past, most industries had only a handful of software options for their business. Fuelled by the adoption of agile processes, automation and cloud technologies, and coupled with the explosion of mobile devices and easy-touse marketplaces, data is now everywhere.
 
Bucy, M., Finlayson, A., Kelly, G., Moye, C. (2016, May). The ‘how’ of transformation. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/ourinsights/the-how-of-transformation

Today, most organisations have an overwhelming number of choices, with new start-ups vying for their business on a regular basis. Disruptive technologies can help a business tremendously, however, ensuring key criteria such as interoperability, easeof- use and security can be challenging when building a web of interconnected services.

Therefore, it is critical to develop a holistic strategy and evaluate changes based not only on a generalised goal to transform – but also on the impact for knowledge workers, customers and stakeholders.


6. THINK SUSTAINABLE

Executing a green IT strategy can be challenging – especially for larger organisations looking to shift from an on-premises to a cloud-based infrastructure.

If you are looking to adopt a work-from-anywhere strategy, enabling remote user technologies, like thin computing or webbased apps, can both offset carbon emissions and reduce real estate costs.

Taking the next step to a full or partial cloud infrastructure can not only increase organisational agility, but also reduce the operational costs and carbon impact of running your own infrastructure. Start-ups or organisations that adopt exclusively SaaS/ cloud-based systems will inherently have the benefits of workplace flexibility and minimal infrastructure overheads, and, conveniently, will also be environmentally responsible.


7. LISTENING PAYS OFF

Consulting is as much about listening as it is about selling or educating. However, we tend to focus on ‘what’ we are selling or building and not as much on ‘how’ and ‘why’ organisations need it.

The devices, services and technologies that make up today’s version of the Workplace of the Future will evolve and change and be replaced by new technologies, services and products.

Adopting a consultative mindset and culture should lead to well-informed decision making. As a result, there will be greater satisfaction from end users, customers and other stakeholders.

The Workplace of the Future is more than smart devices interconnected by a traditional IT infrastructure, and it’s much more than artificial intelligence, augmented reality and IoT.

The future workplace empowers people to be productive and creative from anywhere, at any time, through a myriad of devices, media and technologies – some of which have yet to be invented.

Prepare today by asking ‘why is change necessary?’ and ‘what can I do now to begin the journey of a digital transformation in my organisation?’. Lastly, remember that change cannot happen in the workplace without a change in the mindset of the workforce. Put people at the centre of your digital transformation strategy and build positive inertia forward.

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