Is Your Workforce Future Ready?

Not long after PowerPoint became the world’s standard presentation app in the late 1980s, a slide started appearing regularly in leadership decks everywhere. Its message conveyed a perennial truth about business: Our customers are the focus of all we do.

 Three men look at diagrams on multiple computer monitors

Then many companies had an even more profound insight: “Employees must be fully empowered to treat customers well.” Firms such as Virgin, Ritz-Carlton, Zappos and, yes, Dell are known for empowering their people to deliver top-notch customer service. How? One way is to give them the processes, tools and technologies they need to delight customers. But to outshine the competition in an ever-changing world, it’s becoming clear that employees must be future-ready, too.   

Changing workplaces and working styles

Although many employees still work in traditional offices, the proverbial walls are falling as more and more employees are either teleworking or finding that their jobs require mobility. In 2015, Gallup reported that 37 percent of workers are now telecommuting from home, up from just 9 percent 20 years ago. What’s more, IDC predicts that by 2020 mobile workers will make up nearly 75 percent of the entire U.S. workforce.

Let’s face it, the Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 workplace is going the way of the office fax machine. Dell’s own research shows that half of employees check work email or take work calls after business hours. Even for employees in offices, about a quarter of their work time is spent outside the office, either at home or somewhere else. Office space per employee is almost 60 percent less than it was just 10 years ago.

What is a future-ready workforce?

Even as workplaces and workstyles change, employees must be able to serve their customers ever-more effectively — whether those customers are external buyers of their company’s wares or internal stakeholders in the chain of added value. What counts are speed, responsiveness and agility. What’s needed is seamless anytime, anywhere access to apps, information and experts via just about any device. These are the hallmarks of future-ready enterprises and customer-focused workforces.

Clearly, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for a future-ready workforce, like the desktop PC once was. At Dell, for example, we focus on five user types and their needs:

  • Desk-centric employees work at their own desks more than 50 percent of the time. They need good ergonomics and efficient space to be productive and comfortable.
  • Corridor warriors are away from their desks more than 50 percent of the time, going from meeting to meeting and working from multiple locations on the company’s grounds. They need lightweight, energy-efficient mobile devices with ergonomic keyboards and presence availability.
  • On-the-go pros spend more than 50 percent of the time away from the office, traveling and going to off-site meetings. They also need lightweight, energy-efficient mobile devices with ergonomic keyboards. Seamless connectivity with access to apps, info and experts while mobile is critical.
  • Remote workers spend at least 30 hours a week outside their company, such as at home. They need seamless connectivity and communications — especially for online meetings — as well as remote access to apps, info and experts.
  • Specialized users must have technology that works in nontraditional or extreme environments, often for mission-critical purposes. They need high-performance, ruggedized computing power, plus seamless remote access to apps, info and experts.

Cybersecurity measures are needed for all these user cases. In fact, our research shows that 70 percent of company data is unstructured — such as email, text, images and video — and it resides in many places, mostly managed by users. Dell realizes a layered, defense-in-depth approach is best, which is why we offer a full security portfolio, including managed services, that can protect without being a burden to users or IT.

Tailored user solutions for maximum productivity and collaboration

To enable future-ready workforces, Dell has a three-pronged strategy for providing user solutions that can boost productivity and collaboration while improving speed, responsiveness and agility:

  • Activity-based design offers the right combination of device, app delivery, security and management to boost the productivity of each worker type.
  • Data-centric security is woven into our entire portfolio, with a focus on protecting data wherever it goes, so it can move freely and reach people who can act on it.
  • A holistic and objective view of customer mobility needs lets us address those by applying our end-to-end portfolio of user solutions without pushing a specific solution or strategy.

With these three principles guiding our efforts to help customers build more future-ready workforces, we’re confident that tailored user solutions can help their employees excel no matter how much change the world of tomorrow might bring.

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How future-ready is your workforce? Do you have the right technology for the right workers? Find out by taking a lively, short quiz.

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About the Author: Sam Miller

Sam Z Miller serves as Vice President, Inside Sales for Dell’s North America Commercial business consisting of small and medium business commercial, public education and government customers. In this role, Sam is responsible for leading sales teams, driving a winning internal and customer culture, and operationalizing Dell’s strategy to enable growth. With 15 years of experience at Dell, Sam has a deep expertise of working closely and strategically with customers, partners and team members. His passion for his people and customers success is the foundation of the culture of his organization. With a focus on talent and experience of building world-class teams, Sam is well equipped to lead Inside Sales. In his previous role, he was Executive Director, Inside Sales for Dell’s Preferred Accounts Division and Emerging Business Division for four years. Other roles within Dell include Regional Sales Director, NAC SMB Acquisition and US Medium Business Sales for 6 years, various sales leadership roles, Account Executive within GCC and almost every inside sales role. Inspirational Leadership and talent development is a key priority for Sam and he is committed to building an inclusive and diverse multi-channel organization that puts the customer first.