CIO upfront: Reimagining the workplace for the digital age

Major trends including AI and machine learning are only going to accelerate the radical transformation of workplaces and businesses

Every IT leader has digital transformation on their agenda, and we see organisations at very different stages in their journey - from new starters to trailblazers.

Still, many companies are struggling to keep up with the rapid rate of enterprise innovation and modern ways of working.

The last two decades have seen four major phases of content management driving workplace change.

It began with the original concept of file sharing – emails and physical media – which then moved to become a basic form of content management powered by companies like Documentum and OpenText.

Soon after, technology moved towards enterprise file sync and share, where we saw the emergence of offerings such as Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Most recently, with the rise of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Salesforce, enterprise IT has been dominated by line-of-business apps and custom development.

Waves of technological change have resulted in a fragmented file sharing experience, disjointed processes and siloed data. With files scattered across different sharing tools, document management systems and storage infrastructure, enterprises are facing the challenge of keeping data secure, processes compliant, and users happy. We've seen leading innovators such as Telstra and a large Australian bank mandate external collaboration using Box to ensure secure exchange.

We are also seeing these organisations leverage Box across their internal enterprise as users are starting to demand standardisation and a consistent experience both internally and externally.

How can enterprises of today face these challenges and build a digital workplace?

The only way is in the cloud. Cloud content management combines centralised, cloud-native content services with advanced security and governance. It enables collaboration and process management to operate seamlessly across the enterprise; it integrates with the apps that employees already work with; it remains secure and compliant across industries and geographies; and it is designed for the needs of developers, IT and crucially, end users.

The important piece here is simplicity and ease of use when we look at leveraging content management across the enterprise or public sector. New cloud services are empowering the end users whereas legacy ECM tools are too reliant on IT intervention.

Traditional, on-premise monolithic infrastructure does not solve the current challenges enterprises are facing. There has been a shift towards modern, reference architecture and “best of breed” services that better enable companies to scale.

They can now use centralised content management systems to leverage hyper-specialised service software (for example: Concur, Workday, Coupa), thereby removing friction while increasing speed, reliability and productivity. Enterprises no longer need to so heavily rely on a single cloud-vendor, but instead, glean the value of an integrated stack.

That value only grows when businesses use artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML) solutions and models. Organisations today have more unstructured data than ever before, and with AI/ML, are finally able to structure and utilise the hidden insights of their content. It’s often portrayed as a future-thinking topic, but AI is already having a significant impact on the enterprise.

Locally, a lot of companies and government departments are looking to leverage their archives for sentiment analysis and trends.

One of the biggest opportunities we're seeing explored by our customers in Australia and New Zealand is around contact centre data to drive an optimal experience for the end customer.

According to research conducted by IDC, three in five executives in New Zealand strongly believe AI systems will be critical to gain competitive advantage within 5 years, compared to only 44 per cen in Australia.

State-of-the-art artificial intelligence technologies such as IBM Watson Studio, Azure Custom Vision and Google Cloud AutoML are in high-demand, easier to deploy than ever before with modern reference architecture, and are leading the way to power innovation at scale.

The more data a business has, the easier it is to identify inefficiencies and subsequent opportunities for automation Scott Leader, Box

This means that businesses are moving from guesswork and intuition to data-driven decision-making, and manual processes are giving way to AI-powered, automated workflows.

The more data a business has, the easier it is to identify inefficiencies and subsequent opportunities for automation.

No longer does an employee need to watch a lengthy video from beginning to end to find one vital piece of information; they can jump through information multi-dimensionally and consume video in a non-linear manner, increasing their workplace productivity.

Customer service calls do not need to be manually transcribed and prioritised; audio transcripts can be run through sentiment analysis models to identify key phrases to speed up response time and accuracy, providing customers with a better experience. Smarter content results in smarter ways to work and do business.

We know that companies must ‘go digital’. Businesses can’t simply add software to a legacy business model or process and call it digital.

Scott Leader of Box

Businesses are moving from guesswork and intuition to data-driven decision-making, and manual processes are giving way to AI-powered, automated workflows

Workplace and business processes must be fundamentally reimagined for the digital age. Major trends including AI and ML are only going to accelerate the radical transformation of workplaces and businesses.

Certainly, as digital transformation evolves an organisation we're seeing the need to embed workflows in other key systems.

Using Salesforce or ServiceNow, these systems are driving digital processes, which may include a digital signature with DocuSign from content centrally held in Box. These digital workflows can accelerate wait times from weeks to within the day execution. A good example of this is OFX who drive their customer on-boarding for OzForex as a complete digital experience.

We’ll come to see more change in how we work in the next five years than over the past 20. What will the future of work look like at your company?

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Scott Leader is regional vice president ANZ of Box

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