Today, I’m at Gartner Digital Workplace Summit, which Gartner positions as the “Workplace Reimagined: Agile, Engaged and Empowered.” I’m here because I’m interested in hearing what they have to say about reimagining the workplace, and how what they say compares to the concept of mobile workspaces from Citrix.

The Digital Workplace

What did I learn about the Gartner concept of the ‘digital workplace’? In their keynote, Chris Howard and Susan Landry talked about how a digital business is one that blurs the digital and the physical worlds, and that this extends to the digital workplace, which factors in personal experiences to combine people, business and things.

In the digital workplace, the workforce is encouraged to make contributions to the business, using consumer-like experiences within the workforce that are people centric in their design. In the digital workplace, IT is an observer and a mediator for technology, focused on using context gathered from the workplace to make more meaningful decisions how technology is deployed and used. This is in contrast to how most IT organizations still work today, where they are usually more focused on cost savings and deploying/managing applications. In the digital workplace, IT not only deploy tools but is always observing and helping employees make a direct impact to the workplace.

This may sound like more fantasy than reality, and admittedly that is part of the design of a keynote, to pitch a vision. However I don’t think this is outside the realm of possibility. Consumerization combined with ‘Bring Your Own’ policies in the workforce have allowed employees to have more involvement and ownership in the tools that they use.

At the leading edge of technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) offers organizations tremendous potential to simplify how employees get their work done and gathering useful contextual information on how they interact with the tools the organization provides. Self-learning capabilities combined with analytics serve to allow organizations tp tweak the user experience on an ongoing basis.

There are plenty of additional examples and so upon reflection, the concept of a digital workplace is not that far-fetched. Gartner also pointed out that there is no single vendor today that can deliver all of this. To deploy this vision, organizations will need to invest in an ecosystem, ensuring that all of the pieces of this ecosystem fit well together. This will require a long term vision that points the organization in this new direction, and help guide the organization as the pieces in this ecosystem mature.

Comparing a Digital Workplace to Mobile Workspaces

So how does a ‘digital workplace’ compare to ‘mobile workspaces‘? They both focus on the improving the personal experience of the employee. Digital workplaces pushes the organization to leverage and foster employee engagement. Mobile workspaces integrate many different capabilities to empower people to work better from anywhere, helping the organization to keep pace with the changing workforce. So while Gartner may talk about ‘workplaces’ and we talk about ‘workspaces’, in reality the impact to the organization is similar, something we hint at when we state: “Redefine the modern workplace and transform your business with mobile workspaces powered by Citrix.”

Chris Witeck (@cwiteck) is a Principal Technology Strategist with Citrix Labs. Citrix Labs is an applied research organization within Citrix. You can stay engaged with the Citrix Labs team by subscribing to the Citrix Trends and Innovation LinkedIn page.  Interested in early access to Citrix Labs concept prototypes and betas? You can register here to be added to the Citrix Labs beta advisory list.