The enterprise office is evolving, and enterprise IT has a big role. In my previous post, we looked at how the physical workspace is changing to an open environment, promoting greater collaboration and productivity. Enterprise IT will be a big part of that transformation. Yet, workspace transformation alone will not singularly transform business. What will? Technology innovation and implementation.
How will work get done in the future office?
1 – IP & 4G powering both headquarters and the extended mobile office
Mobile technology’s extension of the traditional office beyond the walls of brick-and-mortar buildings enables business operations and customer experiences to be completely transformed. According to Wimax.com, “The availability of more reliable, higher-capacity wireless data networks such as WiMAX is one of the keys to expanding the reach of business into the mobile environment. This transformation is occurring in the context of an overall enterprise shift toward all-IP communications.” With enterprise IT leveraging IP and 4G technologies to support voice, video, and data communications, and moving applications to the cloud, enterprise IT is empowering employees with the tools to extend business opportunities for enterprises in all vertical industries.
2 – Enterprise headquarters & branch offices are not going away
Says Network World, despite the statistic that most knowledge workers are teleworkers meaning these workers conduct some business outside the traditional office space, work will still get done at headquarters and in branch offices. “Companies will have technology that users can't afford, so it will be centralized. Also, offices provide sociability, and maintain the company's brand and identity. There's still a need for office space.” And simply, advanced technology will continue to transform business, but never replace face to face communication and interpersonal relationships which happen at the office.
3 – The Millennial generation will drive new demands for technology
The up and coming work force, those born between 1977 and 1998, is hands-down the most technically literate. They bring with them great expectations: a work environment with cutting-edge technology, compatibility across applications and devices, and certainly the latest mobile and technological devices. Enterprise IT must work with HR and other business leaders to stay on top of these demands to continue to attract the best employees from this generation, as well as to remain at the forefront of competition.
4 –Technology supporting enterprise headquarters & branch offices is changing
In my previous post, we made the case for the new, modern open work environments. What does technology have to do with it?
• Work lounges and open spaces equipped with technology, such as electronic whiteboards, videoconferencing or telepresence, and WiFi. Employees bring their laptops or other mobile devices, and the space is already equipped.
• More mobile devices will be connected to the corporate network: Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and whatever comes next.
• Technology must support mobility, as employees work less at an assigned desk and are more fluid.
• To meet the increasing technology demands, enterprise IT will move more computer processing, storage, and applications to the cloud. On top of that, security will be tighter, and enterprise IT will be more likely to require two-factor authentication, such as passwords and a fingerprint reader.
5 – The ultimate future office will be highly virtual and intelligent
• Devices will become even smarter. Here is an example: When an employee enters a room with her device, a cloud application will be able to identify a camera on her device, and then prompt her to establish a videoconferencing connection.
• Forbes goes even further, as discussed in an interview with Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie. The office of the future will be “around” you. Walls will be equipped with technology to respond to voice commands, keyboards will be virtual and appear as you begin work on your computer, computers will respond to human gestures without any physical interaction, “touchscreen” features will be available on virtual presentations. And this is just the beginning. Says Mundie, what seems like science fiction today, will be general use in the near future.