What is a digital workplace? Is it a single holistic platform that can do it all? Or a gateway to a series of specific and targeted platforms? As technology becomes embedded in our everyday lives, we expect the same usable and coherent experience from our digital workplace as we do from our private networks, which is why the digital workplace needs to deliver, at its core, a hyper-mobile employee experience.
Identify change, think about reach
Millennials are now dominant in workforce demographics, and these highly motivated and engaged employees feel comfortable using their own devices to access the workplace, regardless of official company Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) policy. In fact, 55% of high-performing workplaces are already embracing BYOD, while 49% of employees claim it makes them more productive, meaning that a flexible BYOD policy should be intrinsic to a digital workplace strategy as a cost-effective and straightforward way to engage mobile workers.
Identify main use cases
For the majority of digital workplaces, communication, collaboration, knowledge and processes will be critical main use cases, and a successful strategy will include these four platforms:
• Communication: for sharing time-critical information across the workforce and peer to peer, with the ability to learn from gathered feedback.
• Collaboration: for team projects and ad-hoc communities to share tasks, discuss questions and manage workflows.
• Knowledge: for information that is domain, workplace and company-centric with strong search tools.
• Processes: to host HR, CRM and ERP processes.
Making these four central platforms accessible to your workforce via BYOD, whether they’re desk-based process workers in HR and accounts or mobile workers, should be central to your strategy. For the best employee experience, you need to be specific about the tools and platforms your workers will need to access. For example, a customer-facing non-desk worker will need quick and seamless access to internal communication tools and the knowledge platform for policies, employee handbooks and phonebooks. However, they may only need basic self-service access to the processes platform and will have little need for collaboration tools unless they become part of an ad-hoc team.
Define a roadmap
While identifying main use cases and matching them to employee needs should be the foundation of your digital workplace strategy, you’re still only part of the way there. You now need to focus on creating a step by step roadmap, which begins by identifying the core main use case for your business – in most cases the communication platform which hosts news, events and feedback allowing you to deliver your company narrative and learn from customer and employee feedback to improve your practices, products and services.
Taking a gradual approach to your strategy takes the onus off process and project workers to deliver a fully fledged workplace that may have difficulty in meeting the needs of knowledge and non-desk workers. Instead, a more measured approach means that you can implement a digital workplace strategy that uses external and internal insights from your workforce which are then constantly monitored through feedback which senior management access and respond to in the digital realm.
Invest in best of breed
When selecting the IT that will underpin your digital workplace and social intranet, there are two considerations to keep in mind. One is the user experience and the accessibility and ease of use of the tools you select. The other is the use cases that you’re prepared to make accessible on personal technology as opposed to those that should only be accessible through company-supplied mobile devices.
With the proliferation of cloud-based services with tools tailored to individual use case scenarios, best in breed is a clear winner over a single platform approach for your social intranet software. The ability to select from a wide range of tools gives your company and your workforce greater flexibility, particularly if you’re supporting a BYOD access strategy. Single platform solutions are often highly frustrating for mobile workers and are a quick way to proliferate the problem of shadow IT for your business.
Making use cases accessible for mobile workers may be best handled through a branded mobile app that functions in the same way that any personal app does to deliver personalised content to your workforce. Think of this as the front door to the rest of the digital workplace that is resident on company-owned devices behind a firewall. But by giving quick, easy and familiar access to the use cases that mobile workers most need to access, you’re creating the kind of seamless and coherent employer experience that helps to attract and keep talent.
What your strategy should look like
The clear trend in the modern digital workplace is towards a front door social intranet that gives one-tap access to a host of best of breed customisable tools, plus a communication hub where teams, communities and company-wide audiences can have their differing needs met. Your strategy must be both BYOD mobile and responsive to your workforce to deliver the best possible employee experience for a digital workforce that works for everyone.
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