The Future of Enterprise:
A Multi-Screen World

Arlette Atwood with iPad
Arlette Watwood showcases her iPad outside her office at Cenovus Energy.

Once every 30 years or so, enterprise technology goes through what can only really be described as a perfect storm of innovation. The last time this happened, when the clouds cleared, we were left with the giants of today, like Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Also left in its wake, were a handful of massive new industries. Perhaps most notably, the business of computer security software.

The winds of change are blowing once again, and in an attempt to inform and prepare companies for the inevitable disruption that will shape the way we work moving forward, I will examine eight massive changes that are on the horizon. This is the first in an eight part series examining the changes that will transform the landscape of enterprise as we know it over the next five years.

What’s Changing?

The days of a digital channel limited to a web browser and an inbox are long gone. Today, employees move seamlessly from their mobile devices, to their computers and tablets. As a result, they expect their work systems to move with them as they engage with a variety of devices in different contexts and settings. Day-to-day operations often depend on this in fact.

Mobile phones are forecast to overtake computers as the most common web browsing device by next year and tablets are set to overtake notebooks by 2016 as the most popular PC. Driven by a drop in costs and a rise in features, it’s easy to understand why. Tablets have been one of the big drivers for growth in mobile in the last couple of years, and the latest figures indicate this trend will continue to gain in momentum.

A Day At The Office...

In order to allow their business and their people to shine, organizations are amending digital strategies in the workplace to suit multiple platforms — the user experience on mobile phones, laptops and tablets now being consistently considered.

As second and third screens become a reality of the workplace, the piece of hardware we know as the computer mouse will inevitably become obsolete. Touch and gesture interfaces are changing how we interact with software, and its opening up new possibilities to provide far richer learning experiences and employee engagement.

Corporate training, “Town Hall” facilitations and even everyday “paper pushing” tasks will look drastically different as employees are able to be more interactive; both with each other and their devices.

An Early Adopter

Cenovus Energy is a company that prides itself on being an innovation leader. Seeing the possibilities in multi-screen operations, their Manager of Learning Solutions, Arlette Watwood, is looking to shake up the way classroom training is conducted within the organization. ”Learning through others and interacting through social learning is a key objective”.

Watwood and her team envision the use of tablets by both course facilitators and those in attendance to facilitate in-class interactions and feedback. ¬†Her main focus is allow class attendees provide real time feedback during the class through a mobile device’s web browser instead of filling out paper feedback forms at the end of the class. “A huge priority is managing the quality of facilitators. Quality assurance is very important and ensuring that facilitators are delivering not only a quality message, but consistent message is paramount,” she says. Management of the courses, and the entire class experience are also handled entirely on a mobile device.

Watwood’s ultimate goal is to increase the awareness around student feedback, lower operating costs and, as a bonus, keep Cenovus moving forward and leading its field in all endeavours. Baby boomers drove companies with their values, just like today millennials are driving companies (that will listen) and are shaping their workplaces. Companies need to be on board or else they will be stuck flat footed. “We have to be the company that this generation looks at as being innovative and one that keeps up with innovative, great technology.”