The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed workplace transformation into hyperdrive, triggering a rush to build corporate resiliency that has created both benefits and issues for enterprises, according to a new report published today by Information Services Group (ISG), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.
The ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions Archetype report finds the mass migration of workforces to online tools and platforms has led many organizations to address previously overlooked requirements for corporate security and business continuity. This has overlapped with the need to adapt to new delivery channels, support mechanisms and technology challenges.
Service provider clients that planned ahead for resiliency rather than just efficiency have been able to sustain themselves during the pandemic, the report says. Forward-thinking organizations also are considering the needs and wishes of employees, a majority of whom now want to continue working from home at least half the time.
However, companies that have moved their employees to home offices and believe this solved all their problems are mistaken, the report says. This is only the beginning of workplace transformation, and issues have already emerged, including Zoom fatigue, loss of the social aspect of business and employees reporting they are working up to 40 percent longer with no correlated increase in productivity. Employers cannot simply rely on workers to resolve these issues, ISG says.
ISG’s Future Workplace framework recognizes three distinct workplaces: physical, digital and human. Service providers are working with enterprises on holistic solutions that encompass all three.
In the post-pandemic era, the physical workplace needs to provide an environment safe from COVID-19 and one that is flexible and adaptable to meet employees’ needs for collaboration and innovation, the report says. It should ensure higher productivity while allowing for a net reduction of spending on physical space through seamless integration with digital work modes.
The digital workplace requires a unified communication and collaboration suite that employees can access from around the world, along with a cloud strategy to keep applications and operations running under all circumstances, ISG says. Finally, the human workplace is a vision focused on making physical location irrelevant. It puts customer experience at the heart of a company’s people strategy and includes a shift from performance-based service-level agreements to experience-level agreements.
The ISG Provider Lens™ Future of Work – Services and Solutions – Archetype report examines five different types of clients, or archetypes, that are looking for workplace transformation technologies. The report evaluates the capabilities of 28 workplace transformation providers to deliver services to the five archetypes:
Cost and Change Challengers: These organizations are focused on reducing operational costs by identifying potential savings on internal operations or delivery of services. They are interested in automating repetitive tasks, rationalizing IT provisioning through outsourcing, cutting technology supplier costs by renegotiating contracts and reducing property expenses through technologies that support remote work. In the wake of the pandemic, they may be seeking to make up for lost revenue or stabilize parts of the business that have been affected. Such clients want to make changes, but at a limited cost.
Business Model Adaptors: These enterprises are starting to embark on a transformational journey, working to becoming more agile to stay competitive in a changing market. They have a clear improvement plan, which may include a new business model, and can use data to understand what does and doesn’t work. Such clients see IT as a value creator for the business. They are open to wholesale redesigns of business processes and seek to use DevOps processes in IT to enable rapid feature changes for end customers.
Experience Evangelists: These clients are technology advocates focused on the employee experience in the post-pandemic world. They are re-imagining how their workforce can serve customers globally by deploying new capabilities in enterprise unified communications (EUC) and unified communications and collaboration (UCC). Such organizations support collaboration from a distance and implement flexible work patterns, achieving a near 24×7 global delivery model.
Human Workplace Re-Imaginators: These organizations have already adapted their business models and are in the final stages of perfecting the end-user experience using cutting-edge technologies. They see their value chain as extending from suppliers and partners, through internal employees, to the end customer, and recognize that any misalignment will degrade the customer’s experience. They have moved beyond simple service levels to measuring the experience of all participants and can calculate the cost of any failure in the value chain. These clients seek reward-penalty arrangements with their service providers based on business outcomes.
Workplace Transformers: These clients were focused on resiliency rather than efficiency even before the pandemic and made significant investments in digital services and technologies that eased their transition to a remote working model. They are open to wholesale change across the value chain and have one central transformation program that covers the physical, digital and human workplaces rather than focusing on one type of program. Goals include rationalizing property, globalizing the workforce with local experts and ensuring supply chains are resilient. They want providers to be fully integrated and part of their strategy for success.
Among the providers ISG evaluated, Atos, HCL and Wipro each were named as Leaders across three archetypes. Accenture, Capgemini, Fujitsu, Hexaware, IBM and Unisys were named as Leaders across two archetypes, while DXC Technology, Infosys, LTI, Stefanini, TCS, Tech Mahindra and Zensar were named as Leaders in one archetype each.
A customized version of the report is available from Unisys.