Over the past decade, a drive toward increased productivity, efficiency and innovation has significantly changed how people work. This shift, which has been driven largely by technology and employee preferences, has enabled employees to collaborate with colleagues all over the world, to accomplish more in less time, and to help propel organizations toward success and innovation.
But the speed and depth of change have also delivered substantial challenges. Most notably, it has created a fractured technology landscape that can often hinder employees’ ability to collaborate and innovate—a siloed and unsecured hodgepodge of legacy systems, cloud services, personal mobile devices, and more. Frustration is inevitable.
Things are changing, however. Business leaders have begun to understand that silos don’t work and that people—and technology—must work together to be productive, efficient and innovative.
Other factors that are driving this shift toward integrated technology include:
- A changing business environment: Brand loyalty and customer experience are now critical to retention and attraction of customers, both external and internal.
- A diverse, distributed and mobile workforce: Today’s workers represent five generations and use more than three devices daily for work activities. Additionally, it is estimated that by 2020, 72 percent of employees will work remotely.
- A shift toward team-based and collaborative work: The workplace has two times as many teams as in the past, and surveys show that 80 percent of employee time is spent collaborating.
Tech companies have also changed their approach. Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others have responded to demands for holistic systems that make collaboration easy and innovation inevitable.
For example, late last year Microsoft introduced Microsoft 365, an integrated system driven by artificial intelligence (AI) that consolidates productivity and collaboration tools (Office 365 and Windows 10), security, and mobile device management tools.
Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others have responded to demands for holistic systems that make collaboration easy and innovation inevitable
This shift toward holistic tech solutions will not radically change day-to-day experiences—updates and new/changed functionality are already being pushed out at a faster pace. It will be a subtler transformation. The technology will enable employees to work efficiently and seamlessly—and then it will get out of the way.
Microsoft 365, for example, can simplify mobile device setup, can reduce the time and effort it takes to work with colleagues on files and can streamline the meeting/collaboration process.
It’s important to understand that, as with any new technology solution, it will require vigilance. Employees need to keep up with the tech changes that are coming to their organizations. They should become active participants—which means reading company communication, and determining if and how the changes will affect them. They should commit to learning something new on a regular basis and be open to new ways of working.
Change is a guarantee. Whether it’s profound or superficial, the best way to prepare for it is to embrace it.