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The Evolution of the Digital Workplace

The evolution of technologies and new concepts has highly grown in the past decades and with every new day; new concepts and new trends are born.

Digitalisation has almost touched every sector, every traditional tool or environment and today we will take a closer look at the evolution of workplaces from very basic and traditional to where they got today: D.I.G.I.T.A.L.

The digital workplace is a general term that could technically include any business using computers and software, but the main concept is using digitisation to align technology, people and business processes to improve operational efficiency and meet business goals.

In much simpler terms, it is a workplace where employees find all of the information and processes they need to work successfully and can share their knowledge quickly and with ease, and acquire help and information from colleagues.

The foundation principles of a digital workplace are Integration and Collaboration. Data is not only set to be available on a central platform, from all implemented software systems (such as ERP, CRM, BI, etc.) but also promotes cross-location collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Modern companies rely on these principles to facilitate the access to their employees to information with flexibility which results in enhancing their involvement and satisfaction. In other terms, they put on a system that ensures providing the right information to the right people at the right time.

Many authors spoke about 5 major benefits of the digital workplace, here is a summary of them:

– By making employees life easier, the DW creates a satisfaction and sustains stability within the work environment. It also reduces the time spent looking for IT-related issues, or requirements thus reducing frustration and improving productivity and efficiency.

– It creates a collaborative culture within and across the organization. Collaboration would result in building a reliable internal system and culture as well as setting up a strong social network and a strong internal and external communication.

– It gives flexibility to employees to work remotely and collaboratively. The workplace grew out of the limits of a physical office to being almost everywhere the employee has access to an internet connection. This limitless space perfectly defines one of the most important benefits of the DW.

– The DW guarantees traceability of all kinds of transactions, accesses to information, information exchange leading to an almost perfect transparency in the way work is done.

– It also boosts customer privacy by providing a secure internal network and educating staff on compliance, anyone dealing with the business gets a boost to their security.

There are 8 steps to succeed in implementing a digital workplace:

  1. Set a foundation Vision

The vision describes what “digital workplace” success looks like by enunciating its values for all participants to refer to and rely on: The ultimate business value of the transformation, the purpose of any transformation and the end goals as they express in the digital economy

2. Strategy

The second step is to develop the strategy. The strategy may apply to the company as a whole or might have to be specific to each department. The strategy development may differ based on the organisational goals, assets, resources and needs from a company to another.

3. Metrics

Metrics help measure the quantifiable aspects of the transformation project, and include the benchmarks that will demonstrate its incremental success over time. Metrics that measure either or both performance standards and business values give the best insights into how the project – and the company – are moving to an improved state.

4. Employee experience

Many corporate leaders believe that an engaged workforce is the most productive and efficient, so improving their experience is often a critical goal of the digital transformation process. Companies with workers who are empowered by technology to attain their highest levels of performance outperform their competition in customer service, service delivery and execution.

5. Organizational Change

Because the transformation process involves every system and worker, the strategy to achieve it should determine how it will impact each stakeholder and support their capacity to move forward as the change occurs. The change begins at the top and the leadership panel must be the role models for their workers and also be accountable to each other and the enterprise to enhance the likelihood of success.

6. Processes

Digital tools literally do the work differently, and high impact work – the non-routine, non-automated effort – stands to gain the most productivity when combined with more agile, collaborative and responsive digital tools. Consequently, using those tools often means the complete re-engineering of current business practices.

7. Information

Corporate information is not simple anymore. Instead, data analytics takes linear data inputs and integrates that information with other relevant information to extrapolate insights and provide critical, actionable conclusions. The new information processing systems, then, also require more sophisticated retrieval, storage, and usage capacities.

8. Technology

After management has explored and understood the first seven segments of the digital transformation, the company is ready to identify the technology that can do the work. And when they are looking for that final element, they must be sure it addresses these five critical domains:

The overall IT system and structure – it’s how they will run the business;

The customer’s experience – it’s how they engage with their community;

The hardware, consoles, and devices – it’s how they connect with the physical world;

Intelligence – it’s the foundation of their success, and

The ecosystem foundation – it’s how stakeholders, workers, colleagues, and customers experience the entity as a whole.

The DW is being implemented in existing structures and being adapted by new companies and international organisations to improve collaboration and knowledge sharing.

There is a strong belief in the improvement potential of the DW and there is currently a huge amount of efforts in tuning the concept and gradually implementing it as a new culture and way of doing business. It comes perfectly in accordance with our era, our aspirations and our new way of doing business.