Another word for ‘digital workplace’?
The hype around ‘digital workplaces’ is clouded with a lot of inside baseball. Since all the definitions that exist aren’t exactly concise, we took upon ourselves to think of our own. For adenin, a digital workplace above all means: Independence.
We want employees to be independent of their physical desktops, from the devices and apps they use, and from the departmental roles they are confined to. We want them to be free from chaotic processes, full inboxes and burdening red tape.
We want your data to be independent of its servers, its backends, its frontends, its applications, its clouds – independent from the ‘lock-ins’ designed to not let you venture freely between vendors.
It is probably safe to say the digital workplace is going to be the big trend of the next decade and it will have a lasting effect on how we understand work. It will show in the way apps are designed (both their UIs and APIs), the numbers of devices people will use, the locations where we work, the creativity we will have time to develop.
Digital workgrid as an uber layer?
Digital workplaces with their capacity to bring work to wherever you are, will need to have an innate capability to juggle lots of data from and to different points in the system. Now read carefully: If we think of data as electricity than we think of the digital workplace as the power grid that delivers data from any point to any other while being transformed a bunch of times along the way.
This is an interesting new way of thinking about data. Instead of having to rely on a set number of proprietary connections that exist between services (say Office365 and your local Outlook) companies can set up their own digital workgrid and route data anyway they want (say between Office365 and your fridge, if you want).
What is to gain from a ‘workgrid’?
Above all: Data unity. Our current system in which we juggle two dozen or so desktops applications, web interfaces and smartphone apps has reached its limit of productivity potential. Employees are regularly overwhelmed by the systems they need to keep track of, the UIs they have to remember, and the notifications they have to react to.
We said ‘Stop. Let’s think hard and make it better.’
- Why must employees search in a dozen different systems? Why must they remember multiple logins?
- Why must they jump between different applications to complete even the most basic tasks?
- Why must they use “baby-software” on their iPads that can’t do most things their desktop brothers can?
- Why has no vendor yet introduced a compelling platform that mops up the data that’s spilled across the proverbial floor?
The answer is simple: Because systems don’t communicate with each other.
Enter the digital workplace.
A digital workplace will disrupt this information overload: It is an Omni-informed layer that spans all data channels, those on-premise and in the cloud. So it knows literally everything: All permissions, roles, jargon, database views, data sequences, even sitemaps, etc.
This access allows it to automatically determine what is relevant to the employee and when. It may proactively inform the user or the user may themselves start a task, by simply asking the digital assistant a question. Decisions are just a swipe or a question away.
The foundation for your own digital workplace
With Mobility Portal Server we have gone that crucial first step towards a radically united workplace. It creates a ‘digital workgrid’ that taps into all on-premise and cloud data sources, whether they are enterprise or consumer applications. This all happens frictionless in a standardization process, in which vast amounts of different data are consolidated into a single Unity API. This makes app development easier as integrations don’t need to be custom-coded in a proprietary language anymore – but instead, all APIs are summarized in an automatic API documentation. And since it can use literally any data, while none has to be migrated, Mobility Portal Server has zero transaction cost.
From an architectural stance, Mobility Portal is like an empty high-rise building complete with standardized sized floors and rooms, where all fittings for plumbing, electricity and heating are already in place. All that’s left to do is pick a carpet and move in your stuff (so your data).
We see two stages of workplaces and what areas they cover:
Firstly, there are knowledge workplaces where digital workers of all roles can look up knowledge, search data, start workflows and share information. In the background, and invisible to the user, these slick looking mobile-first forms, search results and lists will be aggregated from and pushed to your connected services; whether they are in the cloud or some old server in your basement.
Secondly – and bolted on top of it – will be Line Of Business (LOB) workplaces for managers and C-level employees; these will aggregate vast amounts of data and assist the user in finding insights, take action or notify them about whatever is relevant to them. They will use new ways of interaction, for example, input over voice recognition and natural speech patterns; or output over proactive ‘Cards’ that use prediction and simplification to offer the user timely information at a glance.
With our Now Assistant, we have already established a solid mixture of both types of workplaces by offering proactive Cards, an enterprise-wide Search and a virtual assistant that lets you take action from the go.
Mobility Portal Server is a middleware/app development platform that features over 50 plug-and-play Connectors to the most popular work apps, like Dropbox, Office 365 or Salesforce.
With it, organizations can easily create their own HTML5 apps using the data that’s still locked inside their various programs, databases and Cloud services. There is a free evaluation download, which you can install on your server or Windows Azure.