The aspect of the future of the digital workplace that most excites me is its data. The social and organisational network data produced by these tools provides a wealth of possibilities to explore. These can be as simple as a chatbot that replaces an IT help-desk, or as complex as being able to understand the behaviour patterns of your business.

These are not far-off pipe dreams. The capability to put in place these examples exist now, and can be as user-friendly as a few clicks. Indeed, as digital workplace tools have become better integrated (e.g. the O365 suite, or Atlassian stack + Slack), the possibilities available are increasing and made available through tools such as Microsoft Graph. This is an incredibly powerful API that connects data and therefore generate insights across O365 tools. 

My frustration is, consensus seems to be that organisations are not ready for this, seeing it as too advanced. This view is so engrained that many of the plug-ins developed with Microsoft Graph focus on creating easier ways for people to share and categorise emails. This is disappointing, when they could be helping teams get far superior value out of the real-time, collaboration tools. To be frank, I almost cannot believe we are still focussing on making it easier to work out of Outlook in 2018.

This approach is often defended as being user-centric. But is this the right approach? Do you go where your user is (email and powerpoint)? Or do you capitalise on the incredible capability of these new ecosystems and encourage teams to use more transformational tools, through demonstrating their value?

For me, I am reminded of the famous Steve Jobs quote, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” People are so used to working out of email and files, they won’t know a better way until we show them. The best way to show them is by taking a value-centric rather than user-centric approach.

Here’s a collection of links that have got me thinking on this topic: