The speed at which workplace technology has evolved over recent decades has been startling, but we are now entering a period – and pace – of change that will put wholly new pressures onto business leaders.
It’s surprising to think about how recently the smartphone reached the mass market. By the end of 2018, the number of worldwide mobile users is expected to increase to over 6.2 billion. Roughly 84 percent of the world population will be using mobile technology by the end of 2018. Mobile devices in use, including both phones and tablets, will grow from 7.7 billion in 2014 to over 12.1 billion by 2018 – 1.95 devices per user1.
Technology has already changed the face of work across industry sectors by enabling relevant information to be shared with employees in real time, whatever their location. For example, building-maintenance officers employed by local councils can now be allocated jobs in their locality, submitting relevant information via smartphone apps before proceeding directly to their next job, a vastly more efficient work process2. At the same time, healthcare professionals are using mobile apps for many purposes, from accessing diagnosis and treatment information, to providing drug references at the point of care3.
For business leaders, enabling this innovation is already throwing up challenges around security, integration and data governance, among other things. But in the workplace of 2020, people will rely more than ever on a suite of advanced technologies and applications to perform their jobs at the level required. Enterprises have a huge task ahead to keep pace with this change.
Leading organizations are experimenting with a host of exciting new technologies that could make a dramatic impact in the workplace, such as wearables, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality rooms, augmented reality, robotics and cognitive computing, to name but a few.
The value of the global cognitive computing market, for example, is forecast to grow from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $12.5 billion by 20194. Meanwhile, US consultancy Digi-Capital’s research suggests that the augmented reality market could reach around $120 billion in revenue by 20205.
If this projected rate of adoption of emerging technologies comes to fruition over the next few years, we will see work in all industries transformed. And while some of these new technologies will become almost universally applied across industries, in the same way that smart mobile technology has become ubiquitous today, others may remain specific to particular sectors.
For business and IT leaders, however, a common set of challenges will present themselves. They must ensure their organisations are agile enough to implement the most effective emerging technologies for their business ahead of their competitors, while designing human-centric systems that bring together the dimensions of people, information and infrastructure to optimize the capabilities and performance of each employee.
The White Book of Digital Workplace Evolution delivers practical, forward-looking guidance to enterprises as they develop their workplace IT infrastructure to support and grow their business. It looks at how business leaders can optimize these new ways of working, recognize specific implications relevant to their business and industry, and how they can best prepare their organizations for the evolving world of work.