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Today’s workforce faces a rapidly changing landscape that does not promise to slow down any time soon. As digital technologies transform the way we work and live, the need for the digital workplace has become undeniable. When companies face this reality, an evolving set of workplace challenges presents itself. Fortunately, relying on an open, cognitive collaboration system to engage employees provides a path forward.

The hurdle of revolutionizing legacy systems to accommodate the digital workplace is real, as anyone close to IT knows. Yesterday’s innovations often feel irrelevant in our digital world. However, making these systems mobile and reactive, with the ability to support rapidly churning business cycles, is required. Underscoring this is the consumerization of IT, which has brought a BYO mentality with higher expectations to the work environment. Employees demand that business systems provide the same anywhere access and user-friendliness that they experience as consumers.

As requirements surrounding business tools change, so does the nature of work itself. Collaboration is shifting from email inboxes to team-based conversations. Those conversations take place in a variety of forms, and it is becoming increasingly critical that work applications can track them across devices and mediums, helping individuals glean insight easily. When employees feel supported by the systems they use, engagement increases. With that boost in employee engagement comes acceleration towards outcomes that matter for the business. If collaboration is simpler, and information access is more pervasive, an engaged work culture will growth.

The shift to digital workplaces is also marked by the rise of bots, machine learning, natural language processing, and cognitive computing. All of these represent an evolving relationship between human and machine. Today, and increasingly in the future, machines can support and augment the human experience in the workplace. This enhancement of our relationship to technology brings new opportunities to shorten the path to outcomes and help people get work done more effectively. This is what we call the digital workspace.

For organizations to move forward and support a growth mindset, they must tackle these challenges and build the workplace of the future, today! Business collaboration is not going anywhere, but tools must support the evolving nature of work and bring the power of cognitive computing to life for users.

Systems must be open and seamless, offering organizations a broad ecosystem of flexibility and choice. This leaves room for both individual preferences and specific industry-based business process improvement. It helps organizations harness collaboration tools, people, and content to accelerate outcomes that truly matter. Users are linked to vibrant ecosystems of capabilities, cultivating an environment that meets business needs and offers unexpected insight. This model makes it easy to apply the top knowledge of an organization to any pressing business need by bringing these resources into a unified conversation to enable immediate action. Perhaps best of all, it invites companies to take advantage of the rise of citizen developers, known for their disruptive innovation using low-code tools.

Fostering a growth mindset and harnessing the power of thinkers in your organization is essential. Employing an open, cognitive collaboration system that has the power to extract individual and collective insights from work applications (in a digital workspace) is the most effective way to get there.

The value of collaboration is well-proven; its benefits include increased innovation, efficiency, productivity, career eminence, faster time to market, quicker onboarding, and better business decisions. This value will not change, but collaboration platforms must evolve and expand to support users, industries, and professions in personalized, insightful ways.

Unexpected insight should be offered to users within the context of their work, adding new value to existing business structures and processes. Systems must suggest information and actions based on an individual’s work habits, without requiring another application. As a bonus, dynamic collaboration systems are proven to boost employee engagement, the key to outcomes that matter.

The Cognitive Era brings with it new potential for the human process to be supported by computing. In digital workplaces, the effects of cognitive computing will be noticeable. Every knowledge worker suffers from incessant distractions and alerts; imagine a digital workplace that filters noise out for you, bringing priorities and critical information to the forefront. There will be no end to the deluge of structured and unstructured data generated every day, so we must adopt cognitive collaboration systems that are equipped to streamline information for users.

The future of cognitive collaboration is bright, blurring lines between applications and silos. Harnessing the breadth of the digital workspace, cognitive systems learn and evolve along with the user, suggesting actions to make her more effective. The burden of mundane, repetitive tasks will be diminished, leaving the employee free to focus on critical work with teams, and big-picture thinking.

Where are you on the path to cognitive collaboration?