The growth in computing power, cloud, mobile technology and ubiquitous internet have created digital workspaces, which change the way we work forever. To get the most out of their investment, however, organizations must shift their focus onto the user experience from the technology.
A digital workspace provides users with all the apps and data they need to do their work effectively, accessible, from any device 24/7. Unified communications (UC) and the digital workspace promise enterprises increased productivity, cost savings and the benefits of a more mobile and agile workforce. They give enterprises a real opportunity to build an adaptable and flexible user-centric infrastructure.
Enterprises need to embrace the consumerization of IT, which is a key driver of change in enterprise IT today. Individual users now bring their personal mobile technology expectation levels to work with them, and it is up to enterprises to meet these demands and empower their workers to be more productive for the digital workspace to truly thrive.
“The digital workplace offers companies tremendous potential if they are strategically prepared to take advantage of interconnected trends like the consumerization of technology, digital dexterity, changing work models, information intensity and the desire to share and collaborate,” according to Gartner, which advocates eight building blocks to producing a digital workplace initiative.
These include why, what and how planning scenarios; a comprehensive roadmap that encompasses organizational change; encouraging a corporate culture of autonomy, accountability and empowerment; exploiting consumer data trends; ensuring all initiatives are designed to have a positive impact on a business-value metric; and finally ensuring employees see the enterprise as a digital enabler.
A successful user-centric digital workspace is intended to make employees more willing to collaborate, take lead roles and, most importantly, engage fully with their work – to make them more motivated and productive.
The digital vista
The first step is to create a compelling view of what the digital workplace transformation will look like, so that everyone in the enterprise has a clear understanding of the processes and benefits.
Gartner believes that the digital workplace transformation should highlight two key concepts: the value proposition of the enterprise as it changes traditional models to create a digital business, together with underscoring the importance of a strong digital workplace in achieving business goals in the digital economy.
Work is no longer limited to a 9-to-5 day at the office desk; employees want to be able to work from anywhere. This flexibility can give businesses a competitive edge, enabling them to provide a faster, more responsive service to customers and vendors.
“Thanks to brisk innovation in technology and tools, it is now more achievable than ever to create a workforce computing environment that removes obstacles for employees and fosters creativity and innovation while offering better security and managing risks,” explained David K Johnson, principal analyst serving infrastructure and operations professionals at Forrester in his report on delivering the digital workspace.
Today’s employees need to communicate instantaneously with colleagues, customers and clients in different locations and time zones.
Enterprises are increasingly demanding customized, unified and coherent workspace solutions across the business to ensure a competitive edge. This must be matched with a consistent user experience that enables users to easily move from one area of work to another. If a digital workplace is truly user-centric, it needs to deliver the functionality and information required for a user to share data, collaborate, learn new things and ultimately work smarter.
Orange Business Services helped Groupe Union-Matériaux, a leading independent distributor of building materials, to increase both productivity and user engagement by introducing a mobile workspace.
Orange developed a customized mobile workspace tablet (iPad) application with 3G connectivity that provides the 150-strong sales team with access to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. This gives them full customer management process functionality from anywhere. The users were consulted throughout the process to input into design refinements to ensure the success of the end-user experience.
“The iPad application is a key part of moving our business forward by innovatively using technology to support our people and our customers,” explained Jérôme Deschamps, IT Director, Groupe Union-Matériaux.
Creating a culture of innovation
In today’s connected world, businesses will have little choice but to become part of the digital workplace revolution, as it becomes a given and not an expectation. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials have just overtaken the majority representation in the workforce. By 2030 they will make up 75 per cent of the total.
“This growing workforce of digital natives doesn’t just want a paycheck. They want mobility within their career, flexibility with schedule and location for better work-life balance, and collaborative work environments that emphasize creativity and innovation. And ultimately, they want their work to mean something,” explained Andy Main, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP, and leads Deloitte Digital’s US practice.
The digital workspace may have many technological components and be viewed as an ongoing project as hardware and applications evolve, but to be successful it has to be people focused and driven. Enterprises that don’t listen to their employees will trip up at the first hurdle, no matter how great their technological implementations.