The Importance of Next Generation Productivity Tools to Drive Workplace Efficiency
By Tom Garrison, VP & General Manager for Business Client Platforms, Intel
The definition of the workspace is continuing to evolve. Workers are increasingly mobile throughout their day, which increases their productivity. We are seeing a grass-root swell from corporate workers not just expecting but demanding new productivity tools. Recently, Intel, Dell and the research firm Penn Schoen Berland looked at the global technology trends shaping the modern workplace. The result was the 2016 Future Workforce Study, polling almost 4,000 full-time employees from small, medium, and large businesses in 10 countries. According to the study, over half, (57 percent) of all employees expect to be working in a smart office with cutting-edge business equipment within the next five years.
Cloud services are now prevalent, which brings enterprise data to workers in the office, factory floor or customer location. Productivity improvements are happening in all of these areas. Equipping workers with the right PCs, tablets, and phones connected to enterprise data and cloud services is what is giving companies a competitive advantage while also attracting and retaining the best workplace talent.
By far, the best productivity tool for business is a modern business PC. New business PCs have incredible new designs offering the broadest spectrum of choice in history. CIOs now have the opportunity to tailor their machines for specific work environments. Devices running Intel Core vPro processors coupled with Microsoft Windows 10 delivers the best performance, manageability, security, and stability for work. New PCs offer 2.5 times the performance over five years old PCs, while also affording 10 hours of battery life for mobile platforms. Maintaining a three year refresh cadence on PCs also guarantees that workers are armed with the most powerful productivity tool possible. Employees judge their work environment based on the tools they are given, so providing a modern PC makes them productive while also projecting a positive company image.
Unfortunately, we are living in a time where companies are under constant security threats. It has been said, “there are two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.” CIOs need to protect their environments from these attacks while keeping their workers productive.
Another trend in productivity is to improve the meeting experience at work. Companies are making meetings more productive by enabling all local and remote participants to connect, view, and share content. Some companies are transforming the work environment by remodeling the office to increase the number of small rooms for workers to meet, and offering open seating areas with screens for impromptu meetings. Companies are also installing smart signs to convey critical information throughout the day and making those screens available to employees to temporarily use for ad hoc sessions.
By far, the best productivity tool for business is a modern business PC
The first thing companies should do is to implement cloud services for their productivity solutions. Their goal should be on getting all relevant data in the hands of their workers independent of where the employees are. Big data is next since the vast amount of information now being generated threatens to overwhelm companies if there isn’t a solution in place to manage it and extractkey insights.
Cloud services and big data solutions form a critical foundation as IoT devices begin to pump out vast amounts of data. Machine-to-machine communication is expected to create more than 20,000 times the amount of data per day over human-generated data. In retail, integrating cloud with big data can produce valuable insights on customer behavior, inventory information, or human presence. Sharing that insight on a cloud platform saves it from being locked inside individual silos. The right decision makers at a retailer can collaborate together using the same source of information, leading to improved customer service or fewer product shortages.
Wearable technologies, such as bracelets or badges are next in the queue. These technologies are maturing and the costs of these solutions are coming down to where they can be effectively deployed to employees and even to customers.
In the near future we expect to see virtual reality and augmented reality solutions improve productivity for workers. These solutions can overlay critical data directly to workers on factory floors or a non-office environment.
CIOs need to treat employee productivity as an ongoing strategic initiative. The more productive employees are, the more the business will grow. Millennial workers in particular want access to the latest productivity tools with 42 percent saying they would quit any job that failed to provide capable technology, and 82 percent saying that the tech. deployed within a company would determine whether they would take a job there or not. To keep workers satisfied, companies need to allocate dollars for productivity initiatives; this includes a regular three year refresh cycle for PCs.
Productivity Tools of the Future
The modern business PC serves as the foundation for future productivity. Older PCs costmore to manage, they are exposed to more security threats, they project an unflattering image to your customers and partners, and they produce greater frustration among employees just to name a few. Budgeting for a three year refresh keeps your business from falling into these pitfalls.The most powerful PCs on the current market will be those running 6th Generation Intel Core, Intel CorevPro processors, and Microsoft Windows 10.
The Missing Ingredient
CIOs are really the “Chief Strategy Enabling Officer”.They either make employees more productive or unintentionally inhibit productivity. They either keep their company safe or they leave their companies exposed to threats. My recommendation is that organizations should focus on the basics and not get overwhelmed with all the noise in the industry promising the world while ultimately falling far short. Keep it simple with a modern business PC. From that starting point you can improve productivity, lower management costs and safeguard your company.
My advice for technologists working on delivering next generation productivity tools is to focus on marrying the best technologies together versus re-inventing technology components. I believe the next challenge in the productivity tools space is the voice enabled personal assistant. These assistants need to work in near and far field settings, be proficient in understanding various accents, learn from their interaction with users, immediately answer questions from a vast reserve of online data, and finally evolve from simply completing requested tasks to anticipating user needs and taking action.
The area of augmented reality is also an exciting new area for technologists. Adding a virtual element to business operations promises to be a leap in worker productivity. Technologists have an exciting canvas of technologies to work on to bring the next generation of productivity tools within the next three to five years.