Who Will Lead the Workplace Revolution

Author: Mike Anderson                   Date: August 15, 2011

Topic: Workplace                          Research Note Number: 2011-3

Issue: What are the macro trends impacting the evolution of work?

Summary:  Enterprises are facing unprecedented change in how people work, in part due to the freedom that digital natives feel towards embracing technology. Traditional IT-led approaches cannot keep up with the mobile workplace revolution. A new class of leader will emerge to tame the revolution.

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The current workplace, dominated by email, messaging and document-centric personal productivity tools, backed up by intranets for sharing and disseminating information, has largely been a top-down architecture led by IT departments, who have selected and deployed the tools and defined the standards for their deployment and support. This approach, and the IT leadership associated with it, has been eroding at the edges of the mobile workplace.

The accelerating movement toward peer-to-peer collaboration, social computing and the use of consumer tools and cloud-based services has set up a leadership struggle between competing forces in the workplace. We evaluate the struggle and identify the players who influence its strategy and direction.

Revolutionary Change

The shape and definition of “work,” “workforce” and “work environment” are changing faster and faster. Structured, predictable and repetitive work continues to be compartmentalized and commoditized. Process and productivity improvements continue to drive that type of work into automated systems, out to outsourcing specialists, or down to lower-level workers. Increasingly, the most critical and differentiable value-adding work in business is that which is heavily cognitive and knowledge intensive.

The new emerging workplace is an inherently global, collaborative, socially connected digital environment that can be entered anywhere, at any time from a multitude of computing and communications devices. The changes creating this new workplace are occurring on many fronts, driven by influential champions with diverse perspectives in many industries and enterprises.

Note: This is part of Aragon’s archived research. Please visit our Coverage Areas page to view our most recent content.

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