Digital technologies, changing workforce, social computing and new business models enable us to reimagine the way we work. This offers immense opportunities for businesses to transform their traditional workplace into a “Digital Workplace” which represents the convergence of multiple forces into a platforms and offers the next wave of digital services to business users. Organizations who are embracing these digital workplace ideas see the benefits with improved customer experience, enhanced operational efficiency and above all – increased workforce engagement.
Digital Workplace, which is being celebrated as a disruptive, valued-added and differentiating element by business and technology leaders, can be difficult to define. Probably the best way to approach this is to look at it as a platform of enabling services. This platform is characterized by a few key elements below that address a wide range of business needs which also distinguish it from the IT infrastructure of a previous generation.
Social and mobile technologies from the consumer world and their user experince patterns have set similar expectations from business applications as well. Most of the time, people have a better user experience at home than at their work. They expect a similar slick user experience with hightened context awareness and a socially savvy way of interaction from their business systems in which they are used to in the consumer world. User Experience is at the heart of any successful Digital Workplace design and it focuses on offering employees an engaging experience with flexibility, choice and personalization as key design drivers.
People want to able to connect to business applications and data from anywhere at anytime while using any device as they access their social networks and consumer applications. High Availability, which once was only offered for critical business functions, is expected across all services to meet the needs of an “always on” global workforce. People want to be able to use their own devices and be able to stay connected to their work when they are on the go or working with a team separated by time, location or both. The Digital Workplace makes the boundaries of a physical workplace fluid and at times, consistent.
Connecting people and systems is at the core of the Digital Workplace. To solve a customer’s problems and offer innovative solutions, organization is required to fully engage with employees across functional boundaries and leverage knowledge beyond a single team’s reach. Intuitive and seamless collaboration tools with a focus on cross-functional interactions enhance the ability to work together, leverage intellectual property and gain insights from each other.
A Digital Workplace enables context awareness collaboration by bringing together services such as co-creation, video and voice communication, chat and micro blogging as well as leveraging more structured and formal tools like email, calendar and intranet workspaces. Similarly, business workflow solutions from simple task assignment and time reporting to case management and new product introduction, all need to leverage the services for collaboration, communication and context.
The openness of the work culture that is fully supported by an IT infrastructure is an essential part of creating a Digital Workplace. Organizations need to address related challenges with governance, risk and compliance by embracing a governance model which enables connectivity and colleboration while also mitigating the risks to the organizations’ IP, assets and compliance.
The Digital Workplace enables a flexible governance model by providing services for threat detection and prevention. A basic information security infrastructure includes services such as anti-virus, malware detection and network intrusion detection. In addition, the Digital Workplace platform also needs to provide services for information monitoring, collection and analysis for mitigating risk and adherence to the organization’s policies.
The Digital Workplace is a cohesive set of digital services put together with an active intent of empowering employees to engage together better, foster a culture of openness and collaboration. It also allows for your workforce to be more productive by adopting the workstyle that suites each individual and team.
An enterprise already has the basic building blocks of the Digital Workplace. These include mail, calendar, messaging, knowledge management, document sharing portals and business workflows which are available as discrete services or in some cases, even as connected solutions.
It is this platform view and active intent which enables an organization to leverage investments in exiting an IT infrastructure and bringing it all together to realize its Digital Workplace vision. Enabling ultra mobility, context centric collaboration, engaging user experience and flexible governance paradigm completes the picture.