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Designing the digital workplace of the future

Middle East: Wednesday, September 18 - 2013 @ 00:00

The business world is continuously evolving and employees are required to work collaboratively around the clock to meet the needs of an increasingly global economic environment.

In addition, new and innovative technologies have improved the digitisation of businesses across all industries, allowing them to better monitor operations and get much closer to customers.

“The emergence of new digital technologies have altered the very fabric of the business landscape,” says Ramez Shehadi, a partner with Booz & Company, leading the firm’s digitisation platform.

“Companies looking for a competitive edge must view the workplace itself as a strategic asset to boost performance, optimise costs, maximise customer contact, reduce time to market new products and services, and attract and retain talent.”

He adds: “In order to do so, however, companies must understand the factors that are forcing radical changes in the workplace, the challenges those factors have created for companies and how they can overcome them to build a fully digital and truly strategic workplace.”

Some companies in the Middle East region are working towards creating more efficient and collaborative spaces, such as Etisalat, Ooredoo and Emirates NBD. Yet, more organisations in the region need to make the most of today’s trends and can do so by following a more strategic approach to the way they design and organise the workplace.

For this to materialise, companies must take into account the different stakeholders that employees interact with, including their co-workers, customers, vendors, suppliers, partners and even family and friends. Then, they need to make use of emerging technologies that can enable employees to work together in teams and across regions in real time.

The business world is becoming more global and mobile. Working together in teams has become the standard operating procedure and new digital technologies are being developed to help workers communicate, collaborate and share resources.

In fact, according to a recent study conducted by office design firm, Teknion, nearly 90 per cent of companies plan to increase their investment in productivity enabling technologies, such as voice activation and sophisticated videoconferencing, by 2015.

Digital security

The convergence of cloud computing, social media and mobile computing technologies has created problems for maintaining data security.

Nevertheless, new technologies allow information to be stored securely in the cloud, while enabling offline data access and seamless peer-to-peer activities between various devices.

“Still, it is important that the process does not stop at implementation,” says Shehadi. “The technologies that will make up how work gets done in the future will likely be in constant flux, so companies must examine their workplaces to learn what is working and what isn’t and regularly upgrade to maintain the competitive lead.”

Private cloud environments have, thus, enabled many organisations to increase agility and reduce costs. Implementing the digital office framework begins with a careful assessment of the company’s current state-of-office technology and the design of a blueprint for what future should look like.

The blueprint should take into account both the new technology architecture and the rethinking of the physical workplace. Once this is complete, a series of pilot programmes will enable companies to evaluate how the technologies perform under real working conditions and those that work well can then be implemented on a greater scale.

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Wednesday, September 18- 2013 @ 0:00 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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