Social Business – the future of the workplace

More employers need to recognize that work isn’t a place anymore; they need to provide capabilities that are independent of employees’ locations. IBM has been walking the talk. Social computing can be the catalyst for change if only more employers would recognise the potential. Maybe 2011 will bring greater enlightenment!

We recognize that work isn’t a place anymore; we need to supply capabilities that are independent of employees’ locations

Gran Canaria - Playa del Ingles' Beach As we come to wrap up another another one of those unforgettable years (2010, that is…), specially, for the Enterprise 2.0 movement and, as we come to prepare things already for 2011 and beyond, one cannot keep but continue reflecting about the real impact of Social Computing within the enterprise and how it is changing the way we think (and behave!) towards the traditional concept of work. Today, in this blog post I would want to reflect a little bit further more on what the future of the workplace is, and, more specifically, how the use of all of these social software tools is changing the way knowledge workers get their jobs done. Much smarter, but not necessarily harder. The challenge though for all of us to answer is whether that really is the future of the workplace. Or not… Welcome to Social Business!

Back in November, Imran Ali put together a rather insightful blog post over at GigaOm under the heading “The Future of Work: How Jobs Change in the Next Decade“, where he referenced a recent piece by Gartner on the changing nature of the workplace itself, specially within the next 10 years over at “Gartner Says the World of Work Will Witness 10 Changes During the Next 10 Years“. Both articles are really worth while to set the right context on how the workplace of today will definitely transform itself into the workplace of tomorrow thanks to the enormous influence of social computing within the enterprise and beyond. As a tease to help you get a grasp of what you will find in those couple of articles, I am just going to quote over here the changes they talked about:

  1. “”De-routinasation” of work
  2. Work swarms
  3. Weak Links
  4. Working with the collective
  5. Work sketch-ups
  6. Spontaneous work
  7. Simulation and experimentation
  8. Pattern sensitivity
  9. Hyperconnected
  10. My place”

At this point in time, I am sure you may be wondering about whether we would need to wait for another 10 years, or thereabouts, to see those changes, finally, taking place, as Gartner mentioned in their article referenced above, right? Well, we may not have to, after all. Take a look into what IBM is doing at the moment with a new initiative they have been calling The Future of the Workplace. This is coming from a large enterprise traditionally seen as rather strict, archaic, rather obsolete, very much set in their old ways, perhaps still even a dinosaur of the traditional corporate world, as it enters next year its 100th year anniversary. Well, that may not be the case anymore… Have a look and read through “Creating a new kind of workplace at IBM” by Kelly Kass.

It’s actually a rather interesting and thoughtful interview with fellow IBM colleague, and good friend, Bill Sweeney who gets to answer a whole bunch of questions about that IBM initiative called The Future of the Workplace itself, that’s been going on at IBM for over a year now. I would certainly recommend you take a look into it, if you would want to see how social computing has been transforming IBM from the bottom up to top down over the course of the years. Even BlueIQ, the Social Software Adoption program I have been working in for the last three years gets a lovely mention as well on helping address and facilitate the impact social tools have had inside and outside IBM. Here are some noteworthy quotes I thought you would be interested in reading more about further on:

Welcome to Social Business! … Are you ready?


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