By 2020, 50% of the total Global workforce will be millennials; 40% of information will be stored or processed by cloud computing; and IoT will lead to more than 20 billion connected devices globally.

"Either an organization directly transforms the way it connects, communicates and supports the new demographics of its workplace basing it upon an exceptional end user experience, or it will be disrupted by organizations that do," says Gerard Coughlan, Managing Director of Getronics' Smart Work services portfolio. "It's not hard to see how companies like AirBnB, Amazon, or Uber transformed their marketplace and displaced established competitors. Every industry can benefit from this approach."

This transformation creates challenges for businesses on several levels:

  1. Mobility - the need to enable employees to be mobile and work from anywhere, anytime.
  2. BYOD - the need for employees to use personal devices to access company data and applications.
  3. Security - increased need for data governance and security and compliance with regulatory standards.
  4. Financials - the need for the business to have a "pay-as-you-go" model and the ability to control and predict operational expenses.
  5. Flexibility - the need for employees and managers to have "a-la-carte" services based on the personalized way they want to use their technologies.

While these may be current challenges for business; when properly addressed, they can offer significant opportunities:

  1. Enhanced collaboration between teams to dramatically increase employee productivity.
  2. Providing an experience for internal users that matches what they get as a retail customer when they shop on the weekend particularly the ease and intuitiveness of consumer technologies.
  3. Increased satisfaction of employees who get to use the technologies they want instead of what IT provides to them.
  4. Simplified application access and back-end management especially for mobile and cloud-based applications.

Investment in future workspaces also supports the hiring and retention of top talent. With vast employment options available, candidates look for organizations that invest in technology, which they rely on in every aspect of their professional and personal lives.

For one Top 20 midwestern bank, the investment in innovative workspaces is paying off in multiple ways, including through improved recruitment of top data science candidates interested in joining the firm. As a result, the bank finds itself able to be more competitive in the market for top digital talent competing with the likes of Amazon, Google, Netflix and others. Both new and existing employees respond enthusiastically to improved teamwork and collaboration, for example, as they take part in weekly green board sessions where the entire team works in the shared space on analytics problems as a more engaged group.

Workspaces of the future also offer alternative support channels for end users by providing a more personal touch that users typically find in the consumer market (think Apple or Verizon stores). Centralized workspaces located onsite can provide a destination point for employees looking for hands-on interaction with technical resources. These workspaces complement traditional remote end user support services like service desk by allowing employees to get help on their terms.

Getronics has deployed these workspaces for a variety of organizations including Syngenta and similar global companies, and they can be customized based on client needs and culture. These all-inclusive workspaces include specific "zones" which employees can visit to receive personal service:

  1. Greeting Zone - the entry point staffed with people with highly developed customer service skills to immediately establish a positive customer experience.
  2. Support Zone - where basic diagnosis and troubleshooting occurs for quick non-complex repairs.
  3. Lounge Zone - a comfortable "while you wait" area which allows employees a place to relax while technicians make minor repairs.
  4. Repair Zone - where more intensive support is provided including a depot for providing users with loaner devices should they have to leave theirs for longer repairs.
  5. Self-Service Zone - an automated secure 24x7 area allowing users to drop off or pick up their devices from secure lockers plus intelligent vending machines to obtain low cost technologies.
  6. Hoteling Zone - a productivity center employees can use for basic print and copy services and knowledgebase support.
  7. Product Zone - where an organization can showcase approved corporate technologies while also obtaining business user feedback if desired.
  8. Learning and Collaboration Zone - a space set aside for users to receive training on any new enterprise technologies either in-person or virtually by experts.

This type of personalized support has proven to significantly enhance the customer experience and, in many cases, contributes to sizeable cost savings when additional services are transformed. In fact, Getronics' research has identified that 30% of end user computing incidents raised at the service desk could be prevented through better and more proactive management of the digital environment. For a typical business this could result in an annual saving in excess of $275,000 in end user support costs alone.

Additionally - given the right transformative solutions - organizations can experience 25% reduction in service desk total cost of ownership, 90% faster provisioning of users, 60% reduction in disaster recovery setup, 30% reduction in incidents raised by end-users, 30% reduction in software licensing costs, and 60% faster identification and resolution of issues.

According to Coughlan, "The cost of investment vs. the associated payback must always be a balance. Organizations must be diligent in understanding how any transformation to the workspace of the future will be received and leveraged by its employees, but it all comes back to the end user experience. When you set your employees up for success and provide them the technologies they need to be productive, great things will follow."

About the author: Gerard Coughlan is Managing Director of Getronics' Smart Work services portfolio, and responsible for thought leadership and implementation of innovative solutions within Getronics' services portfolio. ITIL v3-certified, he has more than 20 years' experience designing and implementing IT infrastructure services across multiple industry verticals.