Oliver Descoeudres, from Logicalis Australia, describes the eight technologies that are enabling the modern workspace.
Over the last decade, new ways of working have evolved as the consumerisation of technology has driven new expectations around flexible working and ‘everywhere access’ to data.
The volume of work being done on digital platforms and mobile devices is growing rapidly, driven by the efficiencies and ease of use for workers that they enable. Work has become something you do, not somewhere you go.
The next step in the evolution is a ‘digital workspace’, which Gartner regards as “a new, more effective way of working, raising employee engagement and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies”
Designed to enable employees to securely access corporate data and devices on any device, the Modern Workspace is a technology reference architecture blueprint enabling mobility and collaboration throughout an organisation, regardless of location.
There are three criteria a workplace must meet to be ‘modern’, as illustrated in the diagram below:
- User-centric – The user comes first, meaning employees work the way they want to work from a culture and technology perspective. The organisation allows them to use their devices and their work environment in the way that best suits them.
- Distributed – The user is mobile, but regardless of how geographically dispersed the workforce may be, employees stay connected to each other, company data is always accessible, and the user experience is consistent.
- Hybrid – The user has choice, which means there are options available to employees as to where they work, how they work, and what device they work on.
Starting with tech
Since the Modern Workspace must be digitally enabled to effectively support mobile and flexible working, the first step in the transformation is to establish a flexible and secure technology platform.
This platform can be categorised into eight technology groups, represented by the eight red pillars at the base of the diagram:
In the Modern Workspace, employees use multiple applications and devices to access corporate data across multiple systems. Instead of having to remember different logins, unified identity management technology creates one identity across multiple platforms, which streamlines the user experience.
Sending files via email can slow productivity and cause confusion, as it often results in multiple document versions being sent around the company. Real time document co-authoring and virtual meeting software encourage collaboration as employees can work simultaneously on one document and conduct effective online meetings, regardless of where they are located.
Real time communication technologies such as instant messaging platforms reduce the time required to gain insights to questions, which ultimately increases collaboration. Real time communication technologies are quick to send and receive, and mimic the natural flow of back and forth communication, which email does not. This works particularly well for teams where conversations need to occur on an ongoing basis.
Virtualised and cloud-based software makes applications available to end user computers without them having to be installed onto company hardware, which reduces the overhead costs. Virtualised software also provides the ability to mitigate roadblocks caused by legacy software. This ensures that employees are always granted access to the latest software features and have a consistent user experience regardless of the device or location.
With corporate data being accessed from multiple locations, security becomes paramount. Modern security technologies such as application whitelisting and behavioural analytics reduce risk by limiting what programs can run within an environment, and identifying any ‘out-of-character’ behaviour.
Organisations who have adopted a Modern Workspace have seen a reduction in help desk ticket times through the availability of user and computer history.
It’s not enough to allow employees to use their own devices – they need to be equipped with an identical corporate experience. A BYOD strategy enables this by automatically deploying corporate applications, Wi-Fi and other device settings, ensuring a consistent experience for users.
A Modern Workspace relies on flexible software defined infrastructure and guaranteed Wi-Fi performance to deliver a consistent user experience to employees, whether in the office or not. This reduces the time to administer and maintain on premises infrastructure, and ensures data is protected through a reliable backup system, regardless of where it may be stored.
Room to move
With these technologies acting as a solid foundation, an organisation can build out a Modern Workspace that aligns with its culture and behaviours, safe in the knowledge that data is secure, services are reliable, and employees are provided with the best possible working experience.