How to implement ‘Digital Workplace’?
By.Yun Chen, University of Salford
In our previous post, we discussed the Digital workplace. This post goes into more detail about digital workplace solutions and how you might go about implementing it. There is no one-fit-all solution for the digital workplace – every organisation is different of course. However, there are three fundamental steps organisations should take into consideration into their strategical plan of digital workplace implementation: Understand Business Requirements to identify the gap to achieve desired business value; Design Digital Workplace in terms of technology/infrastructure and security, then Set up Deployment Strategy to manage change and transition.
Understand Business Requirements.
First step, to understand business requirements. A business analysis is required on current business. Use SWOT! Many questions can be reviewed in the analysis process. E.g. How digitally mature your organisation is? And where do you want to reach? What are the gaps in information processes and tools? Does your existing IT system have any issues, e.g. information overloaded, unclear communication between departments? (Sometimes, functional units in one organisation seem to work on their own systems and databases, so it is difficult for them to see the entire picture and hence to coordinate their efforts.); What are pain points employees are struggling with? Have they been introduced to too many IT systems but without thinking about changing the business process? (Sometimes employees struggle with finding answers to most basic questions because of the introduction of all these new tools.)
You can use a crowdsourcing process, also a primary data collection and analysis process if you like, because you need to talk to the people affected to validate your assumptions and check whether there’s anything you’re missing. Digital workplace transformation should be a transparent process from the beginning. The more transparent the process, the less information you will miss. Do not forget, people are the centre in any digital workplace.
Design Digital Workplace – digital workplace solutions
After you understand the business requirements, you need to conduct a horizon scan to understand what are technology products or services available in the market which can help with digital workplace construction. A proper and advanced technology platform can help you focus on strategy while managing tactical processes. But a wrong platform can stall your business! You need to consider the design from both software and hardware point of view. As what we mentioned in “What exactly does Digital Workplace mean to organisation?”, AI/RPA techs for automation, sensors to make smart buildings, and software platforms for mobility, communication and collaboration with data/privacy protection functions.
Remember to deploy simply and intuitive technology. It is actually much harder to make something simple with elegant solutions, as Jobs said. Think, what makes something intuitive? Take advantage of what people already know and support the way people normally work.
Last but not least, security is key in digital workplace design. It is not just about a robust security protection system, e.g. set up different levels of access authority, protocol control when your organisation needs to collaborate with people outside your company; apply authentication mechanism etc. It also refers to a robust security awareness programme. More than 50% of data breaches are caused by user behaviours rather than any technical attack. So, how can the organisation can provide the flexibility of collaboration, but in the meantime build and maintain a robust security awareness programme? It is challenging to be honest, because you do not really want to set up policies that are too restrictive to hinder employees’ collaboration and productivity, but essential. Building the culture of security will be the single biggest factor in securing the business in digital workplace. The earlier you involved the people in the process, the easier to build this desired culture.
Set up a deployment Strategy
So you have completed the design of Digital Workplace and your digital workplace solutions. The last step – how to deploy it and manage the change and transition? As what we mentioned in “What exactly does Digital Workplace mean to organisation?, Digital Workplace is a transformation process and will definitely bring disruption to the organisation. People has different levels of resistant to change. Involving people who are affected as early as possible, via workshops, trainings and information communications. e.g. start to tell people what will change, when and how it will affect their work and be positive!
In addition, this process should be a continuing and agile process. Provide opportunities for people to provide feedback and then use the feedback into the design. Also, provide flexible and comprehensive support and training in the process, taking audience’s confidence level of technology and digital literacy into consideration, using different levels of learning materials and through different channels people familiar with. People like BYOD/BYOA, are you able to support it too, without harming IT compatibility and cyber security?
There is lots of good practice on Digital Workplace implementation, with consideration of both design and management issues. The goal is common: to set up an environment with collaboration, mobility intelligence and trust! It is challenging and no one-fit-all solution we have to say, and that is why make the topic so charming. Is there any good practices on building culture in terms of digital workplace (e.g. use of new tech, or security awareness in digital workplace) in your organisation? Share your thoughts here or on social media #Passion4Digital.