How digital workplaces keep workers connected

Innovative companies are overhauling their offices and upgrading their technology systems to create business agility, according to MIT research.

By Clint Boulton
Nov. 30, 2016


Digital connectedness draws in millennials

Such efforts are also table stakes for companies that want to attract and retain members of the coveted millennial generation, which comprise more than half the workforce today. CIOs understand this full well.

Paul Chapman, CIO of cloud storage vendor Box, says that digital workplaces are no longer an option for companies that want to compete. Chapman, speaking about digital capabilities at the Technology Business Management conference earlier this month, added, “Unless you take the work out of work and enable workplace productivity through digital experiences then you’re going to find it harder and harder to run your business,” Chapman says.

Chapman says that grown-up digital natives, particularly millennials, were raised on digital capabilities fostered by Google, Apple and Amazon.com. They expect the “freedom of choice versus the choice of one” and will jump to new jobs for the best technologies. Failure to accommodate can dampen employee morale and trigger turnover.

Stanley Black & Decker CIO Rhonda Gass, who is leading a “digital excellence” effort to modernize the industrial tool company’s business processes, said at the same event as Chapman, “It is more important than ever as we reinvent our companies through digital technologies.”

At SAP SE, 31-year-old millennial CIO Thomas Saueressig is exploring the use of augmented reality and intelligent assistant software to boost employee productivity. He expects employees will one day use software that can generate a hologram of all of the people in the meeting as they collaborate on crucial documents and presentations.

"I fundamentally believe that the new generation and the expectations of our customers and our employees are changing so significantly," Saueressig tells CIO.com.

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