Regardless of popularity, enterprise technology reaches its demise or crawls along a never ending plateau. Not great options.
But there is a way out, according to Gartner's 2018 Digital Workplace Hype Cycle. Successful organizations ride out stagnation by actively seeking out the benefits of technology.
The Hype Cycle serves as the holy grail of "innovation profiles" used to:
- Predict how organizations do work
- Which technologies they use
- Which skills need sharpening
- How workplace culture will develop
Technology's lifecycle is punctuated with highs, lows and an inevitable flat line and others with an eventual plateau. Speech recognition, enterprise social networking apps and content collaboration platforms have hit their peak and are coasting, according to the report.
Gartner's Hype Cycle highlights technologies "intended to foster team agility."
Collaborative work management, virtual assistants and use of pervasive data analytics are finding their place in the modern digital workplace. But the increase in applications and services organizations are looking to deploy also require an upskill in innovation and employee adaptation.
"Organizations need to look at tech that enable the user to be digitally dexterous," said Michael Woodbridge, research director at Gartner, in an interview with CIO Dive.
Innovation does not exist without experimentation, which means relinquishing traditional ways of working. For example, Gartner predicts design thinking will evolve into a cultural normality for the workplace. Digital ethics will be the foundational "philosophy for the humane and ethical design and deployment of digital constructs," according to the report.
Chatbots and virtual assistants will find their plateau in two to five years, according to the report. Design thinking and digital ethics will continue their "peak of inflated expectations" for another five to 10 years.
Once some of these technologies exit the peak of their inflated expectations, some enter into the phase of disillusionment and curve up to a slope enlightenment to eventually plateau.
Internal talent marketplace, a form of agile operations, is expected to wait 10 or more years before its mainstream adoption. Immersive workspaces is also hostage to a slower mainstream entry, but it has about five to 10 years to go. To that end, immersive workspaces has less than a 1% hold of its target audience.
Organizations that are slow to adapt workplace technologies are not necessarily hesitant, but "not always sure about the benefits," Woodbridge said. Gartner identified several benefits among emerging technologies and the number of years it will take to reach mainstream adoption:
Transformational benefits: Speech recognition has less than two years, personal analytics and citizen data science have between two and five years, conversational user interfaces have between five and 10 years
High benefits: Citizen developers and content collaboration platforms have less than two years, insight engines and workstream collaboration have between two and five years, data literacy and design thinking have five to 10 years, and smart badges need 10 years or more
Moderate benefits: Enterprise video content management has less than two years, citizen integrator tools and intranet as a service have two to five years, digital workspace app and embedded analytics have five to 10 more years, and peer-to-peer IT support has at least 10 more years
Cloud office, which has a 20% to 50% market penetration, has been the "catalyst for digital workplace programs," according to Woodbridge. Technologies like Microsoft's Office 365, which is the leader of the market, are often driven by infrastructure modernization.
Just behind the cloud office profile are collaboration profiles, said Woodbridge. Technologies that exhibit a longer path to mainstream use, like workstream collaboration, still are in high use. Workstream collaboration creates a comfortable type of communication that almost feels informal, but professional. They are used to organize or execute projects like application development, crisis management and logistical coordination.
Vendors who are participating in this market are Microsoft Teams, IBM's Watson Workspace and Slack, which is considered a specialist. Despite each tool's popularity in enterprises, it's maturity is still adolescent with only 1% to 5% market penetration hitting its target audience.
Many of the technologies included in the Workplace Hype Cycle this year have elements of artificial intelligence. While there are technology profiles, like cloud office, that offer a range of use cases but "most organizations do not go into those programs knowing what they're going to tackle."
"Wherever there is artificial intelligence involved, there needs to be a focus on the real outcomes of those programs," according Woodbridge.