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Six Predictions for the Future of Work in 2017

Jimmy Fitzgerald, Vice President, Asia-Pacific & Japan, ServiceNow | Dec. 13, 2016
Some of these changes will take us out of our comfort zones, at first. But many changes we will welcome with open arms and wonder how we ever got anything done without them.

Much like using outsourced pay-as-you-go talent, the task economy also makes a pay-as-you-go consumption model for technology more attractive than owning an asset. This is already having a big impact on IT. This mentality explains why a majority of enterprises have become cloud-first. It means that to be successful, IT professionals will need to become experts in brokering services - essentially adopting frameworks such as SIAM (Service Integration and Management). In addition, as the infrastructure buyer shifts from inside IT to outside service providers, there will be a big impact on traditional data centre focused companies such as Cisco.

Reach Your Potential One Chatbot at a Time

We tend to think about chatbots as customer support tools, but that will change in 2017 and beyond. As the bot landscape expands and bots improve to provide contextual recommendations, we'll see bots used to positively alter employee behaviour not just improve customer communications.

Chatbots will serve as digital virtual assistants to help workers reach their highest productivity. Based on ever-increasing data inputs, bots will evaluate how workers' time is spent, make recommendations to improve productivity and quality, and suggest best practices through the use of bot-driven benchmarking.

Announced in July this year, the Singapore government is partnering with Microsoft to develop next-generation digital government services via chatbots that will enable conversation. The technology will be implemented in three phases where the final aim will be for the chatbots to be able to respond to personalised queries from users. This is all part of Singapore's Smart Nation initiative that aims to better the lives of citizens through technology.

Using algorithms, bots will guide positive changes to our behaviour because they will be able to leverage individual contextualisation. According to Gartner, by the end of 2017 at least one commercial organisation will report significant increases in profit margins because of algorithms used to positively alter employee behaviours. For example, a chatbot may point out to an employee that their company's incident response time is 30 percent slower than a financial competitor and then tell the worker what they need to do to improve that response time.  The trajectory of bots in the enterprise will lead to significant productivity gains.

Tech Productivity Not Politics Drives Growth

Political leaders beat a steady drum about the need to get the economy growing again and get more out of what we put in. Arguably, politics does not drive growth; productivity does. As the economy has demanded companies to try to do more with less, many companies have pushed their employees to do more in less time while delivering higher quality. We're reaching the point where employees can't do more without technology stepping up, and that doesn't mean just more technology tools. The secret to doing more with less is machines, not people, and the greatest gains in productivity will be achieved when the nature and structure of work changes.


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