Activating your digital transformation to create the Workplace of the Future™

Technology is rapidly changing the face of the modern workplace.  As stated by Dennis Curry, Deputy CTO and Technology Fellow at Konica Minolta, the knowledge worker will take center-stage in the Workplace of the Future™.  The demand for increased access to information through a variety of interconnected devices from a flexible workplace increases both knowledge worker creativity and productivity.  

Understanding, planning, and embarking upon this journey towards the future of work can be overwhelming.  Konica Minolta has the knowledge, experience, and resources to help customers navigate their way through a digital transformation within their organization.

Konica Minolta’s future of work analysts predict that the “Workplace of the Future™ will be smaller, brilliantly managed, and improve performance by adapting to the daily requirements of the knowledge worker.  While customers are eager to expedite their digital transformation, many are struggling to develop and implement an effective strategy. For instance, we find many SMB customers interested in implementing artificial intelligence.  

For most, the interest is driven by a fear of being “left behind”.  The idea that it is better to implement something than to do nothing is popular amongst SMB customers who recognize the impact that transformative technologies, like artificial intelligence, are having on businesses.  Rather than allowing the fear of being “left behind” drive the decision to change, consider these steps to a successful digital transformation:


1. Ask the question “why change your organization”? 

Before instigating changes in the workplace, particularly those of a transformative nature, consider the challenges within the organization.  Begin by seeking to understand “why” - the reason - the organization should change.  Focus on the specific benefits the change will offer the internal and external stakeholders.

2. Create a “product experience vision” 

Different from the corporate vision, a “product experience vision” is an idealized view of the experience your customers should have, set a few years into the future.  This vision captures the most essential elements of the user experience and expresses the "winning idea".  The focus is on the experience not the technology required to get there.

3. Manage ‘Inertia’

Inertia is the continuation of a movement in one direction until that state of motion is changed by an external force.  A ball rolling down a hill continues to roll down the hill unless a force stops it. This can apply to organizations as well. If you don’t force yourself to change, you never will. Positive inertia counters negative inertia, which is the efforts to fight change. Your organizations must fight legacy, negative inertia.

4. Put people at the center of the digital transformation strategy

According to McKinsey & Co., 70% of large-scale transformation initiatives fail to achieve their goals.  Where technology is concerned, we see digital transformation fail when priority is given to transforming processes, without looking at the people that technology must serve.  How we understand technology today is fundamentally changing – it’s not just about devices.  Technology is becoming center-stage in the workplace, with the expectation that it will augment knowledge workers’ intellectual and creative outputs.  As such, “[transformation happens]… not around processes, but rather organizing humans in a way that allows us the opportunity to remain agile in a changing environment.” (Nate Walkingshaw, CXO of Pluralsight).

5. Design an interoperable IT strategy 

Over the past decade, there has been a fundamental shift in the technology landscape.  In the past – most industries had only a handful of software options for their business.  Fueled by the adoption of agile processes, automation and cloud technologies, and coupled with the explosion of mobile devices and easy-to-use marketplaces – data is now everywhere.  Today, most organizations have an overwhelming number of choices, with new startups vying for their business on a regular basis.  Disruptive technologies can help a business tremendously, however ensuring key criteria such as interoperability, ease-of-use, and security can be challenging when building a web of interconnected services.  Therefore, it is critical to develop a holistic strategy and evaluate changes based not only on a generalized goal to transform – but also on the impact to knowledge workers, customers and stakeholders.

6. Think sustainable 

Executing a green computing strategy can be challenging – especially for larger organizations looking to shift from an on-premises to a cloud-based infrastructure.  If you are looking to adopt a work-from-anywhere strategy, enabling remote user technologies, like thin computing or web-based apps, can both offset carbon emissions and reduce real estate costs.  Taking the next step to a full or partial cloud infrastructure can not only increase organizational agility, but also reduce the operational costs and carbon impact of running your own infrastructure.  Startups or organizations who adopt exclusively SaaS/cloud-based systems will inherently have the benefits of workplace flexibility and minimal infrastructure overhead which conveniently, are also environmentally responsible.

7. Be consultative 

Consulting is as much about listening as it is about selling or educating.  We tend to focus on “what” we are selling or building and not as much on “how” and “why” organizations need it.  The devices, services, and technologies that make up today’s version of the Workplace of the Future™ will evolve and change and be replaced by new technologies, services, and products.  Adopting a consultative mindset and culture should lead to well-informed decision making.  As a result, there will be greater satisfaction from end users, customers and other stakeholders.

The Workplace of the Future™ is more than smart devices interconnected by a traditional IT infrastructure and it’s much more than artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and IoT.  The future workplace empowers people to be productive and creative from anywhere, at any time, through a myriad of devices, media, and technologies – some of which have yet to be invented.  Prepare today by asking “why is change necessary” and “what can I do now” to begin the journey of a digital transformation in your organization. Lastly, remember that change cannot happen in the workplace without a change in the mindset of the workforce.  Put people at the center of your digital transformation strategy and build positive inertia forward.


Authors:

  • Glenn Mathis, Vice President of Global Client Solutions and Services, Konica Minolta USA
  • Christian Mastrodonato, Chief Technologist, Digital Workplace R&D, Konica Minolta Inc.

References

Bucy, M., Finlayson, A., Kelly, G., Moye, C. (2016, May). The ‘how’ of transformation. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/the-how-of-transformation

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