An article published in the just-released March/April 2016 issue of FMJ Magazine entitled “The Dawn of the Digital Workplace,” by Nancy Johnson Sanquist, is a visionary view into the near term integration of technologies across the buildings value chain. The story brings the Digital Workplace trend to life and shows us all the possibilities of many technologies working together to improve the engagement and productivity of every worker and the opportunity for organizations to realize new efficiencies.
I have had the pleasure of working with Nancy Johnson Sanquist since Trimble’s acquisition of Manhattan in 2014. Together we have marveled at the incredible window of time we are working in to see the dreams of tech interoperability realized.
Our industry has witnessed hundreds of technologies come and go over the years – each born out of the passion of someone seeking to solve a problem for someone. Some have been very unique to serve a specific niche and others have been more flexible to serve broad challenges experienced by many. Some technologies have thrived and many have withered, either never gaining traction or simply superseded by progress. Most recently we have seen consolidation as visions have emerged to drive interoperability, saving us the pain of entering data over and over, or having to convert files, or just to have one application leverage the data and intelligence of another.
Today I find myself working with easily a dozen technologies on any given day. They are not all fully integrated, but in many cases, I at least do not need to ‘sign in’ over and over. In social, professional and media websites, I don’t even need to painstakingly fill out a registration form. I simply click a button to give permission to share my already public profile from LinkedIn or Facebook and I am off to the races, not even needing to create yet another impossible-to-remember password.
I am finding that the tools I use in my day to day work are becoming a very personalized ‘Digital Workplace,’ somewhat of my own design. I am able to combine the corporate applications I use with the more individualized apps that i use specific to my own job function. The more I think about my own struggles, the more empathy I have for the IT teams trying to grapple with how to provide the right technologies to each role or persona in their organization.
I say I have empathy for IT teams trying to assemble technologies, but I am similarly concerned for the industry relying on IT teams to come through. I find IT teams very good at helping us hold standards, security, reliability and helping us scale a solution to many users, but IT cannot be successful alone. Our FM teams, RE Teams, Design and Construction teams need to engage IT in a productive and collaborative way. Further, in light of the focus on TCO and the new lease accounting standards from FASB and IASB, our finance and accounting teams have an interest in this technology stack. Finally, considering that we are pursuing a personalized digital workplace, tuned to the roles within the organization, we need our friends in HR as well.
This is becoming a large collaboration in order to define the future, but who on the team is well versed in the array of technologies solving problems for specific roles? Who is the real estate, facilities, design and construction technologist to be trusted? Your team, seeking the promise of efficiencies from the digital workplace, is needing as much insight and experience as possible, without having to derail your career. (Unless you really want to and then we should talk more :))
Myself and Nancy, along with some of our Trimble team members and partners, will be providing an opportunity to experience an array of technologies working together in this digital workplace at the upcoming IFMA Facility Fusion event in Indianapolis April 12-14, as well as at Facility Fusion Canada in Montreal May 4-5. This ‘Building Digital Workplace Innovation Workshop’ is a fun, interactive and fast paced immersion into technologies that will transform the way we work. Our Trimble Buildings team is over 1,500 people strong, not including all of our partners, 100% dedicated to bring you the tools and technology of the Building Digital Workplace.