Karl Redenbach, LiveTiles CEO

Karl Redenbach experienced the frustrations that lack of information access can cause early on in his career while working as a corporate lawyer and legal counsel in Australia.

Redenbach co-founded LiveTiles, a digital workplace software startup, in 2014 in part as a response to that frustration and to the complexity and multiplicity of workplace technologies. As well as his time as a lawyer, Redenbach’s career includes nearly 14 years with global technology consultancy nSynergy where he was CEO and co-founder. “Having worked in the corporate space, you start to understand the pain points,” he said.

Making the Complex Simple

As LiveTiles CEO, Redenbach stresses the importance of user adoption and engagement with workplace technologies. “How do we make the complex simple and how do we make people’s lives easier at work?” 

The key, he argues, is providing information, which is live and relevant to each individual employee and highly personalized to their daily work. “It’s not just one system fits all, we think a digital workplace for everyone serves no one.”

Redenbach will be speaking at CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group's Digital Workplace Experience taking place June 19 through 21 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. He will be in conversation with Digital Workplace Group Founder and CEO Paul Miller on June 21.

We caught up with Redenbach to hear his advice on what to include in digital workplace strategies, what business can learn from the education sector and how augmented reality may change how we all work.

Let Business Control the Experience

CMSWire: In your opinion, in today’s digital workplace market, what’s being done well and which areas still need to be addressed or improved on and why?

Redenbach: Moving to the cloud has been a fantastic change and it’s great to see so many cloud applications evolve and address bespoke problems. What’s not great is the complexity around how many applications there are.

With the explosion of workplace applications, there’s no easy way to collaborate, particularly if you’re using multiple applications — for example, customers might be using Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive and SharePoint just to save documents. LiveTiles helps customers present these diffracted systems and information in a cohesive way.

CMSWire: What do organizations tend to forget to include in their digital workplace strategies and why?

Redenbach: People. People. People. It’s not that organizations aren’t engaging and interviewing their people — they are. However, the technology they ultimately put in the hands of users still doesn’t allow users the freedom to create, refine and control “their” digital workplace to whatever they need … and this is where people’s needs are being missed.

Our experience with apps and technology outside of work has driven this need, and enterprise has still not caught up yet. Technology has historically been highly functional, but highly unusable.

CMSWire: What can such companies do to ensure they cast their digital workplace net wide enough?

Redenbach: If organizations are merely replacing old technology with new technology that still doesn’t address the needs of a modern worker, employees simply find ways to work around it.

So our learnings and advice for organizations who are genuinely trying to digitally transform their business is to find technology which empowers the user, within reason, to control the destiny of their digital workplace without needing a lot of money, without needing development skills and without needing to have to go back to IT every time they want a change.

This is where transformation begins. IT provides the capability, and the business controls the experience they desire for their teams.

CMSWire: As well as providing business software, LiveTiles also serves the K-12 education sector. What can businesses and schools learn from each other?

Redenbach: One of the clear observations is the intolerance for complexity. Students want simplicity, they want their information in one screen/app, a single pane of glass. And students move on very quickly from technology if it stops providing value or gets superseded. So providing a common learning platform that allows them to evolve their experience as their needs and desires changes is essential.

As part of our corporate social efforts, we constantly go out to schools in disadvantaged areas and run Design Thinking sessions to help bring out the creative ideas within students’ minds that the school systems typically don’t bring out. It’s amazing watching and listening to children come up with practical ideas on how to improve real day-to-day problems in their lives, and then designing the solution to it.

CMSWire: As you look ahead to a future of work which will likely involve much more use of AI and robots, how will humans need to adapt?

Redenbach: The digital workplace experience of the future will be completely different to the way it is today, and not just around AI, but also augmented reality and the way you typically interact with devices.

In the near future, there may not be mobile phones or laptops — information may be directly presented to you using AR without the need for devices. Technologies like HoloLens and Magic Leap will give us the capability to do that without hardware. We see AI completely revolutionizing the way workforces interact with their workflows on a day-to-day basis. 

CMSWire: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Do you still have that same ambition or have you already realized that goal?

Redenbach: When I was a kid I wanted to be a musician — it was a big passion of mine. One of the great things about being a musician is it’s a very creative art. At LiveTiles, we’re doing things in a creative way. I learned many of these creative concepts and approaches through music.

At my 40th birthday, I was fortunate enough to play with Tone Loc, so I still manage to experiment with music, and I feel LiveTiles allows me to continually express my creativity in a unique way. 

Editor's note: Learn more about the Digital Workplace Experience hereRegister today.