x-Early Perspectives

Workplace trends: what’s not, what’s not

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2013 ……


The state of affairs in the digital workplace has been at least partially revealed by the results of the 2014 Digital Workplace Trends pre-survey quick poll. It’s a fast way to see what DW people are thinking about and working on.


These results triggered several fundamental questions for me.

  • Social collaboration: What’s blocking?
  • Mobile: need for speed?
  • ROI: what do we have to prove?
  • Floor-field workforce: the forgotten people?
  • Customers: our raison d’être?
  • Language: head in the sand?
  • Governance: a new era?

In the meantime, you can go through the slide deck for details including all the spontaneous comments and suggestions from the 110 people. The top headlines are below.

The quick read: social = priority #1

Out of the proposed topics for “in practice” cases, the top is “ROI from internal social networking”. The top priority for “data and analysis” is  social collaboration and enterprise processes.

6 headlines showing what voters consider hot ….

  • Social collaboration and change are 3 of the top 4, all rated as high priority by 50 to 60% of the voters. Not surprising. These are hot right now.
  • Mobile was number 2. Ditto. Lots of movement here.
  • Then we hit strategy-oriented topics: governance, measurement, senior management buy-in and “definition of the digital workplace” all rated as top priority by 40 to 50% of the voters. Good mid-range topics, not hot but at least warm.

…or not

  • “Involving workforce in emerging economies e.g. BRIC was at the bottom of the 20 with less than 10%. Probably not relevant for many organizations.
  • “Multilingual issues and solutions” were considered priority by 25% of the participants. Disappointing, since the survey population traditionally has at least 60% of organization working in more than one country, with 40% in over 20 countries.
  • Both “enabling the floor-field workforce” and “enabling the customer-facing workforce” were in the bottom 10, ranked in 15th and 16th places respectively. Big surprise. More investigation required.

On-the-fly view of what “digital people” are thinking about

The pre-survey quick poll was designed to be done in 3 to 4 minutes and intended to get a quick “on the fly” reading of what is on people’s minds when it comes to the digital workplace.  110 people took part in the poll: 77 percent digital practitioners inside organizations and 20 percent service providers e.g. agencies, consultants, technology vendors.