Workplace 2020: From Now to Next

September 10, 2013 Jason Averbook

workplace2020While attending Workday Rising this week in San Francisco, we are at a huge inflection point like none we have seen in the past.  I thought I would take a few minutes to ruminate on this inflection point and help organizations realize what the challenges and true “opportunities” are  in the upcoming few years.


We live in an era where we are all consumers.  We consume information, intelligence, data, music, transactions and interactions with friends, family and colleagues.  As consumers, we have already written a manifesto that all of us in the business community must be aware of.

Our manifesto includes concepts such as simple, fun, interactive and seamless.  This manifesto has now moved from how we consume outside the workplace to how we consume inside the workplace.  Remember, in the era we live in today, where we as consumers have better technology than do businesses, the opportunity is upon us to respond and react to the manifesto we have created and dedicate ourselves to deliver.

Digital Immigrants vs. Digital Natives

We work in very complex workplaces that are made up of 4-5 generations of people and many technographics of people such as bloggers and creators to those that are “inactive” and prefer the microfiche.  One of the biggest factors to build a workplace for today and beyond is to understand how the workforce has grown up.  We have Digital Immigrants that were lucky if they got a key to the office to make long distance calls, use the office computer or maybe make a copy, compared to the Digital Natives that have this technology sitting in the palm of their hand in their kindergarten classroom like my son Alex has.  Another important differentiator between these immigrants and natives is how they are used to getting questions answered.  My son, Ben, as an example is 8 and if he has a question, his favorite thing to say is “Daddy, just Google it” and if I can’t find the answer on Google, which is almost never, he says, “Wow, Google is really getting old.”  The concept of not being able to search and find an answer, and possibly having to call someone, is not acceptable to this group.  We, as business leaders, must realize this and react quickly to make sure our intranets/portals are ready for this workforce that doesn’t want to talk to people, but talk to peers and interact with information to quickly do their jobs.  Huge imperatives as we move forward.


This is no longer an if, but a must.  We live in a world where we walk down the street and if you are like me, nearly walk into street signs because I am online, connected and interacting with the world.  We live in a world where we sleep with our devices, have access to information whenever and wherever. Anything beyond this is not acceptable and will put our businesses at a severe competitive disadvantage.  Mobile is not a fad, mobile is not a trend but it is the way we live and work today.  More tablets are sold than desktops and laptops combined and if you add in smartphones as most of us have, the dominance is staggering yet most enterprises have not even begun to adopt mobile.  Mobile is Phase 1, not Phase Later.  Mobility is a requirement and if your vendors are not supporting it fully or you’re not making it part of your Phase 1 implementation of technology, you are missing a big boat that will be hard to ever catch up to.

Workplace 2020 preparation and execution is here.  I have highlighted a few REQUIREMENTS to be successful that way too many organizations leave out of their planning and deployment of solutions today.  This is our opportunity to reimagine how work is done and what the workplace of the future looks like.  Lets work together to make sure we don’t waste it.

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