I’ve spent the last two months traveling around the U.S. and Europe visiting Fortune 500 executives and Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs) and the journey has left me feeling both energized and alarmed. Energized because I am seeing a dramatic rise in the attention given to social business and the foundation for it is being laid by social CIOs. These CIOs and their executive counterparts understand how the social and mobile transformations are changing the game. Never has business been handed so much opportunity and so much risk.
The blueprint for this opportunity has been drawn by several social business thought leaders. But rarely has it been represented in physical form.
To see that, the opportunity is best demonstrated at one of Microsoft’s MTC around the world. If you haven’t seen a demonstration there, it can best be described as the Enterprise equivalent of a Microsoft or Apple Store. As Microsoft MTC Director Adam Hecktman put it to me, “We’re here to help envision, architect and demonstrate the needs of our customers.” Thanks to the fully equipped MTCs, anyone can see a live simulation of their current and future technologies under several different circumstances.
The MTC demonstrations are leading to a rush of new technology implementations. “Every square foot is built around some element of the customer’s decision making process,” Hecktman explains, “we’re reducing the risk for businesses to quickly prepare and implement Microsoft technologies.”
It struck me while visiting with the Fortune 500 intertwined with my stopovers at the MTCs that the future workplace will need to evolve. Seeing the juxtaposition of the digitally enabled MTCs next to the analog (think 1960s Mad Men era) workplaces of today, I was alarmed by the amount work that needs to be done to accommodate a more social and mobile workforce.
In this new workplace model, born of the social and mobile age, what are the best ways to meet the workplace challenges of the future? What do we see as the digital office of the future? How do we accommodate the unprecedented numbers of mobile devices entering the workforce?
Digital Workplaces: Combining the Humanities with the Sciences
I often hear the office of today appears and functions much like it did fifty years ago. Conference rooms with tables, chairs and perhaps a whiteboard – office spaces or desks neatly lined up in long rows across an ever expansive landscape – basically a sea of inhumanity.
And that space doesn’t align with the social business transformation taking place around the world. The workplace of tomorrow will need to adapt to the new more social and mobile environment, while remaining flexible to accommodate different situations. You can see an example of this at Microsoft’s Envisioning Center in Seattle and in some cases Pixar’s offices outside of Oakland.