Modern Workplace
Traditional vs. Modern Workplace

Introducing the Modern Workplace - an Experience Report

  • Thino Ullmann
  • Unified Communications, User Productivity
  • Office 365, Future Office

Modern workplaces are now far more than just having a collection of the latest technical gadgets at your fingertips; instead they have led to a cultural transformation within companies. In this interview, our experts describe how they experienced the change and in which ways it has impacted their own work.

Traditional vs. Modern Workplaces

Ms. Moldovan, what do you associate with modern working?

Oana Moldovan: I perceive modern working as a blend of equipment, technology, a mobile environment and culture. Compared with how I used to work – so eight hours a day tied to a single computer – everything you connect with a modern workplace is now better suited to my personal needs. It gives me the freedom to work anywhere I like and with any device I choose. I can even use personal devices to access my data, presentations, notes and other things. My position as technology consultant means I spend a lot of the time on the move. That’s why I want to be able to access my data and take part in telephone conferences wherever I happen to be. I am no longer dependent on particular devices, places or times, so I can work far more creatively and receive completely different input and ideas for my work.

Mr. Ullmann, what did your workplace used to look like, and what are the biggest changes compared to then?

Thino Ullmann: Looking back I find it hard to imagine how I was even able to work and travel the way I did. I was kitted out with two IBM Lenovo Thinkpads, one of which was for customer demonstrations. That meant that the laptops and accessories alone weighed 5.6 kg, while my Nokia 3310 was a real lightweight with its roughly 110 grams. Not to mention all the documents I carried around: Brochures, customer folders and the good old notebook to jot things down. The office, or let’s say my workplace, was the hub of communication with my colleagues, but also the place where all these folders and brochures were kept.

Just glancing round the office today, I have to agree that “work is not a place”. Instead of two laptops I now use a Surface Pro; I’ve virtualized my demo environment and migrated it to the cloud, and even the heavyweight folders to show my customers are now digitized. Only my “notebook” is now a little heavier, as I’ve swapped it for a tablet with stylus function. In return, I no longer need to spend hours typing up notes when I’ve reached the end of yet another pad. We all know that nothing is as constant as change, so the switch to my current “workplace scenario” was incremental – and I made sure it happened. As a technology consultant, I naturally realized early on that I would benefit from the added value. It took some time until I had adjusted and optimized my workflows and tools so that I benefited from the advantages as much as possible instead of them getting in the way as they did initially. Now I can work wherever I like and have access to all the information I need, and my bags weigh in at just 1.8 kg.

So is it enough just to switch devices?

Thino Ullmann: No. Ultimately it was only possible because the whole way in which employees are managed – namely by trust and defined targets – has changed. After all, I no longer really have a traditional workplace. I’m glad I can still go to the office, as there is “thankfully” no alternative to meeting in person, even though we conduct many of our meetings online. I am itching to find out what the future will bring as well. Maybe my bag will be replaced with VR equipment and my “workplace” will become 100% virtualized.

Switching to a modern workplace

How did it go? Were there any major birthing pains?

Oana Moldovan: I have to admit that the way I approach things has changed, and I needed to get used to it. I apply the same principle when I buy a new make of car. A different model will require a different handling. Just think of the navigation system with its unfamiliar controls. But all in all it is a vast improvement if I consider that I have an app to enter addresses or can even use voice control. Not only do I save the time I’d otherwise need to enter the data manually. Working the gadgets is also more fun. Ultimately “modern work” and buying a car have similarities, as they are both about speed on the road and about arriving at your destination faster and more conveniently.

My summary: Today I can work the way I’ve always wanted to and as best suits my requirements. I simply accepted the minor difficulties that arose initially. But it’s also important to encourage my colleagues to embark on the same trip. That’s why I’m delighted to invest my time as a coach and source of inspiration.

The solutions and added values for organizations

Which issues crop up most frequently in the companies that you advise?

Oana Moldovan: The requirements placed in “modern workplaces” are certainly the major topic at the moment, and the issues extend also to communication, collaboration and security. Other hot topics include the shortage of skilled workers and how companies can manage to attract new employees by providing modern equipment, technologies, working methods and a corporate culture.

Thino Ullmann: Digitization is definitely a major topic for companies, and it’s one that extends across all divisional and departmental boundaries. It is being driven by the disruption of core business by new players in the individual industries. Besides the Internet of Things and other important concerns, the workplace of the future – or better of tomorrow – is another key area. Faced with the immense variety of solutions offered by the different software vendors, it is becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to identify, deploy and ultimately to operate the right solutions. In response we are now being asked more frequently to provide solutions in connection with managed services. Enabling this approach means that our customers can free up otherwise blocked resources to focus on new challenges in their core business.

OK, so what might a solution look like?

Thino Ullmann: It is essential to consider the business objectives, i.e. the requirements of the company, from a holistic perspective. We call our approach “Inspire, Build, Manage”. So what made us pick this particular method? It’s because we are convinced that you always need to keep the big picture in mind to achieve lasting success in an increasingly mercurial world. As a global player, we share our experience from a variety of markets with our customers and in doing so help them to reap the rewards.

From the innovation to the “managed” solution

Inspire: We provide crucial inspiration for your cloud solution based on leading technologies and show you precisely how your business can benefit.

Build: We create a product architecture, implement the cloud technology and support and train your IT employees and users during onboarding.

Manage: We manage, support and optimize your use of the Microsoft Cloud Services by providing the Global Managed Services.

  • Tuesday 16 October 2018

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Author

Thino Ullmann, Senior Technical Presales Executive

Thino Ullmann Go-To-Market Manager Central Europe

Microsoft products with a focus on Modern Workplace and Cloud Computing

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