In my previous post, I looked at where we are with digital technology. More specifically, the conversation was about the state of the art (i.e. where we are right now) with AI. Here, I want to take a look at where we’re going. How will businesses in the UK work in the next five years? What will the workplace of the future look like? While it’s difficult to predict where we’ll land, the trajectory of current (state of the art) digital technology gives us some understanding of what we’re moving towards in the tools, apps and devices we’ll use, and the underlying technology and infrastructure that will drive this change. It’s all about the intersection of mobility and the cloud.

Remote or office-based; where is work?

The workplace is undergoing a bit of an identity crisis. Whereas tools and technology have evolved enough to allow employees to work productively from virtually any location, long time advocates of remote working, such as IBM, have recently announced plans to bring their remote workers back into their offices. Others, such as Dell, are increasing their commitment to remote working. As Michael Affronti, VP of Product at Fuse, pointed out at UC Expo earlier this month, many companies are losing their remote employees because “there is a lack of connection to the mothership, a lack of engagement between remote employees”. So which approach is right for the future workplace, the giving employees ability to work productively from anywhere, or coming together for connection and collaboration? Fortunately, with the right tools and technology, don’t have to choose between approaches. You can do both.

The right devices for collaborative teams

Whether you’re working in an office or remotely, having the right devices makes all the difference. For flexible workers this means having devices that are powerful enough to manage multiple processor-intensive apps simultaneously without compromising on mobility; the ability to stay connected wherever you are. For office workers, this means devices that are built for teamwork, enabling productivity in any space where people come together to get things done, from large conference rooms to informal huddle spaces to offices. It means having a flexible environment that helps teams create and ideate together whether that’s on an interactive screen or in a mixed-reality setting.
The workplace of the future will be built on our ability to move seamlessly between these devices without missing a beat: a small screen on a train, becomes a collaborative digital canvas in the office, becomes a mixed reality hologram that works anywhere. For collaborative teams, that future is now, with the Microsoft HoloLens and the Surface family of devices. Together these solutions can create an immersive ecosystem that brings together place and technology to help people seamlessly flow from idea, to concept, to implementation. Get a glimpse of the future of these creative environments at our new Studio Spaces at London Tech Week.

Collaborative Teams need Teams

Having devices that allow employees and teams to be creative and productive in any workplace is only part of the puzzle. Businesses of the future need the right business apps that foster true collaboration regardless of where their teams are based. Given that collaborative work takes up 80% or more of employees’ time, and that today’s employees are on twice as many teams as they were just five years ago, the ability to work productively in teams is a business imperative. This means being able to securely work together in and outside of your company’s firewall. It also means being able to connect across locations and time zones, as well as providing tools that fit the way each team member communicates most effectively.
Fortunately for teams, Microsoft Office 365 provides a universal toolkit for collaboration. From email and calendars on Exchange, to voice and video conferencing with Skype for Business, Microsoft allows teams to connect and communicate across a broad set of tools. At London Tech Week, we’ll introduce an evolutionary step forward in collaboration with Microsoft Teams: the chat-based workspace in Office 365. This hub for teamwork gives teams access to everything they need right in Office 365. Come visit us at London Tech Week to find out how Microsoft Teams works for your team.

Collaboration woven together in the cloud

The enabling technology that weaves together your teams, and allows employees to remain productive anywhere, is the cloud: the shared computing capabilities available through the internet. As more of this interaction takes place in the cloud, the more rich data gets created and stored – ready to be used to make your teams and employees even more connected and productive. With the analytic capabilities built into our apps and devices, individuals, teams, and businesses can get granular insight into how they’re performing. But this use of data stretches well beyond enabling your employees – it’s the fuel that powers digital transformation. Whether you want to change the way you engage with customers, optimise your operations or create better products, data makes this digital transformation possible. Find out how technology such as IoT, artificial intelligence, cognitive analytics and bots relies on data to help businesses survive, and thrive, in an era of digital disruption. Join Microsoft’s Alex Montgomery on June 14th, will be discussing how you can exploit your own data to achieve competitive agility at London Tech Week.

Plan your own workplace of the future now

Whether you’re planning your future workplace around the right devices, apps, or infrastructure you’ll be able to get a glimpse of that future at London Tech Week 12-16th of June. Start your journey by registering today.

Register for London Tech Week