Asia Pacific, Singapore, 26 September 2017 – The changing face of Asia’s workforce has resulted in a need for organizations to foster a new culture of work to achieve digital transformation success, a Microsoft Study has concluded. In fact, 67% polled felt that more can be done by their organizations to invest in culture development.
The Study found the following factors influencing the culture of work in Asia today:
1. Increasingly mobile workforce and exposure to new security risks: The rise of mobility and proliferation of mobile and cloud technologies have resulted in individuals working across multiple locations and devices. In fact, the Study found that only 29% of respondents are spending all of their work hours in the office, and three quarters of respondents are working off personal smartphones. The latter raises new security challenges for organizations.
2. The rise of diverse teams: The Study found that 36% of workers in Asia are already working in more than 10 teams at any one point in time. This makes the availability of real-time insights and collaboration tools crucial to get work done.
3. Gaps in employees’ digital skills even as leaders are in the motion of embracing digital transformation: As the bar is raised with new technologies adopted across industries, deployment is uneven. In fact, 68% of respondents feel that more can be done to bridge the digital skills gap among workers.
Said Byron Rader, General Manager, Applications & Services Group, Microsoft Asia Pacific: “The rise of digital technologies, along with a new generation of millennials entering the workforce, has brought about a need to address changing workers’ expectations, knowledge and skills, as well as the tools they use. And with more than half of the world’s millennials residing in Asia, the workplace will need to transform to adapt to the technology habits of these digital natives. In addition, due to deployment of advanced and emerging technologies, organizations need to relook at reskilling its workforce to develop creative and strategic skills for the future.”
Addressing a new culture of work for digital transformation success
Even as 80% of business leaders in the region acknowledge the need to transform into a digital business in order to succeed, people are ultimately the main drivers of digital transformation.
“People are at the heart of digital transformation. Their expectations, knowledge and skills, as well as the tools they use for work, are determining factors in the level of transformation that any organization can achieve. The challenge that they face now is how to implement new ways to foster a modern culture of work to better empower Asia’s workers, especially those at the frontline. By estimates, there are two billion firstline workers globally, and make up majority of our workforce today,” said Rader.
Today, firstline workers serve as the first point of contact between companies and the rest of the world – first to engage customers, represent brand, and see products and services in action.
To unlock the potential of employees, organizations need to address and elevate their workforce, especially firstline workers, through addressing the core values of the new culture of work:
1. Unlocking employees’ creativity
Collaboration fuels innovation through sharing of ideas and enables flexibility in how people work through a connected experience, while working seamlessly across devices. However, the Study found that majority of respondents feel restricted in the way they work today, with 63% highlighting that they needed to be physically present in office as equipment or tools used for their line of work is only available in the workplace.
2. Fuelling teamwork
By equipping all workers with a universal toolkit for collaboration, organizations offer its people choice and ownership as to how they work together and collaborate in real-time. In fact, the Study found that 41% polled highlighted that access to technology for collaboration such that they can respond in a timely manner to internal and external requests was important in their line of work.
3. Strengthening Security
Today, 72% of respondents are working on employer-issued PCs, but 75% are also working on personal smartphones, which underscores potential security risks. In fact, 63% of respondents admitted to checking personal emails on company-issued devices, and are doing so for convenience sake. Therefore, leaders need to strengthen their security not to put organization’s confidential data at risk to address the need for workers to work without barriers and without impeding productivity.
4. Bringing Simplicity
With the rise of apps, devices, services and security risks in the workplace, there is a need to streamline the IT management, break down service siloes so that disparate data can be combined and reasoned in new ways and reduce complexity. In fact, a Microsoft Asia Pacific IT leaders study found that 67% of ITDMs agreed that there is a need to reduce complexity of managing their existing IT security portfolio.
Technology is key for firstline workers to become an integral part of digital transformation success
“We believe that every worker – from the factory floor to the front desk, to the executive boardroom – can contribute to an organization’s collective endeavours. It is our view that involving firstline workers in digital transformation will drive unprecedented opportunity – for workers, the organizations that they work for, and the industries and society at large,” added Rader. “At Microsoft, we see the opportunities that can be unlocked with technology by equipping frontline workers with the right tools, such as Microsoft 365. Ultimately, digital transformation projects can only succeed if the right tools are in place for workers to leverage and maximize upon.”
Microsoft has announced the expansion of Microsoft 365, including Microsoft 365 F1, which provides purpose-built capabilities that help foster firstline culture and community, train and upskill employees, digitize business process, deliver real-time expertise, and minimize risk and cost. New intelligent search capabilities, a vision for intelligent communications centring on Microsoft Teams, and security and IT management enhancements to help customers stay secure and compliant were also introduced at Ignite:
- Microsoft 365 F1 brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to empower the more than two billion firstline workers worldwide, who serve as the first point of contact between a company and its customers, or who are directly involved in making products.
- Introducing a new vision for intelligent communications, including plans to bring Skype for Business Online capabilities into Microsoft Teams, along with cognitive and data services, making Teams the true hub for teamwork in Office 365, including persistent chat, voice and video.
- Intelligent search experiences use AI and machine learning to deliver more relevant search results everywhere you search across Microsoft 365
- Microsoft 365 is delivering improved Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) features like enhanced anti-phishing capabilities, expanded protection to SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams and integration between cloud and on premises identity threat detection capabilities.
Modernizing firstline workforce with Microsoft Cloud
For organizations still on Office 2007, end of support will happen on 11 October. Customers who are still using Office 2007 products and services are encouraged to move to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 to stay supported, and ensure uninterrupted support from Microsoft.
Rader said: “With cloud-based productivity tools being a key pick among Asia’s mobile workers to drive greater collaboration among teams, we urge organizations to take the opportunity to evaluate Microsoft 365 as an option to modernize their workforce.”
To learn more about Microsoft 365, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en/microsoft-365
 Microsoft Asia Workplace 2020 Study, conducted between February and March 2017 involving 4.175 respondents in 14 Asia markets. The 14 markets include Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. All respondents were pre-qualified as at least spending 30 hours per week in a full-time role, or spending at least 20 hours per week in a part time role.
 Microsoft Asia Pacific survey of 1,200 IT leaders across 12 markets, including Australia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 41% of respondents are working in organizations with 250 to 499 PCs; 59% work in organizations with 500 and more PCs.