As markets mature, the dialogue moves from describing the technology to describing the value. As I was preparing a presentation on the future of work, I noted some interesting differences. Several years ago, we debated about what would be mobile. We said the Millennials would define the future of work. We talked about how the consumerization was wrestling control from IT. We defined business as social. In 2014, I’ve noticed three major changes.
The Internet has been redefined. Three years ago we discussed connecting laptops and smartphones and tablets. As a business leader today, you must build a strategy that connects everything. Cisco refers to this as the“Internet of Everything”. GE focused on the Industrial Internet. At Dreamforce, Salesforce.com CRM -0.52% presented a new dialogue in the space. It focused on “The Internet of Customers.” The company described a world where “Your customers are racing into the future and determining your future. You need to get to the future first. You need to get ahead of your customers and great them when they arrive.”
This to me is one of the more compelling mandates I’ve seen. Not only do you have to understand how the Internet is evolving, you must embrace the change and drive it. Are you testing Google GOOG +0.2% Glass? Are you thinking of ways that sensors can improve your business processes and customer experience? Market disruptors are using new technologies to make business easier. Will you be disrupted or will you become a disruptive company that brings your customers into the future?
We live in a mobile world. No one debates that people are increasingly using mobile devices in every aspect of their lives. Mobile was once an overlay network. But increasingly, it’s being considered the primary network. The question is what does that mean for your business. In the Lopez Research Q4/2013 benchmark, companies acknowledged the rapid rise of mobile devices in the workplace. The study revealed that nearly half of their employees (48%) where carrying 3 mobile devices (laptop, smartphone and tablet). Last month, Aruba Networks ARUN +0.46% released a survey defining this new segment of employee as#GenMobile. The company defines #GenMobile as a behavioral demographic. It’s a group of employees defined by their preference for mobility both in terms of the devices they use and their approach to work. They have a tendency for non-traditional work hours, demand flexible work locations over higher salaries and request reliable internet, asking for Wi-Fi versus 4G, 3G or wired connections.
The majority of #GenMobile is in the early stages of their career, owns three or more connected devices (62%), and feels most productive when working from home (57%). This will require changes to your infrastructure and your business processes. Are you upgrading your corporate infrastructure to support 3 or more devices a person? Have you mobile-enabled your main business workflows?
Do you have a strategy for managing and securing application of personally owned mobile devices?
Mobile and Video change collaboration. Mobile and video are changing how we connect with friends, family and work. Several years ago video was locked to a conference room and the average person had difficulty launching a call. Polycom’s DefyDistance campaign focuses on how different groups within an organization can use video drive business value, such as helping HR to hiring the right talent and helping marketing to build stronger brands through collaboration.
Microsoft’s Lync is also being used by more and more organizations to create a fully wireless and integrated unified collaboration solution where employees don’t even need to use desk phones.
This is the future of work. Once we’ve nailed the basics, we’ll need to consider rebuilding our business processes to take advantage of a sensor data, new data that will be found in big data marketplaces and richer cloud computing services.