Digital workplace is at a point of inflection where the focus on digital transformation has got accelerated further due to the pandemic as opposed to what it would have been in the next three four years. The focus is now shifting to the human-side of digital workplace which is more about digital adoption than evolution. Going forward, the focus will be more around user experience management, workplace analytics and insights. Select industries are seeing high demands, but one of the areas that is secular in its demand patterns is workplace transformation.
In an interview with Express Computer, Rajesh Varrier – SVP and Head of Microsoft Business, Infosys details how Infosys is betting big on its workplace transformation solutions, which it believes will be extremely relevant in the post-Covid 19 era
Some edited excerpts:
With remote work becoming the norm than the exception, how will this change the way people work in the future? What will be the most fundamental differences between the traditional workplace to a workplace in the future?
The pandemic has clearly forced people and all sectors of the industry to relook at the ways of working. Those sectors where remote working would never be the preferred mode of engagement, too have been forced to adapt to it, for example education. I believe the future will be a hybrid of the past and the present. In future workplaces the usage of collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams will continue to carry priority, a face-to-face meeting would likely be a secondary option. Work related travel would probably not see the peaks we have seen in the past, with customers becoming very comfortable with conducting business through platform like Microsoft Teams.
How can technology play a role in this scenario? What will be some of the key areas of focus? Please explain with examples
Technology has played a key role and will continue to do so. Collaboration platforms like MS Teams, Zoom, Google Workplace, scaled up very quickly both in features and their ability to take on the load within a short period during this pandemic. Millions of people who have never had to deal with these technology platforms overnight became users. For example, Infosys Meridian,a Live Enterprise workplace platform that helps companies re-imagine experiences in the work-from-anywhere era. As the workplace of the future stabilizes, we will also see the emergence of distributed workflow orchestration. The recent launch of Microsoft Viva for instance brings together many modern workplace offerings seamlessly and then amplifies them to make this possible.
What will be the impact on sectors such as manufacturing (where remote working is not an option for most people)?
Workstations that cannot be moved to remote locations, like manufacturing plants, will of course need people to be there at the location. We will continue to see rise in automation, along with upskilling people to reduce the risk of stoppage of production in the future.
Which sectors do you believe will move to a completely remote working scenario?
While for several sectors, remote working seems like the way of the future, it is still a tad early to forecast this. There are number of jobs that can be done remotely for good, but then we have to think about benefits that co-working spaces bring, in terms of a very important aspect of building social capital.
However, as the workplace evolves the conversation will move from sectoral variances to persona-based treatments of the workplace. There are roles which lend themselves to remote work – IT Operations, F&A processing – and these roles and functions will pivot to remote working secularly across sectors.
Please elaborate on the role of Infosys in modernizing the digital workplace by deploying intelligent apps, the mobile facilitation, and the cloud implementation. Can you explain this with the help of examples?
Infosys is partnering with our customers on three key dimensions of modernizing the workplace – Optimization, Consumerization and Experience.
We are leveraging AI and Automation to drive significant efficiencies in workplace optimization and thus lowering the TCO for our clients. We bring in tools such as Nanoheal, Nexthink, SysTRack, and Infosys Nia to drive prognostic monitoring, self-heal, and self-service to drive efficiencies.
Infosys has migrated millions of users to cloud based collaboration platforms, leveraged cloud VDI, unified end point management to drive an anywhere-any-device workplace that optimizes the end user experience.
Having driven optimization and consumerization across several customers the latest wave is to drive human centric experience and uplift interactions between the employer and the employee. This, in turn, drives across three areas – increasing the breadth and depth of HR services, improved workflow orchestration in core business processes and continuous oversight of employee wellbeing.
Please explain the concept of Smart Spaces, and its relevance to the current scenario and the future of work?
At Infosys, we believe that Smart Spaces are a combination of digital and physical infrastructures – spaces designed for human interactions with the environment, with each other and the systems around. This helps to realize the required outcome of reducing the cost of operation, increasing efficiency, providing better control, and reducing the carbon footprint of an organization while achieving key corporate objectives.
Starting from the individual’s workspace to the physical buildings and extending up to wider areas, reimagining existing physical infrastructure with an overlay of digital technologies help transform people experience, create a collaborative culture, become more sustainable by conserving resources, and achieve higher operational efficiencies.
The relevance of Smart Spaces in workplaces is higher than ever before for three primary reasons.
1. Considering the global climate challenges and the need to act towards environment ecology, enterprises need to adopt sustainable practices while evolving their surroundings. Creating a connected smart space ecosystem that is smart, intuitive, sustainable, and responsive will go a long way in reducing the carbon footprint of an organization.
2. Built on IoT, cloud and edge technologies, Smart Space solutions include building system monitoring, predictive asset maintenance, building occupancy and space utilization analytics, integrated command center and connected field services. These enable enhanced experiences for owner, operator, and tenant and ensures wellness and productivity improvements.
3. Post COVID scenarios require enterprises to provide digital solutions which enable a hybrid workplace – leveraging tech to set up precautionary measures as AI powered temperature checks, monitoring compliance through occupancy analytics, mask compliance, maintaining adequate air quality wellness in buildings, etc. can help workers on the site. Collaboration tools such as video conferencing, chats, etc. can improve employee experiences. A Hybrid workplace is here to stay!
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