Why, with an exponentially more powerful “digital tool kit” of cloud, social, predictive analytics and mobile computing, do many of us still work in much the same way as 22 years ago?

What? It was when I read John Stepper’s quote, “many large companies work as if it’s still 1995: pre-Google, pre-Facebook. An over-reliance on email, meetings, and managers to find information and coordinate work”, that I realised this was something I was witnessing every day in companies I work with.

How so? I understand exactly what it means to work like it is 1995. I was there, or close enough. I started an IT-focused career back in 1998. (Obviously things weren’t changing as quickly back then as they are now, so 3 years is close enough.) As I went from desk to desk, upgrading computers in the run-up to Y2k, I observed how people were using their primary digital tool, the PC, to get work done.

Nowadays, I assist various companies, primarily in South African financial and professional services industries, making sense of Office 365. As I interact with end users, I regularly witness pretty much the same work practices today. A great example is how I still see users emailing an attached file for input and feedback, rather than sharing it directly from a cloud file share, enabling everyone to access and update the same file, simultaneously.

Can this really be the case and even if it is, is there anything wrong with it? Do we need to change and what should we, as individuals and business leaders be doing about it? Add to that the effects of a global pandemic such as COVID-19, that will surely make all of us rethink more or less everything. Will this global catastrophy be the catalyst for a wholesale, permanent change in how we work?

Join me as I unpack these questions over the course of 2020. I am specifically interested in the intersection of the physical and digital workplace and the role of digital workplace initiatives in digital transformation. I will share what I learn via a combination of online meetings and social media posts. Details to follow soon.

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