Simplifying The Future Of Work: Learning In The Cloud

Alwin Gruenwald

Four employees gathered around a digital tablet --- Image by © Neil Guegan/Image Source/CorbisThe workplace is undergoing profound change. Our economy is becoming increasingly knowledge-based, with intense pressure for rapid innovation. And for the first time in history, four generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and now Generation Z – are working side by side. How will this dynamic and diverse workforce collaborate in spite of differing ideas, values, and ways of working?

For companies to get the most from their employees, and for employees to grow in their careers, employers will need to offer innovative, flexible learning environments with multiple opportunities to contribute to the organization.

The way we work

Let’s take a quick look at four main trends shaping the workplace.

 Technology changeTechnological change. Both data stores and the number of connected devices are multiplying, taking advantage of the expanding reach of computing, mobile, cloud, and connected technologies. Together, these factors are changing the ways we live and work. For example, the number of mobile devices now outnumbers the world population, and Facebook alone boasts more than 1.9 billion active users.


Globalization. Digital technologies support a truly virtual workforce that allows global talent to work across countries, time zones, and cultures. Combine this with a growing contingent workforce and the ability to crowdsource innovation, and you have a recipe for on-demand talent. Any company can sell globally – and anyone can find the next big idea, inside or outside company walls.

Shifting demographics

Shifting demographics. People in developed nations are living longer, creating a multigenerational workplace. To remain viable over 40-, 50-, or even 60-year careers, people must stay educated, technically savvy, and healthy enough to work. How can employees hone skills, meet goals, and stay relevant over time?

Employee engagement

Employee engagement. Employees who feel involved and committed to their jobs are more likely to drive innovation, growth, and revenue. How do you keep a diverse, multigenerational workforce engaged? Employers offering opportunities for learning, career growth, and autonomy retain the strongest talent. With cloud access speeding deployment and increasing access to training, employees find new ways to stay relevant, learn, and grow.

Preparing for the future of work

At SAP, we believe that the best way to address these trends is to simplify the business, including streamlining ways for employees to build skills and stay relevant in a digital world. A continuous learning environment and effective user education allows employees to adopt new, innovative business applications as quickly as possible. The result? Increased productivity, lower costs, quicker ROI on technology investments, and increased employee satisfaction.

The foundation for this simplification is a combination of collaboration and technology. In this scenario, social business meets the connected workplace to provide user education that is:

  • Relevant, with offerings specific to employee roles and needs
  • Ongoing, with continual access to learning tools
  • Informal and social, making use of social learning and collaboration technology
  • On the job, with in-application support available whenever needed

Organizations need to combine talent, content, measurement, and knowledge networks, supported by a social platform and connected workplace – yielding a learning platform that creates connections among workers regardless of age, location, or employment status. SAP VP of user adoption Kerry Brown further describes the key components of a next-generation learning platform in this SAPPHIRE NOW video.

Want to know more?

In this compelling video, thought leader and author Tracey Wilen shares her researched-back insights on how individuals and firms can actively prepare for the future of work.

To learn more about SAP’s comprehensive learning solutions, visit us online.

Learn more about the Future of Work at SuccessConnect 2015 in Las Vegas from August 10 – 12. If you’re not at the event, join the conversation online by following #sconnect15!

About Alwin Gruenwald

As a senior director within the SAP Global Services and Support Marketing team, Alwin focuses on SAP Education, digital learning, and learning in the cloud. He is a seasoned marketing professional with comprehensive international business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing experience. Before joining SAP in 2011, Alwin held various marketing management roles at companies such as NEC and Dolby Laboratories. Alwin has a Master of Arts degree in Political Sciences from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany. He lives in the greater Munich area with his wife and two children.