Despite plans to overhaul their current strategies to meet the new demands of the future workforce and changing business environment, enterprises are falling short, reveals a survey? undertaken for Fujitsu by leading independent European research firm Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC).The survey also highlights that many current workplace strategies are proving to be barriers to progress rather than enablers, with security in particular blamed for holding back productivity.
Findings reveal that in addition to security, the most significant shortcomings that organisations need to address in order to ready their workplace for the future are outdated legacy technology and workplace environments that are unable to support new ways of working. The study raises concerns over organisations’ current workplace strategies and their impact on retaining and attracting new employees.
Ramanan Ramakrishna, Head of Service Innovation and Portfolio at Fujitsu EMEIA, states: “We’re at the cusp of a workplace revolution. The foundations that business lay now, both in terms of technology and cultural change, will affect their competitiveness in the future. But while they are making strides forward, there is a long way to go. If these critical trends are not addressed with effective workplace strategies, businesses run the risk of having any short-term gains dwarfed by the longer-term costs, not to mention their increasing inability to attract good talent or address regulatory requirements.”
Businesses are unprepared for the workplace of the future
The survey revealed that businesses are only making slow progress towards achieving future-proof workplaces and are failing to modernise many essential processes. For example, only 29 percent of business leaders currently have a centralised approach to service and security management – hugely important areas to ensure consistency and control. While employees increasingly expect flexibility and mobility, less than half (42 percent) of organisations are able to provide Web portal based support services to provide ‘anywhere’ access to applications and services.
The absence of a workplace environment that is able to support new ways of working and evolving business practices is taking its toll, and is restricting businesses’ flexibility and agility. The findings show that nearly a quarter of business leaders questioned (23 percent) admit that their current approach is having a negative impact on helping the company adapt to a changing competitive landscape. Furthermore, 20 percent state that their existing workplace strategies are having a negative impact on their ability to accelerate time to market for new products and services. A further 18 percent say that it has a negative impact on retaining and attracting new employees.
Workplace technology is seen a barrier rather than an enabler to employee productivityThe effective use of technology is at the heart of successful digital workplace strategies, however many CXOs named technological factors as the key barriers to productivity they face. In fact, almost two thirds (63 percent) see interoperability with outdated technology as a major challenge to workplace productivity. More than half also cited the complexity of current workplace technology (57 percent) and a lack of access to the right productivity tools (55 percent) as major issues. A further concerning revelation is that the majority of organisations simply do not have a clear understanding of their current productivity levels, with only 17 percent using analytics tools across the business.
Security is holding businesses back
The threat of cyberattacks continues to grow in both scale and sophistication, and is impacting all industry sectors. Businesses have responded by investing heavily in cyber defense, but the study suggests that for many, the different levels of protection and authentication they have accumulated are acting as a throttle on productivity. More than half of study participants (56 percent) responded that their current approach to workplace security is having a negative impact on employee productivity, with 20 percent of the total sample base stating that it has a ‘highly negative’ effect. This is due to employees taking non-compliant routes and cutting corners when faced with complex or time-consuming security procedures and mechanisms.
Business leaders rank compliance with regulations such as the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as their biggest workplace security issue – 59 percent see it as a major challenge, ahead of location-based access and information sharing (58 percent) and identity management (58 percent). Security is also preventing businesses from taking full advantage of the latest generation of collaboration-based tools to drive productivity and social integration. According to the study, 41 percent of businesses have not yet deployed these tools with 46 percent naming security concerns as the main barrier.