‘We have to make ourselves future-ready!’ You hear this phrase all the time, but what does it really mean? How do you become future-ready? Really, the foundation to be able to say ‘We want to stay future ready!’ should be established in every company. That applies to several levels at once. A factor that is often undervalued is the organisation of workflows: companies need to avoid workflow bottlenecks and break away from data silos and isolated solutions.
In Oslo, data management is organised like the shared office: transparent and open to all
Rethinking office communication, establishing a future-ready infrastructure and being able to expand flexibly – that is the basis for potential in the future of work. The Norwegian architecture firm Arcasa Arkitekter, in Oslo, is an example of how an idea that is sustainable and simplifies workflows can guarantee efficiency over the years. All the staff members sit together in a large shared office in an old brick building. The challenge: giving each one simple access to all data and documents and ensuring a seamless workflow. From MS Office and CAD drafts to A3 printing and beyond. The managers of the in-house organization, Marianne Ruud and Karin Kristiansen, found a multifunctional solution for all those in the office who plan, sketch and develop technical drawings as construction templates. The workplace now functions as a smart office with a new organization and infrastructure that make bottlenecks and incompatible interfaces a thing of the past, not only when it comes to data management, but also to scanning, copying and printing. Everyone has simple access to everything that they need (and are authorised to access). This allows a mutual overview in customer meetings and wall-filling plans to provide a better summary of entire projects. On this basis, the Arcasa architects can integrate the latest developments tailored to the needs of each individual in the coming years. They don’t have to go as far as their neighbours in Sweden. There, at the start-up hub ‘Epicenter’ in Stockholm, people have an RFID chip placed under their skin that gives them access to the building, allows them to use the copiers and is used to pay for drinks at vending machines.
From Rome to the world: access everywhere to data management and centralised printing management
At the international legal firm Chiomenti Studio Legale in Rome, they have not gone as far as implanting chips either. The firm has offices in Europe, the USA and China, and the challenge for the future of work in this case lies in making data management and office communication consistent all the way to the printer. To this end, IT specialists recorded and analysed the whole company workflow. On that basis, they created a new digital archive, which allows quick and precise document access from all locations based on different criteria. In this way, the workflow can be seamlessly interlinked on three continents without compatibility problems. The continents are brought together with uniform data management and IT support.
Networked working: everyone knows where things are and how to find them
Isolated solutions are increasingly becoming symbolic of the past. Central interfaces for data exchange and uniform tools for office communication in individual groups and large communities considerably simplify everyday work. Jonathan Grudin, Principal Researcher at Microsoft, sees technological development being increasingly down to the individual in future: ‘People will create the jobs of the future, instead of just being trained for them. And technology already plays a decisive role today.’ People are still responsible for what technologies accompany them in future.