Getronics: technology and the workspaces of the future
When we think about the major trends and impacts of technology, perhaps nowhere are they more evident from my perspective than where we work and spend countless hours of our creative lives.
We often refer to this as the “Workspace of the Future”, but when I visit with customers around the world, what they say to me is, ‘The future is now, not tomorrow’, and they say that because it’s their workforces that are on the cutting edge, evolving how work gets done. And, that’s the big shift.
You see, for decades, it was the other way around – it was the workforce that had to adapt to new applied technology driven primarily by enterprise IT. Today, it’s the enterprise that must adapt to technology much of it driven by the users themselves. And the enterprise must respond quickly and agilely or risk getting left behind in the digital transformation shuffle.
Because of the rapid pace of technological innovation and societal change, the workplace is redefining enterprise technologies, architecture and processes, top to bottom. For example, over the next year or so, it’s expected 50% of the total global workforce will be millennials; 40% of data will be cloud-based; and IoT will connect over 20bn devices.
Gartner and other industry analysts point out the dramatically changing workstyle of people where consumer technologies are being introduced into the enterprise based upon personal preference. Analysts also note that their clients are investing heavily in mobile and virtual technologies because where a person works is no longer a place, but it’s where that person is.
Either an organization transforms the way it connects, communicates and supports the demographics of the new workspace, basing it upon an exceptional end user experience, or it risks being disrupted by competition.
So, what is driving the Workspace of the Future and what is it that organizations are striving to do to support and retain talented workforces that are the key to innovation and productivity?
Let’s start with Collaboration because when we enhance the ability of teams to collaborate wherever they are in the world, we can dramatically increase not only productivity but intellectual creativity.
The next is Customer Experience. This is where we provide our internal users the technology experience they expect… and that’s the same experience they know and expect as retail customers themselves from the perspectives of ease and intuitiveness of consumer technologies.
Next we have what’s known as a One Size Fits One Approach to technology. This is where we can have a dramatic impact on employee satisfaction and productivity because employees can now use the technologies they want versus what enterprise IT provides them.
And, finally, Mobility continues to play a major role in driving the Workspace of the Future because it enables our users to do their jobs anytime, any place, with any device. The Mobile component ties together everything just mentioned, by giving users the ability to be productive on the go with peace of mind that their work product is safe and secure.
A significant amount of new smart technology is increasingly working behind the scenes to support the new Workspace paradigm and it’s beginning to have a major impact not only on productivity but on cost management. So, let’s talk for a moment about Automated Intelligence.
If you want happy and productive users, you have to keep them connected, and Automated Intelligence is the key to delivering an exceptional, “always available” user experience. For example, at Getronics, we utilize Automated Intelligence to replace traditional reactive support models with the latest data-driven, proactive resolutionary technologies.
Automated Intelligence has two goals, the first is to eliminate incidents upfront prior to having to get a support person involved. Think of this as “fixing things before they break” or fixing them remotely via automation so a service desk call or field dispatch ticket is avoided.
The second goal is faster resolution when incidents do occur. Sometimes the need for intervention by a support person is unavoidable. If that happens, they must be provided with the ability to resolve the issue quickly to ensure the end user is back up and running faster and keeps them productive.
Automated Intelligence covers a lot of ground, so here are a few examples:
Automated self-healing is the resolution of issues without the need for human intervention or the use of scheduled maintenance to avoid potential issues in the future
Predictive support allows remote resolution of multiple underlying issues that could potentially affect an end user in the future
Automated self-service provides end users with easy access to automated solutions themselves
Predictive analytics enables support personnel to do deep diagnostics on the health of a device – even retroactively– to quickly determine the best course of action
Automated resolution provides support personnel with a dashboard to resolve common issues across multiple devices at once with the push of a single button
Automated solutions like these can significantly transform a support organization and will become more prevalent over the next several years. The key though is implementing these technologies across the enterprise to enable our workforces to do their jobs any time and any place, in a more collaborative and productive manner than was ever humanly possible before.
About the author: Gerard Coughlan is Director, Getronics’ Smart Work services portfolio. Getronics is a global information and communications technology service provider. Coughlan is responsible for thought leadership and development of innovative solutions within Getronics’ services portfolio. ITIL v3-certified, he has more than 20 years’ experience designing and implementing Digital Workplace Services across multiple industry verticals.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.