Blog | Understanding tech trends to enable workplace of tomorrow

By Michael Ngan

The cubicle, the assigned desk, the private office: Will these soon be relics of the past?

The recent IDC InfoBrief, “Enabling the Future Workspace – Agile, Intelligent and Engaging”, commissioned by Lenovo, indicate they are, but it may be for a different reason than what one may first think.

The rise of hot desking and hoteling, workforce mobility and collaboration spaces has certainly risen in part due to a relentless drive for cost efficiency. Since 2010, office space per worker has decreased 30%. The main driver behind this trend, however, is not cost. It is, rather, a new style of work embraced and now expected by a younger generation of workers.

By 2020, millennials will comprise 50% of the global workforce. These digital natives value flexibility, freedom to communicate by social media and work mobility. So much so, in fact, that one in three say they would prioritize a flexible work style over salary when considering a job offer.

It is these new workers’ expectations and style that are shaping the new workplace culture and technology. Between now and 2021, workplaces across the Asia-Pacific region will undergo fundamental changes in practices due to both changing workforce demographics and easier access to new technologies.

Evidence that the change is already happening can be seen in work spaces known as “innovation accelerators.” Asia-Pacific excluding Japan represents the largest market for these shared spaces, with the market for them forecast to exceed US$600 billion by 2020.

For any company looking to create maximum productivity and efficiency, then, the key to future-proofing the workplace is a laser focus on users.

Facilitated by affordable technology

One major legacy issue is technology silos, which inhibit the free flow and exchange of information, and for the modern worker, simply makes life more tedious and complicated.

Among Asia’s top 1,000 companies, 80% say that silos inhibit new opportunities, and 70% believe that the number one consequence of poor IT performance in general is lost productivity. Of these companies, 20% plan to have a device as a service (DaaS) agreement in place by 2019.

Also by 2019, two-thirds of Windows 10 PCs and tablets will be managed via unified endpoint management (UEM) platforms. One enterprise in three will have consolidated its desktop and mobile management IT teams into a single operations unit.

By 2020, 40 percent of digital transformation initiatives will be supported by cognitive/AI capabilities, providing critical on-time insights for new operating and monetization models.

Asia’s top firms will use open innovation to allocate expertise to 15 percent of new projects by 2020, aiming to increase their new product introduction success rates by over 50 percent. Over 20 percent of information workers will leverage AR at the desktop or on mobile to manipulate information, interact with real-world objects and collaborate with colleagues.

Focus on the user

All of this transformation is, of course, not driven by the simple acquisition of shiny, new technology. A truly engaging and productivity-enhancing solution can only result from putting the user at the center of every IT decision.

It is essential that enterprises look past the idea of the traditional PC as the starting point to create a mobile, smart and personalized experience for employees. Today’s variety of next-generation form factors and design choices meet modern workspace demands, including mobility, and offer enterprise-grade reliability and security.

Imagine a world enabled by intelligence, a world where every device is smart, where the cloud enables PCs, tablets, smartphones, smart speakers, smart TVs and AR/VR to provide seamless and engaging content and services to make the user experience easier, better, more creative and more productive.

On the physical workspace front, transformation can be accelerated with bimodal IT and agile practices, solutions and commercial models tailored for different industries and markets.

Such is the power of the changing workplace culture to come, that technology companies across the board are now focused on providing new solutions. Lenovo, for example, is investing around $1.4 billion a year in research and development to help customers transform and transit into an era of agile, flexible and user-centric technology.

In 2017, “IT” should not stand for “information technology,” but “intelligent transformation.” That is the new role for technology drivers in today’s modern enterprise.

The author is the Lenovo Philippines country general manager

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