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3 Key Milestones to Building a Smarter, Digital Workplace



Picture a large office space back in the 1930’s. The kind we’ve all seen in movies: the regimented rows of desks with their in-trays and typewriters, the uniform space broken only by ranks of filing cabinets or perhaps a manager’s office separated off in a corner.

HPE20170223064_800_0_72_srgb.jpgNow picture a modern-day office, with its varieties of spaces, its cubicles and open-plan meeting areas, the desks now littered with PCs and mobile devices.

We’ve certainly come a long way. But we’re on the cusp of a transformation that will make today’s workplaces seem just as outdated as those of the 30’s. The digital world is converging with the physical environment, creating new kinds of spaces that can support and empower their human occupants in ways that were simply not possible just a few years ago.

Smarter workplaces drive better business outcomes

Today’s smart, digital workplaces make it easier for people to collaborate. They increase productivity by eliminating many time-consuming tasks that clutter up our workdays. They foster innovation and empowerment while reducing operational costs, which in turn helps drive better business outcomes. They can even help companies configure and manage facilities more effectively. Here are three key milestones on the journey to the digital workplace, and examples of companies that are achieving impressive results today.

1. Secure, untethered, consistent connectivity anywhere.

A trusted, mobile-first network is the cornerstone of the new workplace. Connectivity should provide the ample coverage, capacity and performance that’s needed to free users from their desks so they can work how they want, where they want.

That was an important goal for American Fidelity Assurance Company, an insurance and financial services provider with more than a million customers in 23 countries, when it decided to move to an all-wireless network for its new headquarters in Oklahoma City. Company leaders had noticed that their colleagues were becoming more collaborative, more mobile. They wanted to use whatever devices – laptops, tablets, mobile phones – helped them be most productive, whether at the office, at home, or on the road. At the same time, data security, particularly protecting client data, was paramount.

American Fidelity chose a pervasive wireless solution from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, that leverages 802.11 ac wi-fi technology to provide the massive bandwidth and throughput needed for secure, anytime, anywhere access. Employees enjoy the simplicity of the new network and the freedom to choose how and where they collaborate. For example, if they’re in a meeting they can easily access files on the network and pull them up onto a large screen so that everybody can see them and provide input.

You can learn more about how American Fidelity Assurance built its Genmobile-friendly workspace in this short video.

2. Workplace productivity tools, including collaboration solutions with cloud economics.

Productivity and collaboration tools like Microsoft’s Windows 10, Office 365, and Skype for Business are rapidly becoming the norm for the new work environment. They provide a rich, seamless user experience across any device. They can be delivered via the cloud, with all the cost and convenience advantages that we’ve come to expect from that delivery mode.

And they can do that no matter where your workspace is located. Subsea 7, a global leader in seabed-to-surface engineering, construction and services, chose Skype for Business when it wanted to build a unified communications and telephony solution for its worldwide operations. Hewlett Packard Enterprise implemented the solution on all seven of the company’s sea-going vessels, providing conferencing, presence, calendar, and desktop sharing capabilities. Subsea 7 considers its vessels ‘floating offices,” according to IT project manager Adele Leport. You can read how Subsea 7 cut conferencing costs by 80% and increased productivity worldwide here.

London-based HSBC, one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world, is another global business that turned to HPE for the tools and capabilities to transform how its workforce connects, communicates and collaborates across many different offices and geographies. HSBC set up its Mercury Transformation Programme to replace a set of collaborative tools, notably an ageing Lotus Notes e-mail system, with the Microsoft 2013 product suite including Office, Outlook and SharePoint. HPE technologies enabled HSBC to identify groups of colleagues who communicate and collaborate on a regular basis, so that they could be switched over to Outlook in the same migration window.

The Mercury initiative was a winner in the Global and Strategic Transformation category of The Banker’s Technology Projects of the Year Awards for 2017. At its peak, the project involved migrating 4,300 mailboxes in one night, and more than 57,000 over a single month. Peter Grace, HPE’s Programme Director, Mercury Programme, tells the story in this article: The Banker Technology Projects of the Year Awards 2017.

3. Digital context and indoor location solutions.

Smart spaces can connect location and facilities information with personal productivity tools, such as calendars, for an experience that maximizes workflows and minimizes friction, bottlenecks, and slow points in employees' workdays. Indoor location capabilities can help employees identify and make the best use of work spaces, including meeting rooms, huddle spaces, and desks. Mobile wayfinding apps can provide turn-by-turn navigation to help employees or visitors get from one place to the next.

Aruba’s new headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., provides some great example of these new technologies in action. When visitors arrive at the building, they don’t have to go through the usual manual sign-up systems; Aruba ClearPass integration with Envoy automatically provide building and Wi-Fi credentials.

As they move around the campus, employees and visitors enjoy seamless Wi-Fi connectivity. Intelligence embedded in the wireless infrastructure proactively adjusts capacity, keeping the user experience smooth and productivity high, according to Aruba founder Keerti Melkote, as reported in this article: How Aruba created its next-gen digital workplace.

The location technology also helps you find your colleagues wherever they are working on campus. And they can find you, too – if you want them to. You can opt in if you want to share your presence, or you can keep it private. “We’ve improved location accuracies considerably, allowing individuals to locate each other to within three meters,” Melkote says.

Towards the intelligent workspace

Aruba’s headquarters illustrates what you can achieve by combining technologies like pervasive wireless, collaboration tools with digital workflow, and expert integration of identity and location data. You can craft a differentiated, richer and more immersive set of experiences in the work environment for your employees, partners and visitors. This is the destination of the smarter digital workplace transformation –intelligent workspaces.

To learn more, check out this article by Jordan Whitmarsh, HPE Worldwide Mobility and Workplace Strategist, and myself: How to Build a More Effective Workplace.

Join us in Madrid

Beyond Cube.jpgThousands of IT professionals from around the world will be joining us for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s largest IT event of the year: HPE Discover. Meet us in Madrid and sign up for this session to continue learning about digital workspaces: "Creating richer digital workplace experiences at the Intelligent Edge."

In addition, we'll have a demo to experience a modern, innovative, IoT-enabled digital workplace with four unique neighborhoods. The reception area engages visitors and employees in new ways with guest registration, auto-wifi onboarding and our employee mobile app. The desking area shows personalized workspaces using location services and dynamic reservation technologies. Engage in Microsoft 365-based collaboration in the co-creation area. Finally, experience smarter conference spaces with dynamic occupancy sensing, multi-device wireless display sharing and IoT room control. Find it next to the HPE Pointnext pavillion!

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About the Author


Worldwide Director for Intelligent Edge solutions. Kitty oversees the global solutions strategy and management within HPE’s Pointnext business for the Intelligent Edge.

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