Top 16 Technologies for Empowered Employees
The enterprise has empowerment issues. First it was their customers; then it was their employees. The consumerization of IT has overwhelmed organizations. For a while it was manageable to deny their technology requests. By now, most companies have come to realize that employees and customers will continue to empower themselves and they can’t exert as much control as they want. To help them best prepare for the empowered road ahead, Forrester has analyzed the highest-impact empowered employee technologies by evaluating their maturity and business value.

All for One, One for All

To manage the risks that mobile, social, and cloud-based technologies introduce, Forrester has created a HERO Compact. HEROes, as you may remember, refer to highly empowered and resourceful operatives and are the backbone of the empowered employee movement.

The compact aims to help companies harness the ingenuity of empowered employees while managing the risk. It includes a few valuable mandates which should help everyone from IT to the worker bees feel included in the technology process.

With the HERO Compact:

  • All parties acknowledge both the risks and the benefits of empowerment.
  • Management implements a formal innovation process.
  • IT provides tools to manage risk and safe environments for technology experimentation.

Highly Empowered Technologies

Earlier, we reported about the trends enterprise architects need to watch out for. Among the notable trending categories were application platforms, integration, infrastructure and operations, and mobile computing. It's not surprising to see that many of the technologies listed overlap considerably. 

To help enterprise architects plan for their next decade of investments in empowered employee technologies, Forrester investigated the current state of the 16 most important technologies in the space. After examining past research, interviewing 19 experts in the field, and experimenting with early versions of products and services, Forrester used the data collected to assess four factors:

  • the current state of the technology
  • the technology’s potential impact on customers’ businesses
  • the time experts think the technology will need to reach the next stage of maturity
  • the technology’s overall trajectory — from minimal success to significant success

Among the technologies examined, the following are included:

  1. Business collaboration
  2. Client management
  3. File synching and sharing
  4. Infrastructure-as-a-service
  5. Innovation management/ideation platforms
  6. Mobile device management
  7. Platform-as-a-service
  8. Productivity
  9. Public social media
  10. Security and identity management
  11. Self-service BI
  12. Smartphones
  13. Social marketing management tools
  14. Tablets
  15. Videoconferencing
  16. Video Platforms

Each of these technologies in the report does one of three things:

  • Shifts power to the individual employee
  • Significantly enhances individual employees’ effectiveness
  • Enables individuals by managing enterprise risk

For each of the technologies, Forrester defines it, provides usage scenarios, and the estimated costs to implement it, as well as vendors in that space. Additionally, it identified five stages of the technology ecosystem, including creation, survival, growth, equilibrium, and decline and evaluated the business value added for each technology against them. 

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When put together, enterprise architects can have a better understanding of how to manage their investments over time. Once ideas have proven beneficial, IT doesn't need them to stay deployed on those lightweight platforms. By recognizing how best to integrate and manage empowered technologies, enterprise architects can take ownership of the innovation management process and can enjoy becoming empowered themselves.