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Happy birthday Workflow!

One year of insights from the future of work

By Richard McGill Murphy

One year ago this week, we launched Workflow to help business leaders understand the impact of emerging technology on how people work and how companies go to market.

Since then, we’ve published 130 in‑depth articles on various aspects of digital transformation, written by experts from inside and outside ServiceNow. Our contributors include senior technologists, analysts, tech journalists and business academics. We’ve covered a host of key trends, including organizational change, AI ethics, mobile UX design, IT consumerization, the rise of the sentient enterprise, emerging security and privacy issues, and much more.

This week, we’re launching Workflow Quarterly, a new publication that showcases original research and narrative journalism about the future of work. Workflow Quarterly is edited by my colleague, Riva Froymovich, and presented in an immersive, multimedia format. The first issue features "The business value of digital workflows,” a major article by noted IT strategy expert Thomas Davenport. Drawing on our global survey of IT executives and his interviews with business leaders worldwide, Davenport argues that effective workflow digitization can drive revenue growth, profitability and employee satisfaction.

Workflow launched at an interesting moment for the enterprise tech industry. Tech vendors have always promised to help companies outcompete their peers by making workers more productive.

Yet in the United States, Western Europe and Japan, labor productivity has been stagnant since the mid‑2000s, according to research by the McKinsey Global Institute. Productivity has remained stubbornly flat despite a cavalcade of breathlessly hyped tech trends, from the mobile and social revolutions to the Internet of Things and the rise of machine learning.

There are many competing explanations for this productivity paradox, as economists call it. One is surely that innovation often outpaces the ability of organizations to harness new tech in economically valuable ways. Another is that while smartphones, search and social media have connected the world in new ways, they haven’t always made us more productive. The opposite is often true, as I can attest from long hours spent surfing YouTube videos of performances by my favorite bands.

With global economic growth slowing, companies urgently need to solve the productivity paradox. Workflow is here to help with regular insights for business leaders, supported by rigorous reporting and great storytelling. Please subscribe to the Workflow newsletter to get our latest stories in your inbox every two weeks.

Richard McGill Murphy is the editor in chief of Workflow. A journalist and social anthropologist by background, he runs a research and publishing program at ServiceNow that studies how emerging technologies are shaping the future of work.

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