Not surprisingly, hundreds of CEOs at some of the largest companies in the world report that technology, regardless of industry, is a critical differentiator. And according to Jacob Morgan (a globally recognized authority on the modern workplace), among the top three workplace elements employees value the highest is technology.
As demonstrated by Morgan’s Employee Experience Index, the most innovative company cultures are fueled by technology. In other words, technology is not only at the center of building a successful smart digital workplace but it’s also critical for fostering a happy and productive workforce.
Because the CIO and the IT team are the gatekeepers of and experts on key workplace technology (more specifically, smart devices, the Internet of Things and personal clouds) they play a major role in whether the employee experience is positive or negative. Therefore, in his or her pursuit of building a smart digital workplace, a facilities leader cannot succeed without the involvement of CIO and the IT team.
Here is what facilities leaders need to know about the CIO’s pivotal role in the digital workplace.
Connecting to the Internet of Things (IoT)
The potential of the IoT can’t be overstated. In IBM’s Redefining Boundaries - Insights from the Global C-suite Study, more than half the CEOs surveyed believed the IoT will be one of the dominant technologies in the next three to five years.
Smart devices and the IoT make digital workspaces possible by enabling businesses to collect an abundance of data about the workplace. For example, wireless sensors allow the company to track space occupancy and utilization, helping the organization see which areas of the office employees prefer to spend their time. By identifying what elements these spaces have in common—such as temperature, lighting and furniture—the business can design an office where its employees actually want to work.
But to take advantage of the IoT, company-owned smart objects (sensors and commercial equipment) and employee-owned smart devices (smartphones and tablets) must be connected. Nothing can be accomplished if the facilities team doesn’t have the guidance of the CIO and the IT department to help identify the most efficient ways to …
- Choose with devices should be connected to the network
- Determine which data the devices should be transmitting
- Grant employees access without compromising data security
- Prohibit employees from viewing confidential information
Once these elements have been decided, the facilities leader can’t move forward without the CIO and the IT team leading the way. The implementation of any new technology won’t be successful without the knowledge of how to integrate it into the existing IT infrastructure.
Leveraging the Power of Personal Clouds
Employees expect the workplace to mirror what they experience in their personal lives—specifically, having access to technology that enables high levels of both mobility and connectivity. Personal clouds do just that.
According to Gartner, a personal cloud is “an individual’s collection of digital content, services and apps which are seamlessly accessible across any device. [It allows] users [to] store, synchronize, stream and share content on a contextual basis, moving from one platform, screen and location to another.”
While personal clouds are a perfect example of technology that supports mobility and connectivity, they do pose a security risk. Because employees use their personal clouds to access business information (for example, by connecting their work email to their smartphone), sensitive or confidential data is more vulnerable.
But rather than restricting the use of the personal cloud (which will definitely annoy employees and negatively affect their mobility), the CIO and the IT team are equipped to embrace and manage the technology. This allows the business to better secure proprietary information without negatively impacting an employee’s productivity.
The bottom line is this: The modern workplace is not “built to last”; it is “built to change.” And without the CIO and IT team, there’s no way to ensure the workplace technology is supporting the needs of the entire workforce or the needs of a growing business.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.