A new term from Gartner, the new work nucleus, describes the workplace transition to new digital tools and processes, as manifested in workstream collaboration technology.
Gartner, Inc., a global leader in IT research, recently coined a term to describe what they have identified as an emerging phase of digital business: the new work nucleus (NWN). This concept sits at the junction of business needs and technological capabilities. Organizations that want to remain up to date with digital solutions for workflow processes need to understand the NWN and what it means for business as we know it. The NWN represents a shift in the core of how the modern workplace functions, from the rise of cloud-based office suites to workstream collaboration tools.
Defining the New Work Nucleus
To some extent, the concept of the new work nucleus exists as a way to draw a contrast with older notions of business tech. The “old work nucleus” was an on-premises phenomenon, with files existing in a local drive. Employees might use several disparate tools to communicate, like email, web conferencing, and IM. The typical file software was Microsoft Office. This unappealing digital landscape will look familiar to workers across a range of industries — despite innovations over the past couple of decades, this was the foundational tech setup for many teams.
Clearly, digital business has evolved. The new work nucleus draws together a number of innovations in tech that enable entirely new approaches to business work. On-premises setups have been replaced by more flexible cloud and SaaS-based services. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have been significant drivers as they streamline tasks and replace manual efforts to make the work cycle more efficient. Similarly, powerful data analytics have transformed the speed and type of insights that workers can glean from real-time or stored data.
The New Work Nucleus Offers a Unified Solution
Taken together, these innovations have enabled the new work nucleus — a comprehensive way of addressing and supporting key business needs. Gartner suggests that the specific model that best unifies these functions for organizations is workstream collaboration (WSC). In their report “The Role of Workstream Collaboration in the New Work Nucleus,” Gartner refers to WSC platforms as “the central workspace for the new work nucleus.”
Businesses that use traditional programs and apps may find themselves struggling to keep up with these disparate systems. In the era of the new work nucleus, teams can replace standalone applications with workstream collaboration tools that offer an integrated approach to communication, with highly configurable channels built on top of workflows. Businesses gain a unified and streamlined model, where the following key capabilities are integrated, automated, and SaaS-based:
- Collaborative work management: CWM is all about planning and managing tasks. Within WSC tools, this looks like a tech-enabled, automated project management functionality that can be interwoven with communicative channels.
- Content collaboration platforms: Workers often need to be able to instantaneously access and share documents. Today’s best tools provide integration with file and document management tools, allowing you to embed these materials directly into discussions and store them in a centralized location for easy reference.
- Meeting solutions: The days of scheduling long, in-person meetings to “get everyone on the same page” are over. In the new work nucleus, meetings and briefings happen over voice, video, and screen sharing. These meetings can be tied to specific task-based channels, and recordings are stored for later reference.
- Email and calendar: By centralizing the conversation within a workstream collaboration tool, email and calendar functions — which can still be useful — are visible to the team, but become secondary to real-time discussion and coordination.
Building the New Work Nucleus with Workstream Collaboration
Workstream collaboration platforms are leading the way when it comes to manifesting the concepts within the new work nucleus. These tools are bringing together workflow and communication to support a flexible solution for various types of teams. As Gartner suggests, workstream collaboration tools are best positioned to fulfill the promise of the NWN and support high-performing teams, especially in operational industries that require much more than simple document sharing and deadline setting.
Workstream collaboration tools are still evolving, especially as they continue to incorporate the new capabilities underpinning the NWN. Automation and AI bots have become increasingly sophisticated, reducing friction for all manner of work processes. Integrations are more extensive — notably, WSC tools have become a critical piece in how teams are using real-time data from IoT technologies. Content and data analytics, according to Gartner, are the least developed leg of most WSC tools, but the potential to incorporating business analytics further down the road is high.
To take full advantage of what today’s connected workplace has to offer, businesses should embrace the new work nucleus. Teams can start to make progress towards this goal by investing in workstream collaboration. As you consider this investment, Gartner has a few recommendations for how to proceed:
- Inventory your current chat and discussion channels
- Identify your primary use cases and dissect the workflow underlying those cases
- Understand what teams most urgently need collaborative capabilities
- Review your existing technologies to pinpoint gaps and overlaps
- Consider the integrations you need — data, documents, software, etc.
- Imagine how a unified workstream collaboration tool could transform your process
Today, many businesses are already well on their way to transitioning to the new work nucleus, whether they recognize it or not. The key to digital success will be to understand this transition and choose the most promising type of tool in the space today.