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As Connie Moore wrote here: "At a recent conference, one of the panelists made a startling comment about the future of work, which spurred me to immediately tweet the news...Cognizant information officer speaker at Appian15 says the future of work isn’t mobile, social, cloud. it’s drone, wearable & virtual."

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 07 2015, 09:45 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 10:09 AM - #Permalink
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    Another one liner with different terms for the same stuff?

    Serious, drone, wearables, cloud they are all means to an end. But if they support the work in a process, fine to me.

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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 10:33 AM - #Permalink
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    “the future of work isn’t mobile, social, cloud. it’s drone, wearable & virtual”

    I’m afraid that statement doesn’t make sense. Seems like a couple of sexy topics shoehorned into a presentation, which I guess we’ve all done.

    Will the future of work include more automation undoubtedly yes. This goes far beyond drones though. Not sure what he’s getting at with wearable (maybe IoT). Sure wearables will be necessary in some professions but not all. Virtual, if he’s thinking of computing then we are already there. If he’s thinking of the workplace then no, not 100%, there will still be a need for face to face business engagement.

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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 10:36 AM - #Permalink
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    The latter three are just physical implementation types of the first three. [shrug]

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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 11:40 AM - #Permalink
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    From a knowledge management perspective, the main thing is how to use better the knowledge of our employees and collaborators. I mean, how to know where is the knowledge, how to share it, how to grow it, in order to make our organization more competitive and efficient.

    So, which are the better tools ? Drones? Weareables? Cloud? It doesn’t matter.

    The better tool will be the one more suitable for each specific business objective. If my business is delivering stuff, maybe Drones providing information in real time would be very important, much more than a cloud based collaborative software. But what if I am in the consultancy services industry? Sharing documents and knowledge from consultants all over the world is key, so a very good cloud sharing system is more important than drones. I could continue, but you got my point :)

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 11:43 AM - #Permalink
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    First comments nailed it. Certainly wearables, drones and virtual are likely to have a big impact, especially for example in field service.

    Can we derive anything useful from the original statement? Here's a suggestion about technology investments:

    To make the original comment sensible, one must have an idea as to what "work" is. In the context it seems to mean "occupation", which is not the same thing as "action". Here's a casual def'n of work: "the purposive expenditure of effort to transform inputs into outputs". And "technology", specifically "tools", is a force-multiplier that helps us do that. Autonomous robots are just the end-case of force-multiplication. (Notice that a strict def'n of work does not include any sense of economic cost; the Soviets provided lots of examples of work where the value of outputs were less than the inputs.)

    In this context, one can slot in "wearables, drones and virtual" to see exactly how these technologies and tools will help individuals and organizations perform more work at less cost. I expect that there will be very worthwhile results; but the devil is in the details. Especially the semantic details which are the purview of business analysts. (And BPM technology is I believe the core technology around which the semantics of work are organized.) I see a lot of challenges here.

    New technology has always generated hype; blind investment based on big picture hype is likely to result in loss of capital similar to what happened in 2000. Magical thinking results in disaster.

    Only a granular analysis of work and exactly how value is created with the help of new technology will provide any hope for an investment win.

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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 11:52 AM - #Permalink
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    3 votes

    "In the first machine age, we removed the limitations of human muscle. In the second we will remove the limitations of the human mind." Erik Brynolfsson - MIT

    Work is what is called a perjorative - it is only work if it is hard or unpleasant.

    BPM is the pill to take to cure the affliction - getting rid of the mundane, boring, repetitive stuff we hate and call work.

    If our BPM is good enough, work simply ceases to exist.

    So we can play all day with our mobiles, social networks and stuff in the cloud.

    Or with our drones, our wearables and our virtual reality devices.

    None of them should be work, if we've done our BPM correctly.

    • John Morris
      more than a month ago
      @Peter, a nice rhetorical definition of "work" as a pejorative. And a lovely vision of a future filled with "play" in keeping with Prof. Brynjolfsson's techo-futurism (perhaps we will all "fish in the afternoon and criticize in the evening" as they say?). However we can make a technical distinction between work-as-pejorative and work-as-purpose-expenditure-of-effort. Play tasks which involves effort are still "work" from an engineering or BPM perspective . . . and the effort to get to this future state is still unimaginable high.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 12:17 PM - #Permalink
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    4 votes

    Wearables and drones are vey cool, but in the end, they're just sensors, more powerful versions of the cameras, GPS, and accelerometers we're all carrying around right now. (Wearables in particular will play an increasingly important part in virtually every industry, beginning with healthcare, but that's another discussion.)

    The trick, as always, will be to use the data retrieved from these sensors to drive business applications. That's where BPM will continue to be what it always has been: a soldering iron, bonding systems of record, real time business data, and process to create emergent applications, continuously sensing and responding to changing business conditions.

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    Maria Paz
    Maria Paz
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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 12:43 PM - #Permalink
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    I agree with most comments, the how is not so important.

    Yesterday it was all about mobile, social and cloud. Today is apparently all about drones, wearable and virtual. The main issue is: can these tools be integrated to processes end-to-end?

    BPM must nurture from the information that these tools provide.

    For example, if I automate a selling processthat includes the delivery of the product, a sale can be considered "completed" when a drone reports that the goods were already delivered.

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    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 01:57 PM - #Permalink
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    Sadly for 90% of the world work is, and will continue to be, "uninspiring, under appreciated and inevitable"
    • E Scott Menter
      more than a month ago
      A separate but interesting (though oft discussed) issue. All of these technologies hold the promise of reducing the amount of dull, repetitive work done by humans. But humans doing that "uninspiring" work will still need a job. The child of today's coal miner may be tomorrow's programmer, but not if the coal miner can't afford to feed and educate her kids. To quote Chaim Potok, "all beginnings are hard".
    • John Morris
      more than a month ago
      @Scott . . . "and if they aren't hard, they aren't a beginning" . . .
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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Tuesday, July 07 2015, 01:58 PM - #Permalink
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    6 votes
    The future of work for analysts will be "trend surfing"?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 08 2015, 02:52 AM - #Permalink
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    The future of work, is that there will be way less work. So, all mentioned artefacts -I would call them technology developments- and indeed depicting merely the how, are drivers for the future of work. Less work. So, we need to, no, we should already have started, to think about a new way we look at the need of having a job. Millions of people that won't have a job anymore need to be dealt with. This is no negative message, we however need to rethink our current system...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 08 2015, 04:02 AM - #Permalink
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    3 votes

    Oh dear more geek speak that misses the point. Yes such gadgets might create relevant data to add to business knowledge but it is people in the work place which use this knowledge to create the required business outcome. Business logic never has nor will ever change but of course sources of data will always be evolving as tech advances where geeks can do a good job!

    It is of concern that such comments are made as it just highlights the gap between business operations and the tech world........?

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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 08 2015, 06:42 AM - #Permalink
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    4 votes

    As this discussion has morphed into a more general exploration of work, it's worth mentioning economist David Autor again, who wrote a really great paper on the economics of automation and employment: "Polanyi's Paradox and the Shape of Employment Growth" (September 2014).

    Here's what Dr. Autor has to say:
    "A key observation of the paper is that journalists and expert commentators overstate the extent of machine substitution for human labor and ignore the strong complementarities."
    This was originally discussed on BPM.com here:

    http://bpm.com/bpm-today/in-the-forum/do-you-think-the-more-talent-you-have-the-less-process-you-need

    It's probably true that at some undefined future point humans will be working less; whether "we" will live long enough to see that is the big question. And the reason is, per Autor, that so far automation has proved to be very difficult. My prediction is that for the forseeable future there will be lots of work for business analysts, industrial engineers and M2M specialists. Oh, and lots of growth in field service too . . .

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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 08 2015, 06:57 AM - #Permalink
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    4 votes

    I think, that we are talking about the changing structure of human work . (Structure is an operative word.) All human activities can be roughly classified as: intellectual (or value-added), control (that other activities are correctly done) and administrative (for pushing the process forward and other wastes).

    Typical structure of these types of activities is 50% - 30 % - 20% .So, the question is how new technologies can

    1) eliminate administrative work which is carried out by humans

    2) minimize amount of control work which is carried out by humans

    Yes, they can: drone (e.g. remote sites inspection, unmanned vehicles transportation), wearable (e.g. permanent health control, permanent environment control), and virtual (e.g. virtual meeting room).

    Ideally, humans will be in processes mainly for intellectual activities; some control must be always done by humans.

    Thanks,

    AS

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  • Accepted Answer

    Wednesday, July 08 2015, 08:05 AM - #Permalink
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    4 votes

    There is a fine line between vision and delusion. People, on their hunt for the next big thing to talk about, cross this line several times per day.

    Funniest statement is about drones as the future of work. I was laughing about it with a friend of mine who is a successful serial entrepreneur in logistics businesses. Key outcome of the discussion - whoever talks about drone delivery as the future of delivery probably never stepped outside the Western Culture areas, where well-off people live in houses with own yards, where the drones would be able to friggin' land! Most of this Earth's population lives in highly urbanized areas (read: blocks of flats) and the urbanization trend is still here. How would anyone deliver to them via a drone? Not to mention how not everything is drone-deliverable!

    Wearables? Yes, nice, but useless massive harvesting of sensor data points just because of an existing technical ability. Who is going to put this data to a meaningful use? Big data will turn into big-pile-of-stinking-crap-inconsistent-and-immediately-obsolete-data. Not even an AI would want to touch this with a 10-ft pole.

    I agree with the rest of the crowd - this enumeration is, quality-wise, below BuzzFeed's listicles.

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