Organizations have been experiencing a shift from a physical workplace that houses employees during office hours to a work environment with technology that is extremely connected and always available – better known as the digital workplace.
While the idea of the digital workplace has been a trend for the past few years, it became widely adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses were forced to reimagine business processes to accommodate a disparate workforce.
So, what is a digital workplace? This blog will cover the digital workplace definition and some components of a digital workplace strategy every business needs to enable their digital transformation initiatives and provide a great user experience.
Digital Workplace Definition
Gartner defines the digital workplace as an operational tool that “enables new, more effective ways of working; raises employee engagement and agility; and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.”
Let’s take a look at the fundamental pieces of a digital workplace strategy, some examples, and what is a digital workplace transformation
Perhaps the most important investment a business could make from a technology perspective is cloud infrastructure. Cloud technology should serve as the foundation of any modern-day IT strategy, transforming the organization by enabling a simpler and more flexible workstyle.
When talking about digital technologies – the cloud in particular – distributed cloud and edge infrastructure are two fundamental components to take a look at.
Distributed cloud is a public cloud service that lets companies run public cloud infrastructure in multiple locations while still allowing management from a single specified location. With this targeted, centrally-managed distribution of public cloud services, businesses can deploy and run applications or individual components in a mix of cloud locations and environments that best meets your requirements for performance, regulatory compliance, and more.
A distributed cloud model is ideal for edge infrastructure and computing, which is where companies run servers and applications closer to where data is being created. By placing computing services closer to these locations, users benefit from faster, more reliable services and reduced latency while companies benefit from the flexibility of a hybrid cloud solution.
Collaboration tools are a key element of a digital workplace. These tools supplement an organization’s suite of digital technologies to foster an overall better employee experience.
Some examples of commonly used collaboration tools include video conferencing, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and content management platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint. Another collaboration tool that has more recently gained momentum is smart workspaces, which are high-performance collaboration platforms that use technology like the cloud, SaaS, and other innovations. Some examples include Microsoft Modern Workplace, Google Workspace, and Amazon WorkSpaces.
Many collaboration tools also enhance internal communication initiatives across an organization through built-in features and functionality like real time chat, file sharing, project tracking, and more.
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A successful digital workplace strategy goes beyond the applications, tools, and platforms in the organization and also focuses on the people who use them. This could include a broad spectrum of company stakeholders, including executive leadership, employees, customers, suppliers, partners… really anyone who interacts with the business.
A great place to start when building your digital workplace is to take a step back and identify all the user personas that exist within your business. When looking at user personas, there are some key factors you want to consider:
First are generational preferences. This is probably the most important consideration when establishing user personas. There are very unique preferences and expectations when comparing someone born in 1970 and 2000. A millennial, who grew up with technology, is going to approach work in a very different way than someone who may have adopted technology throughout their career.
The next thing to consider is your support channels and methods. With generational preferences in mind, you should take a look at what you offer today for communication channels. Does your contact strategy empower those interacting with you to their preference, or do you have a one-size-fits-all approach based on the business’s preference?
A digital workplace extends to more than just where we do our work, but also when, and how. As you create your digital workplace, you need to understand how technology can continue to support a collaborative and high production environment. Consider the users of your services and what their individual use cases are. For example, a C-Suite executive has a unique set of expectations, urgency, and applications. In comparison, a member of the sales team may be consistently traveling, relying on mobile applications to perform work on the go in between meetings.
When done correctly, a digital workplace offers a better digital experience, and thus, the customer experience and employee experience will also be improved.
Establish a Digital Workplace for Your Business
It is one thing to employ all the latest digital technologies in your organization, but this is not where your digital workplace initiative should end. It is important to take a strategic approach to establish and sustain a digital workplace to guarantee the best possible outcome.
Knowing this, it is essential for business to be driving the digital workplace to deliver the desired benefits. In other words, the direction of your organization should guide the direction of your digital workplace and all of its components. This strategy will allow you to adopt all the tools and technology you need, and none that you don’t.
You will still want to constantly evaluate emerging tools, applications, and platforms to see if they could solve a business challenge and if there’s a fit for them in your digital ecosystem. If you are unsure where to start in this endeavor and want to set up a no-obligation digital portfolio review with our team of technology experts, contact us today.