Work OS: Critical Capabilities

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What is a work OS?

A work operating system (work OS) is a cloud-based software platform where teams plan, run, and track processes, projects, and everyday work. A work OS is geared for organizations of all sizes and across all functions of the organization. The platform enables total flexibility to build and adapt to any workflow, project or process. The platform provides a User Interface that serves all users of an organization, regardless of their technical background.

What are the critical capabilities of a work OS?

A work OS includes seven critical capabilities. 

  1. Organization-Wide Use

    A work OS serves all employees in an organization; all users should be able to utilize all critical capabilities of the work OS. As such, everyone in the organization should have a work OS user. If you have a work email, you should have a user on the work OS.

  2. Building Blocks

    A work OS is built of functional building blocks that  enable users to compose workflows and capture, present, and manage data, and even become the Work OS User Interface (UI) itself. A best-in-class work OS will allow users to build their own building blocks and have most of the platform itself built from those building blocks. A work OS user can break apart and reassemble any workflow or application offered on the work OS.

  3. Structured Data Store

    Unlike traditional databases that require specialized administration skills and permissions, the work OS’s database structure is decentralized. Anyone can create their own database and give anyone else permissions to update, and manipulate its structure and data.  The goal is capture, analyze and track all work-related data and assets in an organization by democratizing database creation. These databases are free to be used by anyone and are shared across teams.  A basic ability of a work OS is to capture any kind of data in an easy way, both from humans and other tools, or by automations, making data capturing complete and digestible. The data has to be consumed as-is by the work OS’s users or through its building blocks.  All work OS’s should allow all data to be accessible through an open API,  while some also provide access through an integration platform.

  4. Integration of data & apps

    A work OS is handicapped if not all its users are able to connect their external data sources and apps they use into a unified workspace. A good work OS should allow multiple ways to achieve this, from solid API capabilities to easy integrations anyone can use. Some use no-code external platforms to achieve this, while others provide a suite of simple-to-use integrations capabilities. Integrations allow users to continue using their favorite tools while centralizing all work into one shared workspace.

  5. Workflow Automation

    work OS’s allow automation of any of their operations.  The goal is that any work OS action that a human can perform on the work OS can be automated. Automations remove human error where possible to allow for seamless execution of predictable, repetitive things. Automations are done not only inside the Work OS but also throughout external apps that are connected to the work OS. Automations create trust that things will happen and make any team move faster.

  6. Data Visualisation & Analytics

    A work OS allows for any data on the system to be digested and displayed in various ways for tracking and extracting insights. Any users who have access to the work OS and permissions to the specific data source can create their own reports and visualization methods on the system. Some work OS’s go as far as to allow manipulation of the raw data inside the visualisations they offer. Visualisations, such as dashboards and reports, become a smart operational tool. A work OS’s dashboards and reports become a single source of truth for data-driven decision making.

  7. Permissions & Governance

    A work OS includes a facility for governance in a centralized administrative function. This includes governance over who can view, update, and enter data as well as who can integrate and automate work. This allows teams to work in their own way through the work OS while maintaining adherence and compliance to the standard operating procedures of their organization.  The dynamic ability of the work OS to ensure controlled autonomy makes sure that all teams are governed by the standards of their organization and are unified in their efforts. This makes a work OS appealing for organizations of all sizes.

What are the additional features that a work OS might offer?

Some work OS offer additional functionalities and features. These include:

Tracking Progress

A work OS provides transparency into work progress for every employee and every team in the context of the work unit (projects, initiatives, processes). As such, managers can keep track of everyone’s work, thus ensuring alignment.

Communication

While a work OS doesn’t necessarily provide standalone communication channels, it does provide messaging within the context of a work task.  3rd-party communication tools (video, messaging, shared documents, and email) should be seamlessly integrated to add additional context.

Additionally, by creating structure and workflows using the building blocks of the work OS, teams create a shared operational language that simplifies work communication. For instance, status updates are clearly indicated through a shared building block –  making any additional communication redundant.

For more information on work OS offerings and background, click here.

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