Context is king: accelerating productivity through context

1Executive Summary

CEOs are hoping for another boost in business productivity, but they can’t expect people to work much more, and their employees are already performing in less-structured and more cognitive ways that aren’t labor-intensive in a traditional sense.

The answer will come from helping knowledge workers get more done by exploiting context. We’ll need tools that anticipate our intentions and fetch information on our behalf based on the work context at hand, without us even having to ask for it.

This report is intended for anyone concerned with increasing productivity and the promising design patterns that are already emerging in today’s rapidly changing computing marketplace toward that end, as well as for IT leaders trying to meet the productivity demands of today’s economy.

Key findings:

  • File sync-and-share is the core of today’s way of work. The virtual distributed file system implemented by file sync-and-share systems has become the core of how we get work done today. New ways to dynamically and flexibly access files that we need based on what we are doing are likely to be major contributors to future productivity gains.
  • Work graph. All workers can be thought of as being nodes in a network of other people and the information resources they create and share to get work done. Our work graphs are fluid and constantly changing, but most of our tools operate as if they are fixed, which is a powerful barrier to getting things done.
  • Context trumps structure. Better tools will come from discerning our intentions and drawing relevant information into context automatically instead of relying only on fixed information structures.
  • Fine-grained and tighter context. We will see the adoption of new patterns of user experience in our tools based on narrowing context and relying on finer-grained conventions of exposing and sharing information. This will have a large impact in all areas, including web publishing, collaboration tools, and mobile search.

Thumbnail image courtesy of anyaberkut/Thinkstock

Relevant Analyst
Stowe Boyd

Stowe Boyd

Lead analyst Gigaom Research

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