What will the workplace of the future look like and what does that mean for your employees?

The workplace is changing. Are you big enough to innovate?

As your workforce, and by extension your workplace, is changing, now is the time to take risks and to rethink how everything is done. This includes where and how you work. To be a top contender in the race for the best talent, you need to create an employer brand that shows prospective employees: this is a place where you will thrive, feel alive and reskill yourself to stay with the times.

Startups can use innovative cloud-communication services and streamline their business processes, but big companies are often overly concerned about the compliance and security risks. To be really fearless and to take risks, you need a change in culture.

In this post, I’ll discuss how Accenture uses digital workspaces to empower people to work better, as well as how Accenture and Microsoft have teamed up to reimagine the workplace experience (WX).

How Accenture embraces digital workspaces

At Accenture, creating digital workplaces is one of many aspects of creating a digital-first enterprise. When we started out we asked:

  • What will our digital workplaces be like?
  • How will they empower our people in new ways and even change the way they work?
  • How will these spaces support the delivery of innovative services?

These are useful questions to ask of your own business as you set out to imagine your future workplace. Our internal IT/Workplace team collaborated with Fjord to address these questions and others as they shaped a vision and strategy for the design of the next generation of office space.

Accenture’s new digital workplaces support environments that focus on the user experience, inspire innovation, support collaboration, and enhance client and team engagement and interaction.

The strategy is to lead with the technology that will meet these user experience goals. What differentiates Accenture’s approach is using design thinking in shaping spaces and then solutioning them with technology. The team is leveraging Accenture’s significant investments in social, mobile, pervasive video, broadcasting and secure networks together with leading immersive technology solutions.

The technology offerings are broad ranging—spanning a scalable and secure network, video and broadcast, application services, IoT sensors, high-end audio and video collaboration devices, and connected devices and applications. Examples include Accenture’s deployment of Microsoft Surface Hubs for touch-enabled team collaboration, Aruba beacons for navigating within an office, sensors for gathering real-time data about a building’s energy use, and immersive rooms with high-end sound and video walls that provide touch-enabled collaboration.

We believe that digital workplaces will help attract and retain new and existing talent, and will help Accenture remain competitive by showing its organizational capability of working in “the new.” In the podcast below, Jason Warnke and Christy Nelson discuss what the Workplace of the Future will look like and what that means for Accenture and our clients. Have a listen:

Reimagining the Workplace Experience (WX)

Gartner predicts that “by 2020, the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30 percent of organizations will come from the workforce’s ability to creatively exploit digital technologies”.

However, research conducted by Avanade—a joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft—indicates that 84 percent of the 500 C-level executives and IT decision makers who participated in the survey believe that email and social media capabilities are all that is required for a digital workplace. Employees at only 28 percent of these companies can access software and applications seamlessly outside of a physical office location today.

Avanade found that the top six challenges that businesses face today are:

  • Modernizing IT
  • Managing evergreen IT
  • Scaling automation and AI
  • Optimizing culture and the employee experience
  • Profitability
  • Talent retention

To meet these challenges head-on, Avanade is shifting its focus to a new driver of competitive growth—the workplace experience (WX).

V1-STATEMENT-LONG: The workplace experience is a new approach that embraces the entire workplace to drive sustainable value. It combines technology, operations, culture and the employee experience in a holistic approach focused on cost efficiency, productivity and growth.

Using this approach, Avanade has helped many clients redefine the workplace as a creator of sustainable value. For example, we helped Towergate modernize its IT platforms to stay competitive in the insurance market. Avanade helped Towergate support a 360° transformation to create an Office 365, Dynamic 365 and Windows 10 evergreen workplace. The results were immediate and significant: by modernizing its systems, Towergate saved 30 percent in costs and, today, the company is smarter, faster, more reliable and fit for the future.

Avanade also helped a CPG company reimagine its culture and employee experience to improve creativity, talent retention and productivity. Avanade used its vast array of Microsoft tools to create a fully integrated digital assistant—supported by a network of human experts—that provides a highly personalized data-driven employee experience. This resulted in an 85 percent increase in employee satisfaction and a more consistent, systematic and effective HR service delivery.

To learn more about this joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft, visit the Avanade website. Curious to see how Accenture embraces digital? Read more about Accenture’s digital workplaces here.

To find out more about digital HR in financial services or to join us at the Change Directors Forum and People Innovation Forum in London, please contact me here or on Twitter @knott_nic.

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