Much has been written about the modern workspace and yet, it remains one of the more misunderstood concepts in the business world today. Many C-Suite types have heard how it is the key to business success in today’s rapidly changing climate and they want to implement it in their organization. The problem is, they often approach it clumsily.
The perception is often that this is something that can be ordered from Amazon and installed in the suite of offices. That would be nice, but it just doesn’t mesh with how it really works. The simple fact is that the modern workspace cannot exist alone. It is not about buying top-of-the-line computers and fancy ergonomic chairs and putting them in your office. The modern workspace is a state of mind – a way to think about work wherever you are. An environment that enables and empowers employees to work in a way that is most effective for them as individuals. It is a way of approaching work which has only become possible because of the latest business tech developments of the past 10 to 15 years.
To fully appreciate the modern workspace, it is important to understand how it intersects with the other big trend of the past few years – the mainstream integration of cloud into the data centre. In the Fall of 2019, I wrote about the journey to hybrid IT. In it, I outlined how the consumer-led demand for a stronger digital presence in the business community drove the transition from physical servers to a combination of physical servers along with cloud-based servers and storage which became commonly known as hybrid IT.
Hybrid IT as the Foundation
As important as it is, hybrid IT cannot be thought of as the end goal. It is simply the foundation that allows the modern workspace, and your business’s future, to thrive. Imagine your business environment as a house, and hybrid IT as the basement of that house. It serves as the foundation that holds the weight of the building. It maintains the physical integrity of the house but is invisible. And even though it is below ground and out of sight to passers-by, all of the critical systems for the house (furnace, electrical panel, etc.) are found there.
In the case of hybrid IT, much of the basement is virtual because all many systems are being virtualized in the Cloud. Regardless of where they are situated, these systems are the foundation upon which the rest of the business enterprise is built. The business applications which run on these systems become the floors (the solid platform on which you place all of your beautiful furniture) of the house.
The Essence of the Modern Workspace
When you have the foundation/basement of hybrid IT and the various business applications (Email, Office 365, etc.) as the floors of the house, you have an environment where the modern workspace can flourish. But remember what I said earlier – the modern workspace is not a physical entity in itself, but rather is a way in which you approach your work in 2020.
I have defined the modern workspace as the ability to think about your work anywhere. Notice I didn’t say the ability to work from anywhere but rather, the ability to think about your work from anywhere. In the true modern workspace, you can be sitting anywhere, have an idea and once you have that idea, you can actually connect that idea to an action. That is the modern workspace.
To illustrate it further, I’ll give you an example from my own life. The other day, I was walking through the grocery store and somebody wrote me an email that requested an action item on my part. I went into my email and then looked up the relevant information right there on my phone. I stood in the grocery aisle with my basket under my arm and wrote a quick email. Now, 15 years ago, I would not have been able to do this. I would have only received the message and been able to act on it when I returned to the office.
The modern workspace has almost made the physical office obsolete to do actual work. What modern workspace has done is to use the office as more of a meeting place where conversations take place which may have nothing to do with work. The office as we know it is changing, its purpose is changing, and it’s no longer defined by your physical location. The ‘office’ becomes everywhere you’re connected. It is a space that occupies your mind at any given time. It is the possibility to connect that space to a work-related action without physical constraint. The result is a constant and reliable customer experience.
The Sweet Spot between Hybrid IT and Modern Workspace
Hybrid IT architecture was built by some truly innovative giants in the space such as Dell Technologies. They had the foresight to bring servers, storage, networking, and virtualization together under one software layer; thus, allowing organizations to manage both cloud and on-premise storage with a single pane of glass. Much of what is done now through hybrid IT is possible because of the work of organizations like Dell.
When talking about the relationship between hybrid IT and the Modern workspace these four short sentences are the pillars I use to crystallize the concept in people’s minds:
– Modern workspace literally rests on hybrid IT
– Hybrid IT is the technology foundation for the modern workspace
– Modern workspace is where customer experience lives
– Modern workspace is where consumerization of IT happens
I am proud of the fact that Compugen sits in the sweet spot where hybrid IT and modern workspace intersect. We are the glue that holds the two together. We are competent in both the infrastructure play and in the modern workspace play which is the end-user experience. From a Canadian Market perspective, not many organizations can work in both worlds and connect them to successfully de-risk their client’s business.
To find out more about how Compugen can help bring your organization further down the path of the modern workspace, reach out anytime. I would love to discuss it with you.