2018 was a banner year for the digital workplace as organizations began to see the positive bottom line impact of investing in the digital experience of their employees. Building on this momentum, 2019 is set to be another monumental year. So, let’s ring in The New Year Nexthink-style! We asked some of the greatest minds in the industry one simple question: what will 2019 bring for the digital workplace and employee experience?

So, without further ado, let’s kick the predictions off with Nexthink co-founder himself – Vincent Bieri.

Vincent Bieri, Co-founder & Chief Product Evangelist, Nexthink

In 2019 companies will further connect the dots that employee experience contributes to great customer engagement, and that focusing directly on customer facing apps/products is not enough to delight customers. We will see this play out in three key ways that highlight that everything starts with employee experience:

  • The rules of digitization have changed: Employee Experience starts instrumenting consumer engagement and business growth objectives
  • A rebalancing act changes what success looks like: Moving from technology to experience-centric digital transformation
  • Personalization and choice begin to coexist with security and productivity: Experience benchmarking hits the digital workplace in the enterprise

Oscar Berg, author of Digital Workplace Strategy & Design, CEO at Unicorn Titans

The digital employee experience will get a lot more attention during 2019 as more organizations begin to realize how essential it is for digital transformation and their ability to keep pace with the changing business environment.

In 2019 many organizations will also start to shift the focus of their digital workplace initiatives towards the people who perform manual labor, the blue-collar workers. Previously blue-collar workers have used information technology primarily for reporting back to the office (non-value adding activities for them), but now they are being equipped with digital devices and services that help them perform a better and more efficient job, creating more value for customers. Laptops, smartphones and tablets have their obvious limitations when you are working with your hands or having a dialog with a customer, citizen, or patient. Instead they will be using new kinds of wearables, smart voice assistants, and virtual and augmented reality to a much greater degree than white collar workers.

James McMahon, VP Head of Digital Workplace, Atos

2019 is potentially one of the most exciting in recent years to predict, with so many key concepts possessing the potential to become mainstream reality for workforces globally. 2019 will be the year when technology and innovation will have a positive impact on people within all workplace types. Experience will be the key topic, but there will be a clear demarcation between those who talk and those who measure and act.

The 3 key trends to watch are:

  1. The emergence of experience level agreements as a measures of workplace performance and quality. This is only possible as organizations adopt a data driven mindset. Making great experiences measurable is a major milestone in addressing the perception issue that many IT organizations battle today.
  2. The link between employee experience & wellbeing will be made by more organizations. Those who succeed will make the tangible link between employee experience, productivity, the ability to attract talent and business outcomes. It will be no coincidence that these organizations are also the ones able to reduce the cost of traditional IT dramatically.
  3. Continuous transformation will displace refresh, with modern, entirely cloud based services, from management to collaboration, the way services are delivered, updated and consumed will change. Organizations must look to adopt an entirely new focus on lifecycle management, with the introduction of AI and bots, combined with high levels of automation and proactivity critical to embracing a new workplace management paradigm.

Tim Flower, Director of Digital Business Transformation, Nexthink

As IT looks to make itself more efficient, there is a growing realization that the end user is who really matters. Without them, we don’t need any of this. I recently made an argument to a Help Desk manager that I could improve their costs and efficiency overnight – by just telling all of their users to stop calling. And while they can’t do that, they certainly can’t do the inverse – tell everyone to call in every problem. But IT needs to know what happens to user productivity when two clouds collide, or when they move to Windows 10, or how well that latest business app rollout went. How will IT remove the dependency on the end user to define the problem and scope of an issue by requiring them to call the Help Desk? When will IT make a commitment on what they will provide to the business other than a remediation response or uptime SLA?

As I talk with fortune 1,000 customers worldwide, the time is now. More and more enterprises are understanding that without an intimate knowledge of the business and the real user experience, they are doomed to wander around in that dark cave looking for the exit without a flashlight. 2019 is the year that Enterprise IT finally baselines and fully understands the user experience with both quantitative metrics and qualitative user sentiment data, implements measurable improvements to the quality of the service they provide (not just how fast their firetruck is), and commits to delivering a Digital Experience across a vast array of metrics that can be gathered, measured, and improved upon. An Experience Level Agreement (XLA) based on living, breathing, real-time data, can create a partnership between IT and the business that never existed before. Leading-edge companies have discovered the power of lighting up that dark cave and discovering where their issues are lurking. The final year of the 20-teens will now be transformational for mainstream enterprises as that light of discovery, and the ability to set meaningful XLA’s based on real life data, changes the game. The business user matters and committing to their experience is “where IT is at.

Greg Cullen, Managing Director APAC, Nexthink

AI will lead to a massively improved employee experience: From network applications to big data and mobile devices to cloud computing, IT services are now interconnected to such a degree that isolated failure can precipitate a chain reaction causing business slowdowns, customer frustration, employee dissatisfaction and revenue shrinkage. Given the broad-spectrum applications of AI and its ability to churn through historical data, deliver accurate predictions and automate common tasks, it makes sense to set this tech loose on the end-user experience, particularly when it comes to reducing repair times.

The next step for artificial intelligence? Automation of predictive experience outcomes. Instead of simply tackling break-fix issues, staff will instead leverage new capabilities of AI to find better ways to accomplish common tasks. In adopting this new approach, organizations will effectively move beyond “good enough” solutions to deliver “ideal” outcomes.

There you have it – how the digital workplace will change in 2019 by the people closest to the action. It should be a truly exciting year and we are thrilled to go on the journey with you. Please check back often for new content and, in the meantime, Happy New Year!