The digital workplace: Making the magic happen

Globalization and the growth of the “outside-in” digital enterprise have thoroughly disrupted the workplace.

The company-employee equation has changed dramatically, with the “task” becoming the primary focus. Collaboration happens intuitively and digitally across boundaries. As workers exercise more independence, taking jobs they’re truly interested in, businesses reduce traditional benefits and brick-and-mortar office space to free up resources and gain flexibility.

Welcome to the gig economy.

New ways to create and collaborate

Characterized by contract workers doing one or more temporary jobs, the gig economy is expected to grow to $335 billion in the U.S. by 2025. Taking advantage of the trend are new businesses with digital-first models. Companies such as Appirio and Upwork crowdsource developers and technical freelancers; Eden and TaskRabbit source local workers for everything from installing a printer to packing boxes. Ride-sharing firms such as Uber and Lyft even attract office workers who like the option of earning extra money while commuting to and from their primary work.

Technology enables it all, offering employees new ways to create, connect, collaborate and communicate.

And in this environment, users won’t think twice about bypassing enterprise IT in favor of their preferred devices and channels. The BYOD revolution continues today and encompasses even more aspects of IT. Users are more likely to “Google” the answer to a problem than wait for the company’s help desk to respond. They’re more likely to share a document via personal email or Google docs than struggle with the company’s intranet and cyber security policy.

This undermines the user experience — a critical focus of every IT organization — and also compromises the business, increasing the likelihood of data leakage, information silos, security vulnerabilities and shadow IT.

IT that’s “all about me”

What’s needed instead is a richer experience — one in which IT is everywhere, seamlessly enabling the user. In the words of futurist Arthur C. Clarke, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Today’s IT organizations need to make “magic” by aligning technology with experience. They must move away from the one-size-fits-all approach, and embrace the user-centric service model of “it’s all about me.” It starts with two musts:

  • Foundational capabilities based on IT as a service. A hybrid infrastructure is needed here, with services brokered from cloud providers across software-driven infrastructures and networks, delivering a high degree of automation.
  • Services, applications and products focused on creating a differentiated, consumer-like experience. The experience must be tailored to the individual rather than forcing all users to accept a one-size-fits-all approach. With the right interaction model, users can adopt processes and tools themselves. Real-time data, machine learning, contextual insights and social analytics can help deliver information in the context of the task at hand.

By delivering on these imperatives, organizations can ensure a higher-quality experience for users, as well as higher levels of productivity and increased agility in both IT and business services. They will realize an environment that is not limited to the physical office, but is contextual and augmented, enriched and data driven.

In short, they’ll be making magic.

Read more in our position paper, Empowering Workforces with Invisible IT.

Marc Wilkinson was DXC Technology’s chief technology officer for Workplace & Mobility. He left DXC in October 2019.


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