There’s a growing recognition that the next generation of workers treats email the same way us older folks now see the memo or physical email. What we still use as a mainline communication tool they see as a relic. This move toward social isn’t breaking news, but it is the leading edge of something much larger, just behind the curtain. It is the first evidence that workforce of the 21st Century has a completely different look and feel.
The first time I wrote a piece on the death of email, I received countless emails telling me that real business will never be ROTFL and LMAO. Those emails came from people who don’t see beyond the current use of something to see the real capability. They don’t see the broader implications of giving employees both a voice and choice. They are ROTFMTP (Rolling On The Floor Missing The Point): Voice and choice put value creation in everyone’s hands.
Customizing my workplace
In my work, I use our own collaboration platform, tibbr, and I follow who I choose. Likewise, people follow me by choice. No one forces me to follow my boss. I tend to follow the most interesting people and avoid the people who aren’t. I have choices that I exercise to make my job interesting and to customize my working world. Consider the change from the old days of the memo from the boss or the enterprise portal, where someone makes a decision about what everyone will see and where they’ll find it. This is a reversal of the way we think of leadership and communication.
Reading the social mosaic
Social isn’t just what’s being said, it is where the conversations are taking place and the topics that are trending. Rather than reactive response to rumor and insecurity, the leader of the future addresses issues as they happen, innovation as it occurs, based on the conversational mosaic of the enterprise. There’s a social graph of the enterprise that is even more compelling than how many friends we have in Namibia (though that, too, is interesting).
Writing a functional spec and waiting for acceptance testing is going the way of the memo. Users can now self-provision through an internal app store that offers user-facing technology like a form building application that allow creation and deployment of light-weight forms, data collection and task flows. It allows users to create apps as well as consume, which stands the old way on its head. IT enabled it, but IT didn’t need to get into the details.
Analytics for the people
We’ve moved past periodic reports, beyond real-time dashboards and are in a place where business people interact visually with large amounts of data. The ability to put a terabyte of data in memory and turn and twist it to meet our analysis needs is game-changing. Memory is the new disk; disk is the new tape.
Moving back to front
The next workplace isn’t only about consumerization and the ‘end’ user. The shift brought about by HTML 5 represents wholesale change for the developer roll as well. We’re now able to put powerful development tools in the browser and on mobile devices, utilizing the cloud to do what was once the work of fat clients and servers. Development moves to anywhere and everywhere, and the cost comes down significantly.
Context is king
We’re putting so much information in the hands of so many people, you’d think they’d drown in that information. The truth is that we’ve always been pretty good at sorting out what matters and hearing what we want to hear. We do that by paying very careful attention to context like where a message comes from and what influence the source has. Employees can subscribe to event streams that represent pre-filtered, pre-correlated ways to see the key things that affect their work and their enterprise. New noise levels meet new noise filters.
These changes are very non-subtle and change what it means to be an employee in technology or the business. It represents a distribution of value creation away from a management structure and toward a collective approach that rewards initiative and adaptability. Value creation is no longer to be managed, it is the option for anyone who chooses to answer the call.