How will workplaces look in the future? One thing’s for sure, they’re gonna look very different from how our own offices look today. Even the way we work will be different. Why is this? Three major trends that we are seeing now will give rise to the potential of work.
- decentralization, and
These three areas will give businesses a competitive edge, as well as set the stage for what’s going to happen.
Today, most businesses have certainly heard about big data and some may have launched their own big data projects. Big data promised massive changes in the workplace, even being called as a “management revolution.” It brings a lot of innovation to the table, while also helping companies become more productive and even more competitive.
Big data helps you see trends that you may have otherwise missed. It gives you better insights as it can collect information that will give you a view of the big picture. Analytics can benefit all organizations. It doesn’t discriminate and can easily affect companies in every industry no matter where they are in the world.
Big data analytics can help organizations identify opportunities and take advantage of it. It makes every piece of data, unstructured or structured, useful. As such, companies get a better understanding of their competition, their industry, and even things that happen around them.
But the biggest draw of big data analytics is its role in better decision-making. Big data can help managers decide and act by giving them a more accurate view of things and better insights. Big data can give you descriptive, prescriptive, and predictive insights.
No longer are managers relying only on their expertise, experience, and gut feel. And it’s not only limited to executives now, it’s trickling down to all employees who become empowered to gain their own data-driven insights, and act on it.
In the future, data-driven organizations will have flatter organizational charts. It will have less managers and executives but they will have a lot of empowered employees.
As such, organizations of the future will be more like a holacracy, wherein the power is allocated among the employees. The employees manage themselves and are very empowered. Management is no longer concentrated at the top.
As you can see, data-driven processes will make organizations flatter. The power to decide and act on issues and problems are decentralized. Data will be straightforwardly shared within the organization, and also with partners and other stakeholders. Therefore, there will be more opportunities to become more efficient. Collaboration is also a whole lot easier.
Supply chains will benefit from blockchains. This distributed archive application will be the decentralized source of data that is traceable and verifiable. The data stored on a blockchain is immutable, you cannot change it. Future enterprises will become more well-organized. As such, collaboration between colleagues and even other industry players will be smoother.
Blockchain will also make the future of work even more transparent, secure, and efficient. Transaction fulfillment and settlement can now happen over the course of hours rather than having a lead time that can last for days.
A blockchain will be more robust against hacking. It will be more secure. What’s more, governance becomes less complicated because you can program policies into the code itself. Once you encode these rules and regulations, the blockchain can automatically enforce them.
In short, blockchains will make control and sharing simpler. It also helps you have auditable data and transparency. In the future, organizations will be using smart contracts, which will need no humans to interfere with it.
Businesses of the future will have numerous smart contracts. But when all of these are combined, and you use analytics and AI, you can probably systematize decision-making as well.
Artificial intelligence is currently one of the hot topics in business and there are a lot of applications that use this technology. By infusing machines with human-like intelligence, companies are now able to improve customer service. There are a lot of things involved with artificial intelligence, including machine learning that allows machines to read and learn from the data you feed it.
Reinforcement learning is another concept where machines can improve themselves by noting and eliminating causes of failure. Then you have deep learning, which allows a machine to mimic human-thinking to work with sizable datasets and detect patterns that only humans can do.
The future of work will rely on artificial intelligence to make everything easier. It can be in the form of AI interacting and collaborating with humans. Pretty much like how chatbots are being used now. Chatbots will be able to assist human customer care representative do their job.
Or it can be more fleshed out in the real world, such as robots assisting employees in their work. Furthermore, the future of work will use AI to deliver information. A good example is how recommendation engines work. It takes user data, such as previous browsing behavior, things searched, and the current page the user is on to recommend a product that algorithms deemed to be most relevant to the user at that particular point in time.
The Future of Work: Data, data, data
It’s very clear that the future of work relies on data. Enterprises in the future will be heavily reliant on data in order to operate efficiently and keep competitors at bay. As such, safeguarding data privacy should be the top priority.
Organizations need to be transparent with their customers, and be upfront about what kind of data is being gathered and stored, and why. This requires a simple “terms & conditions” that are easy to read and understand. Data should also be encrypted and secured.
For offices of the future, data privacy is no longer just one of the things you have to guarantee, it’s the most important one.
The future of work will involve data, decentralization, and automation. Being a data-driven organization will bring about several benefits such as being able to develop new products quickly, or becoming more efficient with your operations. Data will also give rise to more insights and knowledge, which will then help you make better decisions.
Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee.