Modern Digital Workplace
Updated: Apr 8, 2019
Ok, we are now digitally enabled, what do we do with it? For years, firms have been inundated about how the need to "transform" their paper-based business practices to digital formats. Just getting the paper-based business documentation into a digital format and storing it digitally was a major change in how many businesses operated, workflows had to be automated, filing strategies had to be replicated and search capabilities had to be optimized. Many companies transitioned shared drives to their networks or used "cloud-based" storage applications to store, retrieve and organize our content, files, documents, and records. Firms have access to their business data and content on any device, 24 X 7 and almost everywhere in across the globe improving our productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness in providing core business operations and services. This was change first in the line of many foundational paradigm shifts that are impacting how business is being conducted in the marketplace today. Innovative improvements in security and compliance have created an EcoSystem to secure even the most confidential materials, often better then firms could afford to provide themselves. This change was painful for many, costly for all, but the transition from a paper-based business model to a "digitally enabled file cabinets" is complete or still inflight for many businesses.
Ok, now what? The next paradigm shift will shake our foundational business bedrock. Companies who are digitally transformed now shift to a more fundamental challenge, "how do we continue doing business leveraging the significant investments made in enabling the "digital file cabinets"?
We now enter the digitally-enabled Workplace. Simply put, "A digital workplace is a physical business location or virtual location where a firm has access to digitally enabled tools to conduct business." A portal or digital business location where access to applications, email, data, content, documents, files can be found and used to conduct business.
How does know when they need to make the journey to a "Digital Workplace"? First, listen to the "voice of the business", understand the requirements and needs of how business is done. Too many times firms forget that hearing is the physical vibration of the inner ear, in contrast, listening is the how we interpret and act upon what we hear. My colleagues and I have observed corporations offering a "digital enabling tool" without ever asking the business if they need it or let alone wanted it. Understanding the nature of the business, keeping a competitive edge in the marketplace should always be at the forefront of every change.
Second, find ways to apply digital technologies that are innovative new ways to do business, solving problems not create new ones. With recent advancement in desktop, tablet, and phone applications firms have the flexibility to construct, contribute, edit, approve and digitally sign content, files, documents and data in new ways. This is a culture shift implying new skills and learning on how to conduct business have to be obtained or intuitively learned on the job. Without this low adoption rates or complete abandonment by the business becomes the norm.
Third, establish the guardrails and boundaries on how the business is to operate in this new digitally enabled EcoSystem. My colleagues and I have been called to "rein in" digitally enabled tool deployments which have been permitted to "organically" grow to become a staple for social communication in a firm without ownership, support or governance. Establishing the governance, first before enabling the tools lays the groundwork for ownership, administration, and support. Empowerment of the business using the intelligence of the technology to create a "Trusted" ecosystem is the ultimate goal of a digital workplace.
Fourth, the culture shift required is not something that can be done overnight. Everyone has to be onboard, understand the reason this change is happening, clearly see the advantage of the change. Or adoption will fail before it even gets started. Appling proactive change management every step of the way is more than critical, it is vital to achieving the goals of adoption. Success is not measured by the digital tools being enabled, but by how the business adopts the changes they bring.
We have talked about where we have been and what we have successfully transformed from in our digital transitional journey. Now we take the next quantum shift and leap where we transition how we do business in a Digital Workplace. The digital applications and tools are enablers, not driving the transformation, but provide new channels and avenues to be explored along the journey. The journey requires firms to understand change, embrace change and leverage change to grow and remain competitive in the marketplace.
This is the first in upcoming blogs on the topics of Digital Workplace and Digitial Workspaces. Please use our :Book Online feature at the top of this page to schedule a time to talk with us. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this applies to your circumstances in your organization.