Workspace digitization – making the theory a reality

The last couple of years have seen some technology terms and tools truly come of age in the business world – enterprise mobility has continued to empower people and smartphones, tablets, apps and more have now entered the mainstream. They bring real value to businesses, to business users and even to a company’s bottom line in the shape of improved productivity, greater working flexibility and reduced costs.

But what is coming next? How do we make the shift from enterprise mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) into the fully digitized workspace? The any device, anytime, anywhere mentality that comes with today’s mobility means that companies and employees have constant access to real-time information, enabling them to collaborate more and work smarter. Cloud computing is at the heart of this empowerment, transforming the way customers interact with suppliers – consider the ways in which cloud is seeing traditional contact centers shift their models to virtual, home-based agents and self-care apps that deliver greater levels of both customer and employee satisfaction while helping companies reduce CAPEX. 

What is driving workspace digitization?

Well fundamentally there are three entwined main drivers which are seamless employee mobility, enhanced collaboration through unified communications and leverage of social media tools, and then also simplified management to meet increased requirements for compliance, security and data protection through cost-effective management solutions.

Not too long ago mobile working was largely limited to sales forces and senior executives, those who literally needed to be on the road and those whose seniority meant they received the latest technological toys. No longer. As business began to realize the benefits of enabling workers to access and do their work from anywhere, the tools, apps, secure connectivity and technologies came along to help them make the shift. The new ‘smart’ mobile devices have become ubiquitous and entered the workspace, prompting initiatives like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), while the apps are driving change in how people interact, such as social media and the multichannel contact center that gives customers service on their own terms.

The second driver is all about enhancing collaboration. Unified communications (UC), the integration of real-time communication apps like instant messaging, presence, voice, mobility features like single number reach plus audio, web and video conferencing, is one of the most powerful tools in the workplace bag today. And it is a growth area. The global UC market is forecast to be worth $75.8 billion by 2020 while UC applications grew 21 percent year over year in Q3 2014. 

The third driver that makes workspace digitization possible is the availability of simplified management tools, processes and services to provide flexibility and control whilst enabling organizations to meet specific industry verticals compliance and stringent security requirements. Shifting to Cloud lets workers who want to access their work tools and information from multiple places over multiple devices to be able to. It also increases agility and speed to deliver desktop services through increased data protection, more streamlined operations , lower up front CAPEX costs and faster time-to-value by scaling infrastructure capacity on an as-needed basis.

These three factors combine to create a perfect storm of demand for the effective digitized workspace and a service-based approach for the delivery of workspace , which compels companies to undergo that transformation process now.

Some lessons learnt when assisting customers with digitized workspace transformation

The next generation digitized workspace will still be made up of applications, data and personalization, but is now delivered as a dynamic bundle of services to any device at any time (ATAWAD).

The end-user is at the center of the workspace digitization evolution, for personal reasons as much as professional ones. Segmenting user profiles is the starting point, and business applications, both horizontal and vertical, are a cornerstone of the workspace.

Transforming the workspace is an ongoing evolution, not a one-time revolution. It is a process where a trusted relationship with a partner is critical to making the transformation a success for customers, both on the end-user side and IT manager side.

Successful transformation creates business value within the company as well as with customers and partners, hence the need to involve an organization’s management, finance, HR, legal and facility management departments in the planning and implementation of the new digitized workspace evolving environment. Buy-in from all business units is vital to succeeding.

Adopting an end-to-end project methodology is a key success factor as well; this helps ensure employee adoption. The first step is to identify the needs and desired outcomes, considering both flexibility versus cost control, compliance and security requirements; then define the solution, hold a proof-of-concept before starting the build, transition and transformation phase. Then finally create incentives to ensure adoption and benefits realization and run a lifecycle management program to keep on adapting to new requirements and leveraging continued innovation.

The digitization of the workspace can be very much a reality now, but it does need the right expertise be successful. Begin with the right philosophy, understand that the right approach will deliver the intended benefits, and you can look forward to revolutionizing the way your organization operates.

Eric Haissaguerre

Eric Haïssaguerre is General Manager of Greater China for Orange Business and is responsible for leading the expansion of Orange’s digital transformation vision into key markets of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Eric has over 20 years’ experience in Asia-Pacific and his remit has notably covered professional, integration and managed services for complex network, security, unified communications, cloud, IT infrastructure management, and vertical-specific M2M solutions.

Today, through injecting global innovation and delivering flexible ICT services & solutions, Eric focuses on helping customers fully optimize their IT environment and guarantee a successful and sustainable digital transformation.