According to IDC, 46% of organizations are digitally determined – meaning they have tactics in place to reboot their culture, create one digital transformation (DX) strategy, understand the financial value of DX, and have a single integrated digital platform. With that, becoming a digitally native company isn’t only about modernizing technologies to provide the best outcome for your customers – it’s also about upgrading and modernizing processes to benefit your workforce and maintain/increase employee engagement. At this year’s IDC Directions conference in Boston, Meredith Whalen, IDC’s Chief Research Officer, presented on “DX Reinvention: The Race to the Future Enterprise,” which outlined how digital transformation continues to make its way into all aspects of the business, and specifically the workforce.

A key point that Meredith touched upon was that we’re now in the stage of digital transformation where organizations are employing digital technologies in order to transform the business, rather than employing them just for the sake of innovating. This really is the essence of the future of work – technology is changing the concept of work as we know it – whether it be through the culture, space or workforce. For example, she shared insight about the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and how this “smart” hospital has completely altered their style of work. Physicians update patient medical records by speaking directly into a smart phone, and guided medical robots perform patient interactions, such as check-ins, rather than a line forming at the front desk in the waiting room.

Insight from the Future of Work
Highlighting results from their 2019 IDC Future of Work Survey, Meredith shared that the most important drivers for implementing a workforce transformation are higher employee engagement and experience (58%), and increased employee productivity (57%). In order to do this, organizations are altering their culture, space and force.

  • Culture: 47% of organizations said they are focused on culture for 2019, meaning they are striving for engaged workers who are aligned to new digital skills. Technologies that fall into that realm include recruitment marketing platforms, applicant tracking systems, training delivery and management, and HR information systems.
  • Space: 31% of organizations stated their greatest focus will be space – connecting and securing a work environment that will be independent of place or time. We already see technologies like these in many workplaces; a few examples include enterprise social networks, team collaboration, endpoint security & management, and integrated workplace management software. However, we can expect to see more of these tools come into play and transform the way employees work and communicate.
  • Force: 22% of organizations said their main focus will be on the force – the collaboration between humans and technology to ultimately increase productivity and efficiency. A lot of this will be executed through automation on the operations and information side of the business, but with human oversight. For example, on the operations side we can expect to see robotics and augmented reality, and on the information side we will see compliance automation and content contextualization.

While organizations are striving to make these changes, we know that the future of work is still in its early stages, as only 33% have either an established strategy or funded programs. Lack of budget is a key factor, but it is encouraging to see that 43% plan to allocate funding for workplace transformation initiatives in the next 12 months. By fully embracing digital transformation and realizing that it really is a business transformation, organizations are positioning their employees to be empowered. It’s an exciting time for the workplace, and if organizations fail to differentiate themselves, they won’t attract and retain the talent they need to succeed.

Wanting to learn more about digital transformation and its impact on the workplace? Check out our Digital Business research.