Does your office look different than it used to? Do you have a storage room filed with filing cabinets and external computer equipment? Is half your cubicle taken up by a monitor and a computer tower? Do you even go into a physical office location? Let’s face it, the modern digital workplace looks different.
I recently explored the biggest Digital Transformation Trends that will impact 2019, but there are also some trends that are taking hold in the modern digital workplace, some we’ve been waiting for, others that have surprised us all. However, one thing is for certain: technology is going to continue making waves, changing work for us all and while I do enjoy looking into the future, I believe there are some trends that are making a big impact on the office today. Are you ready? Here are the five trends that I’ve seen making their way into offices across the globe.
It’s All About the Cloud
Cloud, cloud, cloud. We talk about this constantly because it’s the underlying technology that’s changing the most in business, in my opinion. It’s more than just moving data and files to the cloud—which everyone is doing—it’s services too. Cloud-based services offerings in the categories, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service have changed our office environments.
You might not have a full-service in-house IT department anymore because of the cloud. You probably use more SaaS programs than you realize. And I’d venture to guess that everyone reading this article probably runs their business on a hybrid cloud environment. It’s cost effective and it’s saving space and time—and now companies are using consumption-based IT services to determine exactly how much space and cost their cloud is saving them.
The beauty of the cloud is the numerous, customizable options. You get to pick and choose what works for your business. The cloud is arguably the number one factor in the changing modern digital workplace.
Virtualized Desktop Environments Are Here
VDI or virtual desktop infrastructure started a blaze that is shifting how we work in all industries. Have you ever brought work home from the office only to realize you can’t do it because you need something from your work computer? With VDI, employees can see their work desktop from practically anywhere enabling them to work from anywhere at any time. We are an increasingly mobile society and VDI enables work to be too.
For your IT team to be prepared, they must realize the number of endpoints they will need to secure. Employees are now using tablets and mobile phones that should have the same amount of security as a laptop. If not, you risk data breach and security complications, something you might not come back from easily. Your IT team should have a clear plan about what to allow, what not to allow and how success will be measured during the process.
In the end, this isn’t really about VDI, it’s about mobility. The workplace of the future allows any employee to do anything they could do in the office, no matter where they are. That’s the target for companies transforming their workplaces.
Improvements to the IT User Experience
Right now, the world is abuzz with new advancements in the customer experience. But let’s not forget your employees. You need to focus on your employee user experience now as much as you do on your customer experience. If your employees can’t use the tech or the apps and programs you’re providing them with you’ll likely see a huge lag in productivity. If you’re not giving them the devices they need, they might bring in their own devices and create a shadow IT environment. But I think instead of shying away from this, you should embrace it. Let employees use the devices and programs they need.
This gives users the power to choose the device they feel most comfortable with and enhances the experience of that device when performing work. Add the cloud, which makes it possible to enhance the user experience alongside the computing environment and you now have a faster machine compared to past virtual desktop environments. It’s a win-win for all involved in the modern digital workplace.
More IoT – Only This Time to Improve Workflow
How many IoT connected devices do you have currently in your office? IoT devices are changing the way business is conducted in industries such as manufacturing and production—but creative companies outside of these industries are finding uses for IoT devices too. Devices such as smart sensors and workflow triggers are making it easy to streamline workflows, monitor and learn in the modern digital workplace.
For example, a smart sensor in the server room could monitor the temperature of the room, alerting maintenance when it goes out of range. IoT schedulers can help you regulate and share conference rooms or co-working spaces. Amazon recently rolled out a feature where you can track your package on a map once it’s been sent to the post office. A feature like this could be used by smaller commerce companies looking to improve customer experience. To take advantage of these sensors, you’ll need to prepare your IT team for an influx of new technology and change your processes to accommodate them.
Removing the Bureaucracy
It’s time to remove the excessively difficult administrative processes that slow up progress now that we have the technology to do so. This trend within the modern digital workplace is creating action-oriented work processes and models that give the employee more responsibility instead of creating more detailed and ineffective processes. Bureaucratic processes don’t add any value to the desired outcome, instead impacting productivity and efficiency.
How will this happen? By taking mundane and extremely tedious work and simplifying it using technology such as apps, platforms, workflow management and more.
Now is the time to embrace technology to remain competitive and improve your business as a whole. As the digital transformation takes hold, these workplace trends will be at the forefront of a wave that will only continue to gain momentum as next generation technologies like AI and Intelligent Automation take hold.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.