The Future of Work Is Remote, Collaborative, and Intelligent
By Amy Townsend
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees to perform their jobs remotely. This, in turn, forced teams to collaborate virtually. Legacy applications did not serve this use case well. Thus, many vendors made multiple enhancements to their applications this past year to fit the digital work hub requirements.
It’s evident that virtual work isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, many companies have announced that their employees can stay remote forever. Looking into 2021, digital work hubs are poised to become a key piece of the digital workplace tech stack. In order to support productivity across a remote workforce, and ensure company data remains secure, organizations should be considering digital work hubs in their digital transformation strategy.
What Are Digital Work Hubs?
The digital work hub is an emerging category of enterprise-grade software that facilitates and manages the creation, curation, and communication of business content from the individual to the ecosystem level. Digital work hubs provide functionality normally associated with multiple applications—from messaging to content management—with a single interface designed to simplify work.
Three different types of work hubs emerged in 2020:
1. Communication and collaboration work hubs
2. Content work hubs
3. Task or project work hubs
An example of a digital work hub is a sales engagement platform (SEP). Sales engagement platforms represent an advanced, fully functional, role-specific digital work hub because of the faster outcomes they deliver for sales teams.
Trends Contributing to the Need for Digital Work Hubs
Three major trends are contributing to the need for enterprises to provide digital work hubs for their knowledge workers:
- Knowledge workers are now remote due to the risks of COVID-19. They are now working from home and Aragon estimates that 30% of them will work remotely permanently.
- Knowledge workers require collaboration and communication tools to support mobile work. Increasingly, the need for teams to take advantage of work hubs is growing. The simple issue of everyone having access to the right content at the same time is non-trivial.
- Intelligent applications represent the new race. Enterprises need to understand and then leverage these technologies—from advanced analytics to natural language processing— to capture and refine corporate knowledge and to make better decisions.
With a multitude of employees working remotely, the method of conducting work has changed. One person now performs their work on multiple different devices–there is an increased need for employees to stop working on one device and continue where they left off on a different device. IT leaders need to find a way to support this method of work while keeping company data safe and secure. Digital work hubs support this use case.
The Need to Transform Business Now
The remote work era is here, and the pressure is on as we enter the post-COVID era. Business leaders are becoming more and more equipped to better understand the intersection of work and technology. The combination of better digital work hubs and savvy business leadership means there will be more demand for an integrated work environment.
The growing low-code approach to digital work hubs makes it easier for managers to quickly implement the technology within their teams. Companies like Google, Microsoft, monday.com, and Smartsheet have all made their low-code available to easily automate repeated processes. Many other companies have made it easy for partners to integrate with their digital work hub to automate processes, including communications.
The pandemic has put a lot of pressure on enterprises to become more of a completely digital business, and digital work hub providers are responding to that pressure by ramping up the feature offerings within their products. For example, there were tremendous investments in better communication and collaboration capabilities in 2020 to help maintain the levels of engagement that were done face-to-face in the past.
The ultimate reason to transform digitally is to perform work more efficiently so that you can better serve your customers. As our analyst, Betsy Burton, mentioned in our recent webinar with LeanIX, CIOs need to switch from inside-out thinking to outside-in thinking (putting the customer first).
Digital work hubs offer a way to streamline work, helping businesses achieve business results in a much more efficient manner. The permanency of remote work in the post-COVID era is driving the need for organizations to enable knowledge workers to be more organized digitally. Digital work hub providers are quickly building out features to better support collaboration and communication across virtual workforces, as well as automation for repeated processes.