Digital technology has already significantly transformed our personal lives and the way we work. This is not only apparent in the physical office layout, but also in the structures and processes that enable us to go about our day to day work.
From hot desks to tablets, remote working to file sharing; structured teams to social networks, these changes stem from the advances being made in digital technology. Cloud, big data, mobile and social media are driving business changes within organisations around the world.
As these technology trends come together a more connected, more informed and empowered workforce is enabling a transformation in how companies deliver services and support their customers.
A true digital workplace can be a competitive asset to an organisation if implemented properly, helping to attract, engage and empower the best talent and giving them the freedom to succeed in a rapidly changing business environment. The right tools and technologies can enable employees to work more effectively and bring greater value to customers.
But, the workforce is changing. Today’s workers are technologically savvy, baby boomers are working longer and millennials are starting to enter the workplace. Our needs as employees are becoming more diverse and our reliance on digital technology is getting greater.
A digital workplace can help workers collaborate to reduce the time to create new products, or share insights on work processes to increase productivity or customer satisfaction. How can you tell if your workplace is already on the path to being digital and what should enterprises be doing now to prepare for a digital workforce?
It’s important to remember technology and people are closely connected, so aligning technology with a change to a more open, sharing culture is especially important. A digital workplace is one where technology adapts to employees way of working, not the other way round.
Smartphones, tablets and mobile devices are now seen as common place within any organisation and have given rise to a new flexible worker - this isn’t set to change. Over recent years we have also seen a myriad of applications being brought into the workplace. From file sharing to data analytic apps, the options that are available to employees and the CTO is seemingly never ending.
Avanade’s recommendation is to develop a clear strategy that identifies the key workforces in your organisation and the data, discussions and applications they need to perform their work goals, and the benefits of enabling new ways of working with digital technologies.
This approach helps companies implement digital workplace platforms that can bring about new ways of working to corporate cultures.
At Avanade, empowered, remote working has always been in effect. Technology can make time in the office more effective, but the true sign that you are in a digital workplace is when location becomes unimportant.
Digital technology isn’t designed to make us do more work or clock longer hours - it is about breaking down the traditional boundaries around the office and creating a level of choice that allows us to work in a way that best suits ourselves, our teams and our departments.
Doing so can create an engaged workforce who are constantly reinventing how work is done, to deliver better services and value for customers.
A Workplace Founded in Culture
There is no single hard and fast approach to building a digital workplace, but there are principles around the technology platform and deployment methods which enable each organisation to deploy and manage the right workplace for their employees.
Every workplace is different, and it is as much a cultural shift as it is a technological shift. Organisations must take into account each workforce and what any change means across all levels. It isn’t about building a fixed infrastructure but is instead about creating a technology platform and services that connect people, information, strategy, culture and industry. Specifically it is about implementing tools that fit the context, not only for now but also with thought given to the future.
Today’s workplace is not only challenging but it is changing. Employees are increasingly needing tools that they connect with and ones that can adapt to individual work streams and broader corporate environments, working in extended networks across borders. To help empower the workforce of tomorrow and achieve more, businesses must seamlessly and securely integrate and manage social, mobile, cloud and analytics within existing line of business systems to optimise business process.
The result is a workplace where companies can innovate while reducing costs and sales teams can hit higher metrics through better collaboration, flexible working, and the right insight at their fingertips to close deals.
It’s important that we harness the power of digital now to provide employees with those engaging and empowering experiences that drive and strengthen the workplace today and enable the workforce of tomorrow.
Andy Hutchins is Director of Infrastructure & Collaboration at Avanade UK.