Workspace 4.0 – A revolution in the workplace

The classic office workstation is gathering a thick layer of dust.

Desk, computer, telephone – the classic office workstation is gathering a thick layer of dust. Working in the age of the fourth industrial revolution means having numerous devices, various applications and several data sources that can be accessed through different identities anytime, anywhere via the cloud. There is demand for new concepts that can cope with the growing variety of devices, whilst increasing productivity and motivation among employees at the same time. The future belongs to the “one workspace” concept. 

There has been much talk of the fourth industrial revolution in politics and business in recent years. After the steam engine, electricity and the assembly line, the next revolutionary step is the digitisation of production via the Internet of Things. Leaps in technology have always had a dramatic impact on the way we work, with more and more operations being shifted from manual labour to computerised or machine. 

A similar development has taken place with regard to computer workstations: at first, the structure heavily relied upon the mainframe to carry the processing power, whilst connected to a thin client. With the advent of cheaper/compact processing power in the form of a PC or laptop, came the ability for these entities to disconnect and act as a standalone, meaning employees could carry out their work from individual desktop computers. 

Now we are in the midst of the third workplace revolution, employees also use tablets and smartphones and often switch between private and professional applications and devices. According to a recent IDC survey, each employee already has an average of 4.3 devices. 

Pruning the proliferation of devices

This trend is set to continue, but a fourth revolution that will further impact the workplace is just around the corner. This revolution is required to curb the growing variety of devices used in and around the workspace. It is not only the multi-device working environments that are varied, but also the software that comes on those devices, ranging from classic, physically installed applications to SaaS and mobile apps. The complexity doesn’t end there: employees also have access to an increasing number and variety of data containers. 

Alongside classic local data servers, they mostly use enterprise cloud storage solutions, such as SharePoint and Microsoft OneDrive. They may also use private containers, such as Dropbox and Google Drive – thereby entering the Mordor-esque world of shadow IT. This in turn gives rise to other issues that further increase the complexity of the situation, e.g. the context of the activity, security, data protection and identity management. 

Bigger, better, faster, more!

More and more technologies are making their way into the workplace more and more quickly. Gartner calls this phenomenon “workspace aggregation.” IT specialists are finding it increasingly challenging to manage such levels of variety. Most companies currently use a separate management infrastructure for every area of the workplace – classic, mobile or cloud. Managing workspaces is therefore a time-consuming and complex process, which is threatening to become even more complicated.  

We therefore need a revolutionary new concept to resolve these issues, and that concept is “one workspace”. This means that all devices, applications, data, identities and services are available to employees via their own personal cloud, so that they can take their workspace with them wherever and whenever they are working. This personal cloud-based workspace can be organised, managed and protected via a “one size fits all” tool.

Workspace aggregator wanted

Gartner refers to this solution as the “workspace aggregator”. It not only manages all mobile, PC and web applications, it also controls data protection, manages the life cycle of applications, ensures context-based security and guarantees a high-quality user experience. 

One example of a “one workspace” solution is the Matrix42 MyWorkspace, which applies an integrated approach by offering a personal cloud that accommodates everything an employee might need to carry out his or her work:

  • Multiple devices
  • Various application types, e.g. mobile, virtual or physical apps, SaaS apps
  • Various data containers, e.g. SharePoint, Google Drive
  • Several digital identities, e.g. AD account, Google ID, Apple ID
  • Various IT services that can only be accessed with a password

Reducing administrative complexity

IT specialists can manage and maintain this cloud from a central platform and users get secure, easy access to their personal cloud. Compliance is also ensured during the configuration of the workspace, removing a considerable amount of pressure from the IT department, and administrative complexity is also significantly reduced. 

MyWorkspace functions regardless of the technology used and can be integrated into any existing infrastructure. The simple interface is intuitive and is compatible with all standard browsers. It also offers the company additional security when it comes to licensing regulations, e.g. through usage analysis of SaaS and web applications and optimisation of the relevant licences.

A revolutionary workspace for the knowledge workers of tomorrow

The process of digitisation and the fourth industrial revolution are fundamentally changing the world of work. This transition is partly driven by a new approach to technology. At home, we are getting more and more used to handling different devices and cloud applications, and we want to have the same fast and practical access at work too. It is mostly digital natives who bring this need for direct access with them when they go to work, and if their workplace fails to live up to their expectations, they are unlikely to reach their full potential – or they will use their own solutions and thus expand the realm of shadow IT.  

The “one workspace” concept provides workers of today and tomorrow with everything that they need to work productively and unimpeded in the age of digitisation.

Oliver Bendig, CEO, Matrix42.
Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As CEO, Oliver Bendig is in charge of all operations at Matrix42. Oliver has more than 15 years of experience in workspace management and is regarded as an innovator in the industry.