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Birth of the future digital workplace

Kevin Wo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, ASEAN, Avanade | Sept. 17, 2015
How to improve productivity and competitive advantage in a hyper-connected world.

Accessing work emails on mobile devices, using voice-over-IP for business calls, or tracking company news on social media is second nature to many professionals in today's world. Many consider this to be a digital workplace, but achieving continued productivity and competitive advantage will require much more significant changes to the way people work.

Thanks to the consumerisation of IT and emerging "Internet of Things," companies are being increasingly challenged to harness data to drive productivity and competitive advantage. In response, Singapore companies must look to transform all of the interactions of their employees into digitally empowered experiences, rather than mistakenly assume that tools like email and social media are adequate tools.

A true digital workplace brings together applications, information, and collaboration in an intelligent context that is tailored to an individual employee's role, location, and tasks. This is how companies can continue to drive revenues, attract and retain talent, and outperform the competition in a hyper-connected world.

Interestingly, research firm IDC has observed the emergence of a new computing platform that will help to support the transition to a true digital workplace, known as Third Platform. This has cloud at its core and offers anywhere, anytime access to application functionality. For example, as workforces become increasingly mobile, lightweight apps running on ever-changing classes of mobile devices are becoming critical access points for cloud services and solutions. Going forward, we can expect the Third Platform to support mobile computing, social networking, cloud services, and Big Data analytics technologies.

The journey has already started
In Singapore, we are already seeing traditional office environments starting to transform. This trend is validated by recent global research commissioned by Avanade, which shows business and IT leaders overwhelmingly agree that the traditional office will become obsolete within four years. The demand for digital skills is outpacing supply, and the next generation of talent is not necessarily only human — it will be a dream team of humans, data and intelligent software working together. Indeed, 91 percent of respondents to the Avanade-commissioned survey believe that today's teenagers will be working in roles that do not yet exist.

This shift is occurring because organisations that have already adopted digital workplace tools are reporting multiple business benefits, such as increased customer satisfaction, faster innovation, and improved employee engagement. Notably, 93 percent of respondents to the said survey agreed that the increased employee engagement resulting from a digital workplace translates to a positive impact on a company's bottom line. However, to realise these benefits, it is important to design your digital workplace around people, not technology. You also need to be prepared to invest in helping your people understand how digital enables them to do more with less.


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