Innovation & Technology
5 takeaways of the Gartner Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, 2020*
The Gartner Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace 2020 is out, providing a look at how technologies for the digital workplace will likely evolve over the next decade. This year’s report analyzes 35 technologies and tools in terms of maturity, adoption and potential benefits. As Gartner describes, “Organizations can use this Hype Cycle to identify the technologies that are mostly likely to drive competitive advantage (or offer better constituent services) through a more effective and engaged workforce.” Which technologies could deliver a high or transformational benefit? Which trends are shaping the digital workplace today? Here are our five key takeaways of this year’s report.
1. The digital workplace is no longer an option – it’s a must-have
Just like in the 2020 Market Guide for Content Collaboration Tools, we think that this year’s Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace also makes loud and clear that the ongoing pandemic and the emergence of a new work nucleus are accelerating the importance of the digital workplace. Preserving workforce and business continuity, as we have observed, has been a key goal of organizations this year. Indeed, the Hype Cycle report points out that C-level executives are resetting their priorities this year to focus on boosting workforce digital dexterity. Ultimately, Gartner says, “The digital workplace is no longer ‘nice to have’; it is critical to achieve and maintain digital resiliency.”
We fully agree with Gartner’s statement, and so do our customers. For them, 2020 has further cemented the value of having a digital workplace strategy and technology in place. One customer from a social welfare organization, LWL, describes why digitalization has been so important for them during the pandemic: “If all of our employees had to take home their case files in paper form, not only would this be logistically impossible, but it would be a breach in data protection. Our organization would come to a standstill without a digital workplace.”
One executive from the banking sector summed up the advantages of using a content services technology like Doxis4 to support the digital workplace and facilitate secure, remote work for their hundreds of users on short notice: “From our point of view, mobile working is no longer conceivable without a good document management system... A pure collaboration solution no longer suffices.” A well-planned digital workplace strategy that includes content, process and collaboration services delivers the much-needed business continuity. Customers like these are testimony to the fact that the digital workplace is a must-have investment that truly pays off.
2. Three core themes shaping the digital workplace
This year’s Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace is analyzed in the context of three core workplace themes, which organizations are harnessing to boost workplace digital dexterity:
• Employee engagement: Innovations to improve, e.g., employee health and mobile working.
• Future of work: Technologies to facilitate digital business activities and an agile work environment, e.g. through “things” and smart workspaces. This includes redesigning physical workplaces, but also setting up virtual workspaces and supporting flexible work models.
• Reimagining workplace technologies: Here, Gartner has added some new profiles – e.g. robotic process automation (RPA) and content flow. While RPA, as we see it, has serious limitations when it comes to end-to-end business process automation, ensuring content flow in the digital workplace, i.e. providing information in the right context, at the right time, and in the right process, is vital.
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3. Peaking technologies with a high or transformational benefit
The report provides a “Priority Matrix for the Digital Workplace”, which compares each of the 35 technologies in terms of its benefit (transformational, high, moderate, low) and its years to mainstream adoption (less than two years; two to five years; five to 10 years; more than 10 years). Looking at the technologies that Gartner considers “at their peak”, 12 technologies emerge that have a “high” to “transformational” benefit for organizations. The technologies cover a wide range of digital workplace trends; for example, collaboration, employee experience, smart workspaces and democratized services such as citizen data science.
One of the peak technologies with a “high” benefit in the matrix is content integration services, which enable new ways of performing horizontal or vertical processes that will help organizations to significantly boost revenue or cost savings. The Hype Cycle report says, “content integration services will support innovation, governance and cost reduction initiatives by optimizing information assets for availability.”
We believe that only when content sources are connected and employees are provided seamless information access, whether in the office or working remotely, are benefits such as better regulatory compliance and access to analytics and machine learning attainable for organizations. The SER Group is listed by Gartner in the report as a vendor for content integration services.
4. The easiest and fastest way to improve workforce digital dexterity today
The new work nucleus is currently accelerating the need for specific innovative digital workplace solutions. The Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace 2020 describes these technologies as being SaaS-based applications to support personal and team productivity. They include content collaboration platforms, meeting solutions, workstream collaboration and collaborative work management. As the report explains, “The pandemic made it clear that these tools are the foundation, not only for supporting remote work, but for lightweight process automation, accelerating collaboration activities and integrating employee-driven applications.” In fact, we believe that, based on the report, Gartner sees the tools as the easiest and fastest way to improve workforce digital dexterity today.
Talking with our customers over the last several months, we have observed repeatedly that, because they already had a solution in place that facilitated digital processes and content collaboration, workforce digital dexterity was already built-in. With the content integration capabilities of Doxis4, they are easily able to add further cloud-based solutions (e.g. chat, video conferencing apps) without risking the creation of content silos. Independent of how they deploy Doxis4 – on-premises, in the cloud or as a hybrid solution – they were able to withstand this dramatic change in their way of working, and even thrive.
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5. The time is now to push your digitalization
With the sudden shift to widespread remote work, many organizations were caught off guard this year. Some discovered that their digital transformation was not quite as advanced as they had hoped or needed it to be. “COVID-19 has revealed the brittle nature of many paper and analog processes, and the existential need to accelerate digital transformation,” the report says.
While this has presented new challenges in efforts to move forward in the new normal, we have observed that many organizations have seized this opportunity to reassess and drive an innovative digital workplace strategy. As a first step, we have recommended taking stock of your digitalization: Identifying and prioritizing your business and user needs will help you to decide which digitalization areas are most urgent. With an agile platform that unifies content, processes and collaboration services with intelligence and automation, we believe that organizations will have the foundation to implement an innovative digital workplace strategy.
*Gartner Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, Matt Cain, Michael Woodbridge, 17 July 2020
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
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