Multiple industry dynamics are aligning to create the conditions for an explosion of employee-facing technology. Developments in text analytics, natural-language processing, data science and the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, can be combined in novel ways to produce work tools capable of creating substantial competitive advantage.
Many of these technologies will be nested in software as a service (SaaS) applications over the next several years. Since the technology will be introduced within existing SaaS business processes, employee uptake can be rapid. Organizations, however, must focus on boosting overall workforce digital dexterity to ensure that new technology leads to gains in employee agility and engagement.
CIOs should use the top 10 employee-facing technology trends to drive digital workplace transformation:
- Ambient knowledge is the proactive, algorithm-driven delivery of customized information based on an employee’s activities and preferences. It also acts as an in-house expertise location service. Using technology similar to Netflix/Amazon recommendation engines, it solves the long-standing business problem of a general lack of awareness of existing content and people expertise with the employee community.
- Embedded analytics is contextual data analysis performed by tools that are easy to use and sometimes invisible to the employee. Primarily seen in software as a service (SaaS) applications, these tools represent the seamless availability—and democratization– of analytics for more informed decision making for a wide population of employees.
- Production studio technology enables employees to package and deliver content such as sales collateral or internal presentations in new ways, with tools such as video, podcasts, infographics and nextgen presentation software. This empowers employees to be more creative in their efforts to lead, sell and influence by breaking out of the PowerPoint jail.
- Immersive technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality, are set to go mainstream in the consumer world, which will drive rapid uptake in businesses. Uses will include training, field service and immersive conference room services. Employees will ultimately be able to use natural gestures to deal with complex processes.
- Bürolandschaft highlights the role of the physical office in the digital workplace. Offices which support activity-based workspaces are critical, especially for a mobile workforce. CIOs will need to work with the facilities department to enact change. This also means developing IoT-enabled “smart” workspaces that proactively deliver services to employees as they move through the office.
- Personal clouds are the consumer apps, devices and things that employees use based on their personal preferences. In a work context, the personal cloud can lead to improved employee agility and engagement, but it can introduce security, compliance and compatibility concerns. Organizations will have to take a “managed diversity” approach to the personal cloud to ensure the right balance of employee autonomy and control.
- Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) will become more common as technology improves, and employees grow more comfortable with them outside of work. At the moment, assistants such as Cortana, Siri, Google Now and Echo are being used mostly for data retrieval and basic tasks, but within a couple years VPAs will proactively initiate and conclude complex business processes on the behalf of the employee with little oversight required.
- Silo-busters are tools that transcend organizational boundaries. They enable teams to solve problems and generate ideas across work silos — a longstanding challenge in many organizations. Social networks will play a role, along with idea jams, hackathons, plus collaborative work management and workstream collaboration tools.
- Process Hacks are codeless development and integration services that enable non-IT employees to build apps and create system-to-system links. Fueled by the API economy, process hacks puts development and integration services directly into the hands of employees with the most visibility into needed process improvements.
- Microlearning helps employees become more competent and skilled in the digital workplace. This involves informal and contextual digital dexterity training delivered through videos, quizzes, text messages, games or other modalities. The shorter and more immediate the training, the more useful it is.
This article was written by Gartner Inc. from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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