Explain IT: Season 2, Episode 11 - The Future of Work and Workspace

Playing now - The Future of Work and Workplace

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What does the future of work and the workplace look like?

In this episode, we look at the future of work and workspace. Host Michael Bird is joined by Softcat’s Chief Technologist for modern workspace, Adam Harding, as well as Rebecca Monk, Softcat’s HR director. Together they explore how work workspace is evolving and what that means for organisations and their staff.

From L to R: Rebecca Monk, Michael Bird, Adam Harding
Host:
Michael Bird
Michael Bird Digital Marketing Manager Softcat
Guests:
Adam Harding
Adam Harding Chief Technologist for End User Computing Softcat
Rebecca Monk
Rebecca Monk HR Director
Key takeaways
  • ‘Workspace’ refers to the user experience of connecting applications, data, devices and people so that users can carry out their day-to-day jobs in the most efficient and effective way.
  • Organisations are beginning to think differently about workspace and there are seven drivers that are causing this change in thought.
  • These drivers are: globalisation, change in demographics, increased mobility, new behaviours, greater autonomy, technology and the war for talent.
  • User expectation of tech in the workplace has changed. We need to think about culture as a whole, including technology, that’s appropriate for the organisation, to attract and retain talent. Every organisation is different.
  • Each organisation will have a different approach to this change in work and workspace, but the motivating factor is pace; the freedom to work without technology getting in the way.
  • Keeping users engaged is key, so it’s important to collect regular feedback from the user community, rather than relying on annual surveys that are outdated as soon as they’re done.
Solutions

Adam Harding: Virtually every aspect of business has started to change. This is forcing organisations to fundamentally rethink and reimagine the way we work and the tooling and the mechanisms we put in place to support everybody that contributes, everybody that contributes, not just the millennials.

Michael Bird: Hello and welcome to Explain IT brought to you by Softcat. The show for IT professionals, by IT professionals that aims to simplify the complex and often overcomplicated bits of Enterprise IT without compromising on detail. I'm host Michael Bird and over the next 30 or so minutes I'll be challenging our panel of experts to take a different area of the IT ecosystem and of course explain it. In this episode we’re going to explore what the future of work and workspace is, what it's going to be looking like in the future and how it's going to be impacting organisations and why organisations should care. With me to help is Adam Harding who is Softcat’s Chief Technologist for modern workspace. Adam welcome to the show, I believe this is your second time here for season two of Explain IT. Did you bring an interesting fact?

Adam Harding: So I managed to bump into Jimmy Page in Reading train station. And I managed to equally bump into Robert Plant at Kiddy Harriers up in Kidderminster.

Michael Bird: Should I know who they are?

Adam Harding: Oh my God, I don't trust anybody who doesn't know Led Zeppelin. If you weren't the host, you could leave. So I've got two of the three remaining remembers, so now I'm going to stalk John Paul Jones.

Michael Bird: And to help we also have Rebecca Monk who is Softcat’s HR director, Rebecca welcome to Explain IT. Rebecca did you bring an interesting fact as well?

Rebecca Monk: I did bring an interesting fact with me, it's actually about my dad. My dad lives in Uganda where he teaches children to play brass instruments.

Michael Bird: That is interesting, how on earth did he get into that?

Rebecca Monk: He’s been there for about 10, 12 years now and he's taught hundreds of children to play an instrument, set up loads of brass bands and it’s now sustainable project and they're doing weddings and events and all sorts and earning money from it.

Michael Bird: That is seriously cool.

Rebecca Monk: It’s awesome, I’m very proud of him.

Adam Harding: Can you play?

Rebecca Monk: Not a jot.

Michael Bird: Ok so before we jump into the first question, let's just quickly define a phrase that we said at the top of the show – workspace - Adam can you just quickly define what that means.

Adam Harding: Sure, so from a Softcat perspective what we mean by workspace is actually the user experience and it's an experience we're creating by connecting applications, data, devices and people as well in a collaborative format to make sure they can always be as brilliant as they be can for us.

Michael Bird: So before we start to talk about the future of how people are going to be working, Adam can you talk through some of the main drivers that are impacting the way that people are working today?

Adam Harding: So there's certainly something going on. There is an evolution that is forcing organisations to think differently about what it means to be an employee, to be a manager or even what it actually means to work. I break it down to seven drivers that are causing this evolution to happen and challenging organisations to reconsider everything they know about work. These drivers are globalisation, change in demographics, increased mobility, the introduction of new behaviours, greater individual autonomy, technology itself and the overwhelming war for talent.

Michael Bird: So can we jump into each of those in a bit more detail then? So globalisation, what do you mean by that and what's the impact?

Adam Harding: Globalisation is causing the world to become like one giant city. The language you speak, the culture you subscribe to, the currency you transact in and where you’re physically located all matter less nowadays. This means that organisations can start to tap into talent anywhere in the world, which starts to address one of those big challenges for organisations.

Michael Bird: Ok, so let's talk about then increased mobility.

Adam Harding: Mobility is a bit of a given these days, but mobility is allowing us to stay connected to people and information anytime, anywhere, on any device. And this means that work is no longer a place you go to, it’s something you carry around with you in your pocket wherever you are.

Rebecca Monk: And you see this even just within the UK, in terms of people applying for jobs. So we have, obviously thousands of people applying to work for us every year and actually they are across the whole of the UK and they are expecting to be able to work for us at home or in any location, they're not expecting to happen to be in a head office five days a week or work near Marlow, or live near Marlow, for example.

Michael Bird: Is that something that’s happened fairly recently?

Rebecca Monk: I'd say probably over the last 5 to 10 years. There's more of an expectation that you shouldn't have to live near an office base anymore.

Michael Bird: Ok so let's look at the change in demographics.

Adam Harding: So I think we're nearing a tipping point. Millennials are expected to comprise 50% of the workforce at some point next year and about 75% of the workforce by 2025. Millennials, from my point as a technologist, are digital natives who are often looking for a greater purpose in their actual role and they expect to and want to work in ways that reflect the year we live in, rather than wading through the processes and practices that were pretty tired and cumbersome a decade ago.

Rebecca Monk: Yeah I agree. I think whilst our expectations of what people coming into the workforce, as employers, hasn't changed, the expectations of the new people in the workforce of what they get from an employer is definitely increasing, so the expectations of what someone who we hire today who’s straight from uni would have had versus what someone 10, 20 years ago would have had is completely different, and they are so much more able to compare and contrast us with other employers now, thinking about Glass Door for example, and all of those review sites, the word spreads if we're not keeping up with the competition in terms of what we offer back to our employees. So we really have to stay ahead of the game, but equally we have to be realistic about what we need as a culture and what works for us and so we can't just turn into an organisation that we're not because we have to put context around all of this in terms of what works for us to achieve our business goals and every organisation needs to do that.

Adam Harding: And should you lead the culture? Should you understand where you're currently at and try and just gradually make small achievable steps to shift it in the right direction or should you just stick within the culture that’s worked well with you historically?

Rebecca Monk: Softcat has a very unique culture so it's a great example to take as a case study, but if every organisation starts with what their current culture is or what they want it to be, more specifically, and works backwards from there then they get to a stage where they realise, what does that mean for the workspace? So if you are a recruitment company with 20 people who have all got loads of experience elsewhere and they can control their own work life and autonomy and they're all trusted to make decisions, they don't need to be in an office Monday to Friday, five days a week or whatever. When you're an organisation like Softcat where we hire probably 300 new starters a year who have never worked anywhere else, are straight from school or university, you have to offer something different, you have to offer an environment where people can connect, learn from each other, it's just a different thing, so there's no one-size-fits-all, it has to start with what is the ideal culture for your workplace and then work backwards from there.

Michael Bird: So that leads quite nicely on to the next point which you brought up Adam, which is the introduction of new behaviours.

Adam Harding: Although millennials are driving enormous organisational change, it's important to remember that the future employees, anyone that's changing their behaviour and mindset based on their experiences outside of the Workspace. So this means it doesn't matter of that person's 22 or 62, the new behaviours they are introducing are rapidly entering our organisations. So for example many of us are comfortable living a more public life. We share our thoughts on blogs, we post reviews on TripAdvisor or Glass Door as Rebecca said, we have our entire professional history on LinkedIn, we share our pictures on Instagram, we rant on Twitter and we engage in open conversations with people we used to be friends with at school on Facebook. I mean, in fact virtually every aspect of business has started to change because of these behaviours including the way we share, we communicate, we collaborate with each other, teach, learn, find information, access the applications within our business or create content and I think this is forcing organisations to fundamentally rethink and reimagine the way we work and the tooling and the mechanisms we put in place to support everybody that contributes, everybody that contributes, not just the millennials.

Rebecca Monk: And I feel like there's a growing disparity between people's expectations of their technical or technological experience outside of work compared to inside of work. So people come to work and expect to be able to use stuff in the same way that they use it at home and for it to be as easy and for it to be as quick and consumer grade technology, apps, devices, whatever. There's a growing need for people to want to bring their own devices to work because that's what they're most accustomed to, that's how they feel they can be more productive, and so when they get to work and feel like actually there's a jar between what they’re doing at home on their tech and what they’re doing at work, immediately that creates a source of dissatisfaction for employees and immediately makes them feel like they are less productive or it's not set up in the way they'd like it to be set up and so that is definitely a big factor in employee engagement I think.

Adam Harding: I think the consumerisation thing is interesting. It's just like trying to define what a millennial is. Some people see it as, it's essentially a bring your own device to work policy, other people it's bring your own Enterprise to work policy. If you want to use Evernote instead of Onenote, that's fine, if you want use Dropbox instead of Onedrive that's ok, but actually to create a consumer feel is more about making sure that technology never gets in the way of the users. They never need to go on a training course once they download a new app on their phone, it's absolutely intuitive. My 6 year old niece is as good on those things as I am and that's the reason that our employees and employees across companies all over the world are so keen to bring their own stuff, because it's just easy for them to do business.

Rebecca Monk: But is that because we've overcomplicated the systems and tools that we use at work?

Adam Harding: I think it's because the difference between the consumer world and the corporate world is we actually have a lot of the same tools. It's still a laptop, still Office, the difference is security, we live in a world that's extremely paranoid, for good reason, there's so much pressure on IT departments to reduce risk, that we put lots and lots of things in the way of you doing your job. And I think that that needs to find it's right balance, that's where you lose that intuitive set up.

Michael Bird: Ok so what about greater individual autonomy?

Adam Harding: The real focus is a shift towards outcomes based reward and outcome based targeting. From an IT point of view it's very popular at the moment that people are obviously interested in the processes of how we help, or they help themselves, work through discovery and design and deployment and the rest of it, but actually there is a new fixation on the outcome. There's a new fixation on fixed price consultancy for instance, based on do you achieve it or do you not? I think that by giving individuals greater autonomy, that works all the way through the organisation from the most junior and new member of staff through to the most senior and I think it's really about making sure that we generate the spark that will give us a competitive advantage, we need to be creative, we need to think critically, we need to collaborate with others and we need to somehow differentiate ourselves in a world whereby realistically, most organisations within your given industry or sector will have the similar problem statements, or go out and buy similar answers. So my dad used to say this, he used to say, “All cars are starting to look the same,” he was an engineer, he built the K series engine for Rover, and he said, “All cars are starting to look the same, as soon as you introduce wind tunnels and you ask the machine to create the same output, the most efficient shape and all the rest of it, you’ll end up with the same answer”. I have a suspicion that companies, broadly speaking, are throwing the same problem statements at their IT teams – make us as secure as we need to be and no further, make us as efficient as we can  be, make us as performant as we can be, save us as much money as you can get away with without hurting us, that type of thing. And if you all ask the same questions, and we pump through the same logic, we’ll all get the same answers, we’ll all buy the same stuff and we’ll all end up being the same company so you start to erode away at your competitive advantage. And when it comes to where is that difference going to come from? I personally think it is about the human side of things - the mistakes that we’ll make, the happy coincidences, I suppose, and that creative side, that's what will give us the edge, and I think the greater individual autonomy piece is really about, encourage those happy coincidences.

Rebecca Monk: And we often talk in my world about how employee engagement is our key driver of customer satisfaction. Happy employees make happy customers, makes happy shareholders and one of the key drivers, all the research will say, of employee engagement, is how much control and autonomy someone has over their own workload. So yes of course they’ve got a job description and they've got direction from someone above them, but in terms of how they control what they’re doing during the day, where they're working, how they're working, that is such a key driver of satisfaction that you have to give them some more freedom to do that because otherwise they do turn into people who lose that spark.

Michael Bird: Ok, so next on the list was technology, can you just talk about that a bit please Adam?

Adam Harding: I think that all of these factors, all these pressures, all these things are forcing organisations to fundamentally rethink not only the way they work, but the tooling and the mechanisms they put in place to support it. And technologies such as big data, wearable devices, collaboration platforms, the internet of things, hybrid multi cloud and 5G are all enabling us to work in new but familiar ways whilst keeping us more engaged, to your point, and more productive. In the future of work, technology is the central nervous system of the organisation and everything hangs off that. If technology doesn't work for your employees then it's only getting in the way of them being productive, of them being engaged and of their happiness, because we've all sworn at our machines…

Rebecca Monk: I'd also say that there's, to a certain extent, been a bit more in recent times, a backlash against using technology and work technology creeping into your home life. So there was a, probably the last 10, 20 years, a real push towards everyone being on email all the time, everyone checking everything all the time, and actually in the last few years, while this sentiment around health and well-being and work life balance, and especially a focus on mental health has come to the fore, there's also more of an expectation amongst employees that they can switch off and that they can go home and not have to reply to things.

Michael Bird: There's a car company, isn’t there, that switches their emails off in the evenings and at the weekends?

Adam Harding: It's starting to be legislated actually.

Michael Bird: Is it really?

Adam Harding: In France, they're starting to see legislation creeping to try and maintain it. I'd like to think it doesn't need to go as far as being legislated, I’d like to think that each individual is responsible for looking after each other, that’s certainly a Softcat culture.

Rebecca Monk: And I think it goes back to the point around expectations of the world of work and what people want now from work is for the technology to enable them to be as productive as possible when they choose to work and then for the blurred lines to stop and for them to be able to opt out and leave the technology behind when they want to not be working and so we have to adapt and respond to those expectations, otherwise we’ll be lagging behind in the same way that other companies will.

Adam Harding: What is the HR stance on what’s a reasonable thing to ask of your employee? Is it as strict as, outside the formal working hours you don't ask them anything?

Rebecca Monk: I think it depends on the culture and the nature of work and what we've been doing a lot recently, given our of big focus internally on mental health, is to try and encourage managers to make sure that they're not setting expectations with their employees that they will respond to emails, for example, outside of work. So my boss, Graham Watt, our CEO, recently sent some emails on a bank holiday and then very quickly sent a follow up email apologising because he'd wanted them to stay in his outbox the whole time over the bank holiday and for them to just come through on the Tuesday morning when we were all back to work, and so he sent a follow up email saying, “I'm so sorry they flew out of my outbox before I had a chance to stop them,” and I just thought that was a fantastic response because actually there would be plenty of CEOs around the country, I’m sure, sending the emails quite happily on a bank holiday and not caring whether it disrupted your weekend or not, and the fact that he then felt the need to apologise for it, just shows where…

Michael Bird: Leading by example.

Rebecca Monk: Exactly.

Adam Harding: And leading from the top. I think that makes a massive difference.

Michael Bird: Ok so finally on your list Adam was the war for talent.

Adam Harding: So these six trends combined with an unprecedented war for talent are forcing organisations to shift their mentality from creating a place where employees need to work, to creating a place, and a whole environment and culture that employees want to be part of. When we think about the future of work, those who can successfully make the shift from need to want and can crack accessibility and inclusivity for everyone, are the companies that are going to be able to attract and retain the top talent. Those that can go on to change the focus to greater creativity, critical thinking and collaboration are the organisations that will beat their competitors to the punch.

Rebecca Monk: So yeah, take it from Softcat’s perspective for one minute. We hire maybe 350, 400 people a year, we’re a growing organisation and so we find ourselves faced with hundreds of job vacancies at any given time and we are constantly up against it in terms of trying to attract the right talent, particularly in the tech space, and so for us it's all about how on earth can we find untapped pools of resource, whether that might be women coming back to work after career breaks who want to have a change of career and get into tech or get into sales or whatever, or it might be people with learning disabilities or other areas of diversity and inclusion that we haven't tapped into and we really need to make sure that we're not ruling anyone out and we have typically fished in the same pools for our candidates for a long time, we go to the same universities, we look for graduates and even just thinking about our apprenticeship scheme expanding, that's one way of making sure that we're not just looking for the same types of people. But what the war for talent does mean is that we are really up against it, against all our competitors, and not even direct competitors, people are as interested now in what the job is, versus what the culture is, of a company, so will they will not join us if they think the job sounds great but actually the culture doesn't really sing to me, we have to do as good a job on selling our culture and our Workspace and how we work as we do on the job itself because people are as interested in that. And as I said earlier there will be some people who won't even want to work for us purely because of the locations that we’re based in if we don't offer flexibility, those kind of things, so we really need to make sure that we are at the top of our game in terms of what we can offer, otherwise we will just lose out and experience a loss of productivity because of the constant need to keep hiring.

Michael Bird: Ok so we've kind of set the scene then. But from an organisation perspective, why should they care, what's the impact going to be?

Rebecca Monk: So I think that the changes that we've seen so far have got us thinking, as we are today, about what further changes are coming down the line and it's making us re-evaluate how we manage our workforce and what that workforce even is. There's all the talk lately about the gig economy, there’s far more self-employed people than there ever used to be, the world of work is just changing and for companies to keep pace with that and to keep ahead of the game, they need to adapt. So here at Softcat, we’re a services business, we don't make our own products, it's all about relationships with customers and therefore from an HR perspective and from an IT perspective, it's all about how we look after our employees so that they can have the best possible relationships with our customers.

Michael Bird: So that’s Softcat. What about the wider industry, other organisations that might be listening to this podcast. Why should they care? Perhaps there’s organisations that might actually sell stuff or be in totally different industries.

Adam Harding: With a wider scope, broadly speaking, there are four different stakeholders that always turn up within an organisation. So we have our users, we have the business, we have IT and we have customers. Now our users are looking for the freedom to work without technology getting in the way. IT teams are looking for, well they’re often cited as saying they would like things to be simple, they’re looking for simplicity. In reality they’re looking for pace, they’re looking for things to be easy so that they can move on to the next task more quickly, they can continue to chase down opportunities and to solve problems more quickly. And then there's the business. The business, broadly speaking, is looking to reduce the risk of their service stopping, of them being breached, of them falling foul of rules and regulations and then they're also looking for their expenditure to drop and for the amount of money coming in to increase. So those are the levers. And then from a customer point of view, they’re looking for fantastic customer service and they’re looking for value for money. Now each of these 7 drivers or topics start to get in the way of users doing a great job, which starts to get in the way of productivity, which starts to get in the way of revenue making opportunities and so on and so forth and these are all the pinch points that we need to alleviate, these all the bottlenecks that we need to massage out of the way to make sure that these organisations, whether they be public or private sector in reality, can continue to flow and grow at the rate that's required by their customers or their clients.

Michael Bird: So what kind of technologies would organisations need to consider to be able to deal with the change in how people are going to be working in the future?

Adam Harding: There are six elements that I would call out as a good starting point. So thing one, implement an adaptive access policy. Make sure that you have got your user authentication locked down, make sure you understand who your users are, make sure that you have a single digital identity for each user to make access to all of the different technologies easy for them, it's about ease. Also as part of implementing an adaptive access policy, you need to make sure that if we're positioning the security around the user we also put in place device trust, which is based on compliance standards and context. We can't build firewalls around the cloud, what we can do is make sure that every piece of data is classified and tagged and then to that data we understand the scenarios that it can be accessed and when it can't and who it can be shared with and who it can't be shared with and where it can be stored and so on and so forth. Secondly I would look at creating a digital workspace operations team. We have silos at the moment whereby we haven't consolidated traditional management and the management of mobile devices. Those two worlds are naturally coming together, we see this within Microsoft for instance with the introduction of co-management for Intune and SCCM, it makes absolute sense to bring together your operational team rather than treating those two as separate worlds. Thing three, enhance user experience by using operational analytics. Now there is still no one ring to rule them all, there's no one pane of glass where I can understand everything that's going on across my entire organisation from a monitoring standpoint, however what is important is we start to really focus on monitoring from the end user's perspective because there's a lot of Saas services out there which we cannot see the infrastructure layers and the same is the case to a lesser and greater degree for Paas and for Iaas, so the only thing we can do is make sure that the end user experience is where it should be, so we need to be looking at things like synthetic monitoring at the end user layer so I can see what's on your screen and I can feel why it's a bit slow and I can read all the way back to the appropriate level to do something about it. So thing three, enhance user experience by using operational analytics. Thing four; modernise your application delivery infrastructure. I think it's pretty simple to understand that if we're going to liberate all our people so that they may well work exactly the same way they do work now in offices, but they may well work in different locations with partners, with suppliers, all that type of stuff. We need to make sure that we can actually get the applications under their nose. I particularly struggle with access when I don't have internet connection and I need to make sure the applications and the data are local to my device so when I'm on the train or a plane I can continue being effective. So that's an area, it’s a pretty fundamental area, but make sure you ensure your applications can be put under the nose of the people that are trying to contribute towards you. The fifth thing; unify your collaboration hub. We’ve talked about, a couple of times during this session, about bringing people together so they can share their ideas so they can share their expertise. Make it easy. Collaboration is no longer about voice, IM and video, it's about being able to share documentation and to work on it together and then the final one I wanted to pull out was surface the work, not just the applications. This is a little bit of a futures thing, I think that we'll start to move away from terms like modern workspace and digital workspace towards something like a secure collaborative workspace and then eventually to an intelligent workspace and for me, the difference between an intelligent workspace and what we have now is that we won't focus on presenting you with an application, we’ll focus on presenting with the work. We will understand who you are, what you do, who you're working with, what the context of that moment in time is and we will present you with the documents we think you need because you're in the room with those people that are working on that project with you or we will present you with the workflows that you need so you can have a single button approval for things like expenses or holidays or whatever else it might be, so you don't have to go and find that work, the work comes to you.

Michael Bird: So how quickly do we think organisations are going to react to this or how quickly do they need to react to this?

Adam Harding: I think that organisations need to react to it yesterday. I think they're going to react to it when they start panicking. One of the problems we have here is there are some relatively quick fixes but the demographics will continue to shift and the behaviours will continue to change, the technology will continue to evolve and the whole talent thing – we’re not just going to pull people out of thin air, they’ve got to be educated and grown and go through the experiences. Some of these things, I think the trick is to make sure you understand you’re now in a constantly moving and constantly evolving situation. So it's more a case of build your base lines, continue to monitor it and continue to develop, there is no finish line for these things.

Rebecca Monk: As with all these things it's a gradual evolution rather than revolution. And certainly in terms of the changes that are taking place, demographically or in general in terms of what people are expecting from the workplace, or the workspace, and as with all these things what people are expecting, it changes over a number of years. I guess the only thing I would say to counter that is that the current generation of people that are coming into the workforce, they just expect stuff to happen quicker.

Adam Harding: We touched on pace a couple of times. I think that that is the crux of it. You’re now not competing with the requirements of your own organisation, you're competing with every consumer manufacturer out there.

Michael Bird: Do you think it's a focus on user experience but your users are your internal employees, employee experience?

Adam Harding: It needs to be secured, to the point that is appropriate for the organisation. That's the absolute starting point. But once you’re at the point where it works within the legal frameworks and the policies and the regulations that we need to meet, the next most important thing is experience. But experience is a cluster and a combination of app delivery, data security, the devices you get to choose from and how you interact with them and the collaboration tools you get, so yeah I think that experience is the thing that will make you different.

Rebecca Monk: Every organisation I’ve ever worked for regularly ask their employees how they feel about these topics. So we all do employee satisfaction surveys, pulse surveys, all that kind of stuff and again, every organisation I’ve worked for, systems, IT issues, all of that stuff has been the hot topic that comes out as the biggest driver of dissatisfaction across the board, from an employee perspective. So when is that not going to be the number one thing that we need to sort out?

Adam Harding: I think that we as organisations can't move at the pace that they can move at. They get a new phone every year and new television every two or three and a new laptop whenever they fancy it and I think that the sentiment is an important thing to look at. When I talked about enhancing the end-user operations, it wasn't just about speeds and feeds, it was about looking at people, it was about using tools like Peakon or Qualtrics to get regular feedback from your user community. Again I see a lot of organisations out there that we work with that, when we ask what are the pressures that your users are asking you to solve? They refer back to their one questionnaire from last year. The world has moved on quite a lot since then and we're seeing a lot of people use those Peakons and Qualtrics type of technologies to do the question or two every week, rather than one big dump of 100 questions once a year. Just to try and make sure that, as Rebeca said, we understand the pulse of the business.

Rebecca Monk: And that's when you'll really find out exactly what is bothering people to a granular degree, because it's very easy for us to sit here and say “we need to be thinking about this, this and this,” but actually if what the users want is just up-to-date reporting on their commission numbers or ease of signing on, all that kind of stuff, we’re in danger of also overcomplicating things to a certain extent and getting the basics right is what most people tell me in the surveys that they want .

Adam Harding: Most organisations probably have a broadly similar ambition for their target state where they want to be, from a technology point of view at least. What they don't have is a similar starting point. Everybody's at the current state where you’re currently at, is all over the shop with regards to the technology that you've got, the processes that you might have antiquated processes, I’ve met people that have been doing the same thing in the same way for 30 years because that’s how they did it on day one, and never even thought about changing it. And specifically the people, when it comes down to awareness of what their problems are, awareness of what we're doing about it and how we are going to help them bridge the gap if actually, it's a training thing. How are we going to reinforce the enablement that we've given them? What tools are we going to use? Do we create videos? Do we go and have drop-in centres every now and then? Do we create virtual training? Whatever it might be.

Michael Bird: So to summarise?

Rebecca Monk: So we talked broadly about the seven main drivers behind the need for discussion about the future of the world of work. So just to recap what those were. We talked about globalisation and that led nicely on to increased mobility, we’ve talked about the changing nature of the demographics that make up our workforces and the introduction of new behaviours within that, people wanting greater individual autonomy and control over the work that they do. We also talked about technology and how the changes in tech are enabling us to start addressing some of these issues. We finished off by talking about the war for talent and how important that is to keep ourselves competitive in the future.

Adam Harding: And then we moved on to talk about what should you do about it? We talked about implement and adaptive access policy, create a digital workspace operations team, enhance user experience using operational analytics, and make sure that you are also measuring sentiment across the workforce. Modernise application delivery infrastructure, unify the collaboration hub and finally start surfacing the work and not just the applications. Michael Bird: Fantastic. Adam, Rebecca, it’s been really interesting talking to you both, thank you very much for your time. Listeners, if there's anything in this show that has been of interest or if you'd like to speak to someone at Softcat about anything that we've covered in this episode or any of the previous episodes, do make sure you check out the show notes, we’re going to put some further information based on some of the stuff that we've talked about today as well as some contact details. Do also make sure you click subscribe wherever you get your podcast and we’ll deliver the next episode to your device as soon as it lands. So thank you for listening to Explain IT from Softcat.