#cebiteda: Discussing the digital enablement in the workplace and the digital transformation of work!

Only one week to go for another year of CeBIT Hannover, many discussions about the technological solutions for the digital transformation. “The digital transformation is happen now” – that’s the key theme of this year’s IT and technology tradeshow in Hannover / Germany and we will be once again part of it with a conference platform and a themed discussion around the “enablement of the digital workplace and the digital transformation of work“. The conference platform & exhibition area is labeled as the “CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena” and goes in line with our activities of the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT – it’s kind of a small tradeshow version of the conference with keynotes of Imke Keicher about the digital leadership model, Huguette Ranc about the cognitive future of collaboration and Dion Hinchcliffe about the future of the digital & social enterprise.

In the following I would like to provide some information about the key focus of the conference agenda and how it reflects the current discussions of the pathway towards the new settings for the future of the workplace and the organisation of work.

Digital enablement as the overall imperative for driving the digital transformation of work

Many advices and recommendations have been given throughout the years  – on the adoption strategies, the change and transformation approaches as well as the successful introduction of collaborative technologies within the workplace. We all know that the digital future of the markets and the enterprises calls for (immediate) actions and changes on the way the enterprises are functioning – but as human beings we are very reluctant to change, especially when it’s kind of disruptive and questions the behavior and mode of actions that have been around very long – like the traditional way of organizing and working in structures, hierarchies, Tayloristic ways of distributing working task and non-autonomous ways of working.

But this is the fact of the digital era – it questions technological processes and action models as well as markets and businesses approaches in total. This leads to the urgency of re-thinking the model of the way of making business and organizing the processes and work that come along with it. The predictions on the characteristics of the future organizations are turning around attributes like “agile”, “versatile” and “in realtime acting” – and in summarizing way “digitally enhanced”. This demands for “digital enhanced” working on a individual, team-orientated and organisational level. In order to adapt to the changed paradigms for working the individuals need “sense-making” and “enablement” to understand the opportunities and potentials on each of these levels. As much as this seems to be generally obvious as much it is challenging for the digital transformation of work.

Therefore the core discussions at CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena as well as at our upcoming Enterprise Digital SUMMIT in June in Paris and in November in London are turning around good practices for “sense-making” and “enablement” for digital working practices. One helping hand for this transformational process are true leaders with good understanding for the digital future and potentials to act as a role model for digital ways of working. One of our keynotes at CeBIT therefore is focussed on the characteristics of “digital leaders”. Another driver are methodologies like “working out loud” to guide co-workers to a new, open and collaborative way of working. On a team level change driving approaches are also seen in “reverse mentoring” approaches for digital working – starting again with the senior executives to enable them for the “digital leadership”.

Summing up – the digital transformation of work can only happen where the urgency for change towards a “digital model” is seen and the enablement for digital change is weightend as important and key task for the future of the organisation. If this setting is given or at least an environment of freedom in a specific organizational structure is provided – we then have to discuss concret change actions that will be also subject of the many discussions at our CeBIT event and elsewhere.

Cognitive computing as key trend for the future of digital workplace technology

Thinking about the future beyond the actual challenges of the establishment and enablement of digital working – seems to be very hypothetic but certainly is needed for a discussion about the future. The technological future is certainly signed around the possibilies of cognitive computing – meaning the “simulation of human thought processes in a computerized model”. Artifical intelligence for the filtering and processing of information and automated decision making is clearly in reach for mass applications. As part of the digital paradigm shift the cognitive pattern not only threatens the traditional business models (like the Uber-ization of everything) but also helps to solve the key challenges of the digital workplace – the problems of information overload.

Because imaging a good digital working practice it will be challenged by an overload of information – coming from individuals posting, tagging and commenting relevant information in a variety of groups and communities of a digital corporate network. In order to not loose track of the relevant information the users need “helping hands” to filter and explore the given information landscape. Cognitive applications will be the supporting act for this with no doubt.

At CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena we want to explore and discuss the needed changes and frameworks to the digital workplace to successful implementation of these technologies. We will look at the IBM’s ideas on this (with the keynote of Huguette Ranc as well as some more discussion like this one on the results of a blog carneval by Stefan Pfeiffer around this topic – for more information about the blog carneval / only in German / see this post!) – as the platform approach of IBM Watson is certainly one approach to this future.

The future of work in a platform economy

While defining the digital enabled collaborative working environment as the near future pattern (with all its challenges to achieve this paradigm shift) and the “by cognitive computing application” enhanced setting the not so distant future – the question is what are the predictions of the future going beyond. How much of the human working will be taken over by cognitive applications and systems and what will be the role of the human in this setting. These are the questions that are being discussed by tech futurists like Dion Hinchcliffe who will keynote on the second day at CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena.

When talking about the future economic models we generally talk about the “platform economy” where business value is created out of the connection of intelligent platforms and networks of communities, data & devices (IoT) – see the below listed graphic of Dion Hinchcliffe. In this setting the value of human beings seems to be in the emotional intelligence and creative power based on empathic conclusions and sense-making that computing approaches cannot yet make manageable. At CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena will discuss this to some degree – but certainly shed more light upon this at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris in June.

 

So in summary – CeBIT Enterprise Digital Arena‘s discussions are about the key challenges of today’s enablement of the digital transformation of work – in regards on how to enable the workforce to collaborate better in a digital way. But the conference will also explore the next steps of going beyond the establishment of a digital working future – in regards to the cognitive enhancement and the consequences of the platform economy for the future role of the workforce.

We are very much looking forward to these exciting discussions and try to documentate the results on this blog and carry forth the discussions at the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT in Paris in June!

 




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