Several years ago, if we asked a client about their “digital workplace strategy”, their response may be much different than the response they would give today. The definition of “digital workplace” has changed significantly over the past year and the very meaning of “digital workplace” may be much different than it was 3 or 4 years ago.
Three or four years ago, digital workplaces were the “dream” for many organizations. The idea that paper-based workflows could be replaced by digital processes seemed exciting, but still a distant reality. The technology that would enable a digital workplace and support communication and collaboration would require business transformation, and unfortunately, many organizations lacked the appetite or capacity to embrace the change.
While digital workplaces often promised cost-savings and process improvement, one thing was always missing from the digital workplace conversation. Employee happiness. Let’s assume that technology and process improvement delivered more than just the benefits to the business, but also gave employees more time, more flexibility, and removed barriers. This is the promise of the digital workplace that may only be realized when you don’t get to choose digital transformation. It’s only after being thrusted into a new way of working do you realize that there is indeed a better way to do things and that you are happier now that you’ve allowed yourself to try something new.
A catalyst for change
As workers left the office in March 2020 and started working from spare bedrooms, dining room tables, and closets… even the most paper-based businesses were fast to introduce new tools, adapt processes, and deploy tools that would enable communication and collaboration. The learning curve was steep, but unlike traditional rollouts of technology, user would not be able to resist these new technologies and go back to their “old ways”. The ladder had been kicked out.
But something interesting happened after the digital transformation started to take hold. Employees were saying things like –
“I don’t have to go back to the office, I can do everything from home”
“We don’t have to meet in person, we can use Teams”
Digital workplaces are here to stay. And, the accelerated deployment of tools to support digital workplaces resulted in not only workers accepting the change, but advocating for never going back.
Still a lot of work to do
While many organizations are thriving and finding success with workers being remote, there is sill a lot of work to do. To be successful long-term, organizations have to work towards pervasive maturity in all areas of digital transformation. This includes workflow automation and optimization, data analytics and visualization, deployment of tools that support communication and collaboration, and cloud dependence.
The biggest mistake organizations will make in establishing a digital workplace is that they will fail to mature, will stop investing, and will fall behind. Digital transformation requires that the organization continues to tune and improve their approach to meet the changing needs of the business as well as external demands.
Best-in-class organizations are already using tools like Microsoft Power BI to evaluate trends in the business now that the organization is collecting data. These organizations are also mapping processes and using tools to automate parts of the process or introducing solutions that automate the process from end to end.
Kiefer has helped organizations usher in a new way of working. We have built 4 practice areas that meet the challenges of a digital workplace head on. We have also created digital transformation maturity roadmaps that guide you in your journey and help you to better understand where you are today and where you’d like to go.
The first (and best) step is finding a partner that can help you in road mapping a digital workplace strategy that is going to work for your organization. We are that team. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we have the experience and expertise you will need to make the digital workplace a more permanent and sustainable solution for your organization.