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The Digital Workplace: The future is now

Muhi Majzoub, EVP Engineering, OpenText | May 27, 2016
As the number of Millennials in the workforce grows, organizations are faced with a need to re-evaluate everything from organizational structure to business processes to fit with their inherently “digital-first” view.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach. 

The business world is experiencing a huge transformation, as organizations of all sizes and types transform to take advantage of new digital opportunities. Every element of business, from the supply chain to customer experience, business processes to finance, is affected. But there is no aspect of organizational change that is more profound than the impact felt by the employees.

Digital technologies, such as cloud, mobile, social and Big Data are radically changing the way businesses operate. Ten years ago, it would have been unheard of for staff to use their own smartphones or tablets to take customer orders, submit logistics information or check billing information. Today, it's the default way of doing business.

But it's not just technology that is acting as a disruptive force in today's business environment.  The workplace itself has also changed with the arrival of Millennials - or Generation Y as they are also known -  into the workforce, those people born between the early 80's and early 2000's. These "Digital Natives" were born into a world where technology played a role in all aspects of life - at home, school, work and personal interactions.  They have an admirably tech-savvy view of everything. However, as the number of Millennials in the workforce grows, organizations are faced with a need to re-evaluate everything from organizational structure to business processes to fit with their inherently "digital-first" view.

Millennials simply aren't willing to put up with out-of-date technology. Whether it is hardware, software or services.  They are shunning the enterprise traditions of PCs or laptops and bringing their own devices to work - and expecting the same levels of access to the network as "enterprise hardware". They are demanding access to social media tools - not only to keep in touch with friends during work hours, but also to make them more productive and collaborative. And they will not stand for clunky software, unintuitive or confusing interfaces, or anything less than a smooth, fast, seamless experience.  As part of the on-demand generation, they aren't prepared to wait weeks - let alone months for anything. If their application doesn't deliver immediate results, they head back to the app store to find one that does. Five minutes later they are downloading the next application that helps them do their job.

This Millennial instinct translates to enterprise apps as well, creating significant tension with IT procedures.  Following well-outlined security procedures, IT departments spend years selecting, implementing and testing complex business systems. It is understandable that they are then concerned about holes being blown in their carefully devised governance, compliance and security procedures by this new generation.

 

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