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As 2019 tech predictions start surfacing it’s important to pause and evaluate today’s trends. Looking forward and staying ahead of the curve is great, but if you’re not on the curve right now you’ll only fall further behind next year.
Daniel Newman recently wrote a great article along these lines for Forbes called “Modern Digital Workplace: 5 Current Trends Making Waves in the Office.” Many of the trends he highlights (like “It’s All About the Cloud”) aren’t particularly new, but they’re now at a point where companies can no longer ignore them. If they do, they’ll risk falling behind today and tomorrow – which can have implications from losing talent to losing a competitive advantage.
Three of the trends Newman discusses particularly stand out:
These all fundamentally tie back to supporting employees and the way they want to work today (hint: it’s not sitting at a desk in an office anymore). Companies that ignore these trends may think its business as usual, but they’ll begin seeing productivity lag, employee attrition and competitors who do abide by these trends pulling ahead.
You’d be hard pressed today to find an organization that isn’t using at least one cloud solution. From cloud servers to SaaS business applications, cloud solutions have been taking over for quite some time. Newman explains the cloud’s impact as such:
“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.”
You can’t really have a digital workplace without embracing digital solutions like cloud services. But more importantly for organizations – and one of the main reason they’re adopting the cloud – is saves time, resources and money.
Here’s an example:
Almost every business in existence needs either a point of sale (POS) system or a customer relationship management (CRM) system to make and manage sales. But what are the benefits of building a custom in-house solution that needs to constantly be maintained and updated? Even traditional software and applications need to be manually updated with new releases. The cloud takes away the vast majority of those demands. Users log into a cloud-based application that was created and is maintained and improved by someone else. This allows organizations to focus on their core business instead of tools.
As cloud solutions have proved their effectiveness, security, and benefits, companies are looking into what additional needs can be served by the cloud and this trend is poised to keep growing.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Of course we’re going to agree with Newman’s trend that “virtualized desktop environments are here.” Dizzion is a desktop as a service (DaaS) provider (in case you didn’t know). And Newman’s not alone in his opinion, the global virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market is expected to experience a 16.5% CAGR by 2023.
That being said, the reasons Newman highlights for this trend are exactly why more and more businesses are embracing virtual desktops:
Data security is an increasing challenge and threat across industries. Couple that with a growing desire among workers for flexibility and the ability to work remotely and IT teams have a compounding challenge on their hands. Now that virtual desktop performance has improved to the point that it matches the experience of a traditional desktop, virtualization is an increasingly appealing solution. It also fits in nicely with the tandem trend of cloud solution adoption, giving organizations a double boost toward digital workplace transformation. As Newman notes:
“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.”
One of the main drivers for virtual desktop adoption is to enable employees to work when and where they want. Newman’s third trend, “Improvements for the IT User Experience,” follows along that same premise of enabling employees to be more productive. He puts it simply:
“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.”
These are well documented and growing employee trends and organizations that fight it are going against the currently. It takes a lot more effort to stop a moving train than it does to divert it after all.
Good organizations spend a lot of time focusing on customer experience and satisfaction, but take the time to turn your eye inward to ensure employees are equally satisfied and engaged. Struggling employees and lagging productivity will inevitably effect customer-facing experiences, whether through delayed timelines, diminished customer support or buggy products. Take the time and make the investments needed to balance employee desires with business needs. If you do it’s a “win-win for all involved” and if you don’t, you could see top talent leaving for other opportunities that do value employee experience.
There’s only a few months left in 2018, but that’s plenty of time to evaluate where you stand with today’s digital workplace trends before moving on to next year’s big things.