Agility, adaptability, resiliency, flexibility.

Whatever you call it, almost every IT team has been thinking about the same thing these past few months: digital dexterity.

As Covid-19 vaccinations continue to roll out and many public health restrictions are lifted worldwide, organizations have some big decisions to make about the future workplaces. And while it might be instinctive to simply return to the familiar ways of doing things before remote work, the reality isn't that easy.

Thanks to the pandemic, expectations about how and where people work have permanently changed. And organizations need to change, too, in order to stay competitive and keep employees productive.

So what does that mean exactly for the future of work? How will it shape digital workplaces? What will be the impact on digital employee experience (DEX)? And how can businesses and IT adapt to the changes and challenges ahead?

During Lakeside Software's first-ever DEXterity Virtual Conference, held May 26-27, we invited thought leaders, technology partners, customers, and even our own Lakesiders to weigh in on some of these big questions, as well as offer strategies and solutions for tackling the new challenges employees and organizations face. (Missed the event? No problem. Watch the on-demand sessions here.)

The results? Here are a few of the standout highlights from the two-day virtual event.

Discover More About DEXterity 2021

Didn’t make it to this year’s event? No problem. You can still explore all the recorded sessions and discussions from our virtual conference.

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Industry Insights and Groundbreaking Research

To really understand the future of work, we first need to take a quick look at the past.

DEXterity 2021 keynote speaker Matt Cain, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, took attendees on a quick journey through the last four decades of computing — from the old command prompt days of DOS all the way to the Apple’s Siri and now to the cloud-first, software-as-a-service (SaaS) environments many organizations have adopted since the pandemic.

These evolutionary leaps and bounds not only show us where IT and workplaces have been, Cain noted, but also inform us where the future of work is likely to go:

  • More distributed workforces, especially with hybrid work, that are also more global
  • More technology-proficient, digitally dexterous employees
  • Analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation become part of the mainstream
  • Teams become more agile and interdisciplinary
  • Technology becomes smarter, more conversational (natural language)
Screen capture of Matt Cain’s DEXterity 2021 session, Eliminate Digital Friction and Enhance Digital Dexterity.

Screen capture of Matt Cain’s DEXterity 2021 session, Eliminate Digital Friction and Enhance Digital Dexterity.

However, a digital dexterity gap appears when technology outpaces employees’ ability to use it effectively. So how can IT align people and technology to build better digital workplaces and employee experiences?

The best way for organizations to survive and thrive in a post-pandemic business world is to fully embrace digital, according to fellow keynote speaker Angela Salmeron, the lead at IDC’s Future of Work practice. That means democratizing workplace technology, creating digitally “borderless” organizations, and enabling teams to drive businesses toward innovation.

“The old working practices are no longer viable in this new era,” she said in her session. “We need to reinvent the future. And, again, employee experience is simply, simply crucial.

“The world is not what it used to be. Are you ready?”

The best way to start, Salmeron stressed, is by putting employee experience first.

Screen capture from Angela Salmeron’s DEXterity 2021 session, Digital Employee Experience and the Future of Work.

Screen capture from Angela Salmeron’s DEXterity 2021 session, Digital Employee Experience and the Future of Work.

Unfortunately, there’s a significant divide within organizations when it comes to digital employee experience. Lakeside CMO Bill Hobbib revealed exclusive new 2021 research — gathered from a survey of 600 C-level execs, IT leaders, and employees around the globe — that shows nearly half of organizations don’t measure DEX. And while six out of 10 C-level and employee respondents rate DEX as average to very low, more than half of IT leaders rate it as great or superior.

With improved digital employee experience, employee respondents say they could possibly gain an average 18% boost in productivity while CEOs/CHROs estimate an average 12.1% revenue increase and an average 18.1% cost reduction. To put into perspective, Hobbib told attendees, those kinds of numbers could unlock $4 trillion in revenue if applied to the Global Fortune 500.

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Envisioning the Future of Digital Workplaces | New Research from Lakeside

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Thought Leadership on the Future of Digital Workplaces

Along with improving digital employee experience, there are a few other areas that will likely shape the future of workplaces.

During the DEXterity Virtual Conference, Lakeside welcomed bestselling author and acclaimed podcaster Gretchen Rubin to share insights about a subject she knows very well: Happiness.

More specifically, how to achieve happiness in this new world of remote work.

Screen capture of Lakeside’s Heather Bicknell, left, interviewing author and podcaster Gretchen Rubin during DEXterity 2021.

Screen capture of Lakeside’s Heather Bicknell, left, interviewing author and podcaster Gretchen Rubin during DEXterity 2021.

“Sometimes people think that it’s sort of this bonus afterthought to think about whether we’re happy,” said the author of “The Happiness Project,” “Happier at Home,” and “The Four Tendencies,” “but it helps us to be successful and focused and to play as good a role in the workplace as we can.“

And while technology can help employees work from anywhere and be more productive, that doesn’t always guarantee happiness. As hard as it may be sometimes, people need to be wary of becoming overwhelmed and trapped by the digital tools they use.

“I think that the role of technology can be such a boon, but we have to remember that technology is a good servant but a bad master. We have to think, ‘How do I stay in control of how I’m using technology — not letting my inbox become my to-do list, not feeling like I can never step away,” Rubin said. “It’s really to mindfully use these tools so they really can give us the freedom and connection and make our work smoother and easier.”

For speaker Eva Helén, CEO of EQ Inspiration, gender inequality — especially in the tech industry — can be a sensitive and sometimes intimidating subject for a mostly male audience, but it’s critical for unlocking greater collaboration and innovation within organizations.

Using a matrix of seven male prototypes, she explained how men with different experiences, perceptions, and influence can mentor and take other practical steps to be become allies and advocates for female coworkers and help build better workplaces.

 “I don’t think it’s fair that we throw all men in one bucket and say ‘This is how we’re going to solve this problem,’” Helén said. “What I want to do is be respectful that everybody starts at whatever level they’re at, and that’s perfectly fine.”

A screen capture from Marco Gianotten’s DEXterity 2021 session, Go Beyond Measuring in DEM with XLA.

A screen capture from Marco Gianotten’s DEXterity 2021 session, Go Beyond Measuring in DEM with XLA.

Organizations also need to face another reality: Traditional, technology-centric service level agreements (SLAs), which focus on processes and tangible outputs, aren’t enough anymore. Human-focused experience level agreements (XLAs) which instead focus business impact and value outcomes, are also needed to move workplaces forward, according to Marco Gianotten, founder and CEO of Giarte and XLA evangelist.

“SLAs are like watermelons. We still need them of course, but they’re too big, they’re green on the outside and red on the inside, so they don’t reflect reality in today’s world,” Gianotten explained. “We’re not against SLAs, but we need another reality — and that’s reality from the customer or user perspective.”

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Let's Get to Work | Remote Work Experience E-book

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Latest Features of Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud

Joining the digital experience revolution, however, requires the right kind of tools. And with the latest updates to Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud, a leading digital experience management (DEM) platform powered by SysTrack, organizations can find the solution they need to create better, more productive digital workplaces.

During the virtual conference, Heather Bicknell and Ben Murphy, product marketing manager and senior director of product management, respectively, unveiled the soon-to-be-released product enhancements and new features during an engaging demo session.

Heather Bicknell, left, and Ben Murphy during Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud demo.

Heather Bicknell, left, and Ben Murphy during Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud demo.

Here’s a quick rundown of what customers and partners can expect:

  • A new hub, called Assist, for more responsive and automated Level 1 help desk remediation that can also be used within the ServiceNow ITSM platform.
  • New kits for remote work and proactive support that will help IT manage workflows and optimize digital experiences through dashboards and sensors.
  • A redesigned, easier-to-use user interface to help IT users quickly access the tools and information they need.
Image of the redesigned landing page for Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud.

Image of the redesigned landing page for Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud.
 

Help Desk and Digital Workplace Planning Expertise

Committing to improving digital workplaces and experiences is one thing — making it happen is another.

To get attendees on the right track, DEXterity 2021 featured technology partner presentations with ServiceNow, Intel, and Citrix; panel discussions about Windows Virtual Desktop and general service desk optimization; and second-day sessions divided into two specially themed tracks: help desk and digital workplace planning.

Screen capture of DEXterity 2021’s WVD Paths to Success: Expert Panel featuring, clockwise from top left, Lakeside’s Mike Broadwood; Lakeside’s Ben Murphy; Rimo3’s Samit Halvadia; IGEL Technology’s Casey Cheyne; and Microsoft’s Rob Kadish.

Screen capture of DEXterity 2021’s WVD Paths to Success: Expert Panel featuring, clockwise from top left, Lakeside’s Mike Broadwood; Lakeside’s Ben Murphy; Rimo3’s Samit Halvadia; IGEL Technology’s Casey Cheyne; and Microsoft’s Rob Kadish.

In these breakout sessions, partners and Lakeside experts shared first-hand knowledge and practical advice about:

  • Providing proactive and predictive IT support
  • Network optimization and IT service efficiency
  • Using digital experience management and automation to improve the remote work experience
  • Right-sizing digital environments
  • Reducing costs and increasing value of new tools, such as Windows Virtual Desktop

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Lakeside Customers Share their Digital Dexterity Experiences

You know the trends. You’ve seen the digital tools available. You’ve heard the best practices for building better digital workplaces. But what kind of impact does all of this have on organizations in the real world?

A few of our Lakeside customers took the stage during the two-day virtual conference to answer that very question, sharing their experiences with digital dexterity and digital experience management.

Greg Dolphin, Global IT Support Manager for RELX, a multinational information and analytics company that includes LexisNexis, described his company’s journey that started with implement XLAs with the help of Lakeside’s DEM solution, and has led to a robust proactive IT support strategy and other use cases. As a result, customer feedback has been phenomenal, health score measurements are aligned with real-world experiences, and productivity has significantly improved.

William Smierciak, senior IT manager at Florida Blue, outlined the process of piloting and deploying  Lakeside’s DEM solution, and also demonstrated how it’s been an invaluable asset for remote work support. IT is able to more precisely route service tickets, cut out a lot of the guesswork, speed up triage, and has the visibility necessary to identify and even prevent home network issues without pausing productivity.

Screen capture of the Distinguished Customer Panel featuring, clockwise from top left, Ben Ward, Joe Martella, Nick Cleary, and Dan Unsworth

Screen capture of the Distinguished Customer Panel featuring, clockwise from top left, Ben Ward, Joe Martella, Nick Cleary, and Dan Unsworth

DEXterity 2021 attendees were also able to sit-in on a free-wheeling Distinguished Customer Panel discussion moderated by Ben Ward, end-user computing evangelist and senior engineer at IGEL Technologies, and featuring:

  • Joe Martella, head of Technology Services and Support at Rockefeller Capital Management
  • Nick Cleary, senior IT operations manager at BDO
  • Dan Unsworth, infrastructure engineer for the UK Department of Work and Pensions

Topics included remote work transitions, changes in digital experience standards, IT infrastructure and hardware, IT funding and ROI, expanding visibility, exploring digital tools, compliance considerations, and best practices with digital experience management.
 

Going Beyond DEXterity: Next Steps for Better Digital Workplaces

Of course, there’s plenty more sessions and discussions to be had about digital dexterity and the future of work, but that will have to wait until the next DEXterity event. (Stay tuned!)

In the meantime, organizational leaders — whether they’re C-level, HR, or IT — can continue exploring all of DEXterity 2021’s content on demand, request a custom demo of Lakeside’s Digital Experience Cloud, subscribe to the Lakeside blog, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for news on upcoming events and the latest on building better digital workplaces.

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