Supporting the workplace when it is no longer a place
By Gavin Selkirk May 5, 2016
- Employees want to choose the productivity tools and technology they use
- Companies need to modernise their IT service desks to support their new digital business
EMPLOYEES’ expectations are changing rapidly about where we work, how we get work done, and when it happens. Workforces are increasingly global and distributed, and individuals want to be productive at all times, anywhere they happen to be.
Meanwhile, the ability to work from anywhere now has employers expecting employees to work productively during non-traditional hours at various locations.
This dynamic has changed the concept of the traditional ‘office’ and put tremendous pressure on IT service management to maintain 24/7 operations and support the new distributed digital enterprise.
Likewise, mobility is replacing the traditional desktop experience.
IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide places Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) as the largest region in the world in terms of mobility-related spending. IDC expects enterprise and consumer spending on mobile devices and related software and services to grow from US$514 billion in 2015 to US$578 billion by 2019.
As millennials make up a larger percentage of the labour force, they increasingly expect a consumer-like experience at work akin to the smart, user-friendly technology they use at home.
In fact, 2016 may well be the year when the ‘workplace’ will no longer be a single place at all, as enterprises accelerate the shift to a more consumer-like computing environment, enabling employees to choose the productivity tools and technology they want to use.
Companies that don’t modernise their IT service desks to adequately support their new digital business will face dwindling prospects.
According to IDC, 60% of Asia Pacific’s top 1,000 enterprises will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy, failing which, they could find themselves left behind.
Perhaps the most dangerous consequence will be the difficulty of attracting and retaining top talent if systems don’t empower them to be productive and successful.
Here are four key ways companies embracing digital are adapting and transitioning to meet the requirements of their workforces:
Digital natives are becoming a larger part of our workforce each day. Each new entrant probably can’t remember a world without mobile phones, and the expectation is that the work experience will mimic the consumer experience they’re used to.
To be as efficient and as productive as possible, these mobile employees need flexibility to work from anywhere on multiple devices with a seamless user experience. This includes the ability to access the service desk solution from anywhere using mobile devices.
Done the right way, a mobile-first approach can also offer unparalleled convenience and productivity to IT service support teams, along with increased customer satisfaction.
2) A persona-based approach
IT is becoming a curator of apps, devices and content based on personas. A persona-based strategy empowers everyone in the organisation by giving individuals easy access to appropriate tools and streamlined service delivery based on their roles, such as a ‘developer’ or ‘sales rep.’
This approach streamlines the user experience and promotes user understanding and adoption as a means to increase first-call resolution rates and customer satisfaction.
3) Automation – moving at the speed of expectations
IT automation has always been important, but trouble tickets continue to be a burden on the service desk. Digital businesses are taking an increasingly strategic approach to automation that responds quickly to changing business requirements.
Automation in the form of user self-service, for example, reduces IT staff workloads while improving employee productivity and satisfaction. Reducing the chance of human error and optimising every step of a process also radically reduces security and compliance risks.
Empowering IT service management to support the digital business is enabling companies to provide self-service access to the answers and tools employees need based on their locations, roles and preferences.
Rather than submitting a trouble ticket into a long queue or waiting on hold, the information they need is available through a browser or a mobile app, easing resolution and reducing the burden on IT staff.
In addition, by solving their own problems quickly and easily, employees can get back to work promptly to serve customers.
4) Crowdsourcing – asking employees how they want to work
Many companies today are using crowdsourcing to enable employees to help IT map and manage the IT environment.
Using crowdsourcing, users add assets to location-aware maps, while IT determines what information needs to be included and controls who can add what information to which maps.
Employees can also report outages, providing IT with a real-time flow of asset updates. By building a repository of crowdsourced problems and resolutions, IT empowers employees to find answers to most of their questions with little effort.
Time to rethink, retool
Businesses need to think differently about their workforces. The modern digital workforce is about fast, effective, and elegant ways of working anytime, anywhere with access to the applications and services needed to get work done and deliver higher productivity.
It involves new modes and methods of working, not just about making offices more mobile or adding digital services to the workplace.
By rethinking digital capabilities, businesses will be able to raise the bar on how employees can engage with customers, drive operational efficiencies and boost overall productivity by adopting these best practices.
Becoming a digital enterprise isn’t a plan for the future; it’s a transformation that CIOs (chief information officers) need to be making now.
Organisations that are not digitally empowered will soon be unable to compete, and that empowerment requires an IT service management team that is itself strategically enabled to support, optimise and grow the digital business.
Gavin Selkirk is president of BMC Asia Pacific.
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