“Adoption” is one of Gartner’s most popular inquiries about digital workplace. How can you convince workers to get off their solo, on-premises ways of working and “work out loud” with cloud office tools? A new answer is emerging: the new breed of workplace analytics might render your efforts invisible if you don’t change your ways. You won’t count unless you use the new tools.
I have always been a proponent of “observable work”, where your deliverables (documents, project plans, records of calls you’ve taken, etc) are visible to others as they are being worked on. When my boss wonders if I’ve been paying attention to my writing duties he doesn’t have to ask or trust my answers. He can just open the doc and look at the history to see what I did on it yesterday, or since last week, as well as get an idea of how much seems to be left to go. He can tell which parts were written by me and which came from other team members to judge our contributions.
Right now that’s a cool new feature of cloud-based productivity tools, but what happens when it becomes the norm? Those still stuck in current ways of work (developing content alone and on your local hard drive until ready to email to everyone) will not be visible. Do they have something to hide? As a manager, why should I have to invest extra time (and feel like a nag) just to keep up on your work when everyone else on the team makes it easy?
OK, you say – but I’ve been around a long time, have a good track record, and you can see the final work products coming out at a reasonable clip. So you know I’m working and can just trust me.
But there has never been more data collected on how work gets done and I’ve never seen such interest in aggregating the metrics. The new productivity metrics go beyond merely how many documents you finish each month. They include how long a document takes to create, how many teammates you communicate with and how well connected you are, how often you help others by adding to or commenting on their work, and more. Even if your boss trusts you they will want similar metrics across the team. And what about when your boss’s boss looks at the dashboard and you stand out with low scores?
We’re not at that point yet, but I can sense it on the horizon. “Driving adoption” may not be as difficult in a future where using new collaborative, cloud-based tools is the only way to be a visible part of the workforce.
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