There can be no doubt that the emergence of “third platform” technologies such as cloud, mobility, and social business have completely revolutionised the way we work. But as revolutionary as these changes have been, we are only at the beginning of this transformational journey.
Indeed, the rise of automation in the workplace — courtesy of emerging technologies such as AI, data analytics, robotics, and AR/VR — will bring about changes we could never have previously imagined. The World Economic Forum calls this the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, and its impact is being felt broadly across all industries and many job functions.
Consumerisation of IT
At the same time, workers are seeking out new, more intelligent workspaces that deliver personalised experiences. This is because our own consumer experiences are driving new sets of expectations for the workplace — a workplace increasingly characterised by geographically diverse teams, a rising premium on collaboration, and a sea of new data analytics opportunities.
The consumerisation of IT has, in many cases, completely reversed the cycle of how and where technology emerges and is then deployed. It is now increasingly common for technology solutions to first find favour among consumers before eventually spreading to businesses and government organisations.
This is happening because consumers are realising the convenience that these technologies are bringing to their private lives and subsequently introducing them to the workplace.
Starting with the handset
The smartphone is an obvious example. The user is always connected and if he or she needs to know something, they just use their device to search for an answer. If they need to communicate, they download a chat or messaging app. If they need to collaborate, they install a collaboration app.
They shop and receive customer support on their devices, and this dynamic is driving significant changes in customer experiences and causing a profound shift in employee expectations.
Workers fairly question why they can collaborate more easily and be more productive outside of work than using the same technologies at work. Companies should look to capitalise on this dynamic by enabling a more collaborative online environment.
By doing so, they stand to benefit from greater ideation, improved productivity, faster time-to-market/project completion, and the provision of better employee experiences.
But collaboration doesn’t stop there. Some teams create a powerful culture that empowers the flow of ideas, capabilities, and knowledge without regard to department or location. We refer to these highly productive teams as “super-teams”.
They are multidisciplinary, mission-driven, and focused on particular purpose. They also have an unashamed disregard for traditional silos, departments, or locations. Instead, they place a high value on the outcomes that they achieve as a team.
And while not every team can perform at the super-team level, incremental benefits can be added to the collaboration journey.
For example, “deskless” or “frontline” workers, including contractors, who may not have a desk or corporate email address are being realised as the newest knowledge worker category, adding unique and valuable insights.
The global Covid-19 outbreak has led to more and more businesses around the world ordering their staff to work from home. But that doesn’t mean that collaboration has to stop.
Indeed, there’s a wide array of collaborative applications that can be used. These include team collaboration apps for sharing content and data assets, videoconferencing tools, and communications platforms, as well as workflow, content management, CRM, and HRIS systems.
As AI and machine learning increase their presence across the future enterprise, they will utilise data across these applications, platforms, and systems to enhance the superpowers of the teams involved.
But as useful as these technologies will inevitably be for enabling even greater collaboration, the cultural dynamics at play are equally as important. The most collaborative super-teams are identity driven; they enable the free flow of convergent and divergent ideas; they model and mentor good community behaviour; and they always give credit where it is due.
As such, it’s important to realise that the tools for empowering a truly successful super-team go far beyond the mere deployment of technology solutions.