The knowledge worker of the future will not only work for multiple employers throughout their career (the traditional vertical ascent of employment), but more of us will freelance across projects with different teams and employers (horizontal employment).
This emerging standard will see casual employment arrangements spike to accommodate a ‘just in time’ model designed to bring efficiencies to all industries.
Just as knowledge workers will become distributed, the digital tools being used to accommodate this shift in work will also become distributed. The rising abundance of SaaS applications (hosted Intranet, CRM, Finance & Payroll and more) is an acknowledgement to the streamlining of processes, which allow people to work indiscriminately from one corporate firewall to another.
Organizations are increasingly evolving their collection of these interconnected cloud apps to assist with the decoupling of corporate structures so they may access the best talent possible. As this landscape becomes more prevalent, knowledge based organizations both large and small that are not equipped with these digital tools will witness a shift in their ability to innovate and compete for both work and talent.
Common digital workplace tools like Intranet software, document and customer relationship management and conversation apps like Slack will increasingly become more distributed in their design and operation to allow organizations to accommodate increasingly dispersed teams. As the process of work becomes mobile-first, the tipping point will be reached when knowledge workers are able to both consume and create work on their mobile device. The calls for "why do we need an Intranet" will transform to discussions concerning how we capture knowledge from the army of free agents that we’ve onboarded through the collection of third party SaaS apps that we don't own.
While there are staunch supporters engrained with technology stacks like SharePoint, there is lively discussion on the search for intranet alternatives and even these people are realizing that work-as-a-service is going to be largely defined through the sharing of knowledge. This increase in work innovation will ultimately shape the future of work.