The Cognitive Workplace Leverages IT as a Service (ITaaS)

By: Babette Ten Haken | - Leave a comment


The cognitive workplace is not futuristic fantasy. Rather, it is here today in enlightened organizations moving forward with a robust digital transformation strategy.

CIOs are re-envisioning their concept of IT infrastructure. As a result, the IT function becomes responsible for integrating an ecosystem of services, rather than just connecting devices or systems.

The IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) operational model allows IT service providers (either inside or external to an organization) to provide various IT services to an organization.

While multiple factors impact the success of the ITaaS model, two factors are critical-to-success.

  1. Whether ITaaS model will be leveraged as a fluid platform featuring a suite of cognitive services or as an ad hoc model; and
  2. Will the existing workforce be ready, willing and able to work alongside their cognitive software “coworkers”?

The challenge is for organizations with legacy business models to change their perception of IT.

Digital transformation of the workplace is a daunting task. Organizations with legacy mindset and business models tend to perceive IT as tactical order-takers and “fixers.” However, adoption of an ITaaS operational model catalyzes the IT function into an innovative role as co-architect of a dynamic, cognitive workplace.

Within Industrial Internet of Things environments (IIoT), first steps towards digital transformation involve automation of repetitive tasks on both the business and manufacturing side. Particularly in industrial and manufacturing environments, artificially intelligent (AI) software is important in automating repetitive tasks where there is a high risk of end user error in data entry.

In addition, this cognitive software is critical when manufacturing environments are risky, affecting employee safety. Finally, these services allow integration of operational data to execute a more ubiquitous predictive maintenance strategy across all assets.

Evaluate the benefit of ITaaS platforms, versus plug-and-play services, within the cognitive workplace.

Several years ago, I was interviewed at an innovation meeting about next steps for the cognitive workplace. My advice: organizations offering suites of services operating on a core platform provide a more robust, yet flexible, advantage for digital transformation.

Consequently, the IBM Services Platform with Watson offers just such a strong platform-based suite of services plus internal consultancy and technical support networks. As a result, this IT Platform as a Service solution creates a compatible interface for a variety of IT service provider solutions. The goal is for these solutions to become compatible, fluid and accessible across all end user interfaces.

Digital transformation success leverages the strategic CIO selection of a uniform ITaaS platform, like IBM Watson. If IT continues to function in an order-taker / fixers capacity, digital transformation can be stalled. Procuring ad hoc applications in response to machine failure, or line of business unit analytics needs, creates potential infrastructure incompatibilities down the road.

With the selection of a cognitive platform-as-a-service, the CIO becomes architect of the cognitive workplace.

When cognitive platforms become daily co-workers of the human workforce, the nature of the workplace evolves. This hybridized, cognitive workplace provides new challenges for not only human capital strategy but technical workforce hiring strategy, as well.

First, the majority of the current IIoT workforce may not have been hired based on their critical thinking skills. Then, when cognitive operational platforms assume manual tasks, the workforce skews towards knowledge workers.

As a result, the cognitive workplace leverages the CIO working alongside human capital and HR leaders. Their mission is to retool existing workers and recalibrate existing hiring practices. As a result, enlightened organizations view this scenario as an opportunity to create a learning culture for employees.

Consequently, as the cognitive workplace leverages agile and cognitive IT Platforms as services, human capital and HR strategy must hire employees comfortable working alongside cognitive co-workers.

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About The Author

Babette Ten Haken

Founder & President, Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC

Babette Ten Haken is a catalyst, corporate strategist and facilitator. She writes, speaks, consults and coaches about how cross-functional team collaboration revolutionizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain for customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention. Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six... Read More