Sometimes we forget how much the internet has changed our lives over the last 20 years. On a personal level, it’s enhanced the way we view the world and communicate with each other. But on a business level, it’s redefined the way we work and the tools we use to get work done.
But even with advances in technology, many companies still struggle with information barriers and a limited understanding of organizational expertise. This can have crippling effects on productivity, employee engagement, and the pace of innovation.
The workplace was born before the internet, so it’s not wired for it. That’s why innovative companies are turning to digital workplace strategies as a way of retro-fitting modern tools and technology into their current infrastructure, and bracing for the next wave of challenges ahead. By doing so, these companies put their existing knowledge and expertise in context, while staying ahead of trends that threaten their competitive advantage.
Mobile – Connect and motivate a workforce that isn’t in one place
Today’s workforce is becoming more and more distributed – work is no longer a place, it’s just what you do. In fact, GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reports that approximately 20-25% of the global workforce teleworks at some frequency, and employees are not at their desk 50-60% of the time. With the ability to work remotely, with flexible hours, from whichever device they choose, employees can be scattered across geographies and time zones and still get work done.
The Generation Gap – Find solutions that create a comfortable common ground
The majority of today’s workforce is comprised of two generations that entered the workforce during two very different times. The way Generation X and Millennials process information and the rules they each align to causes friction, and with a widening gap in digital fluency, there’s an urgent need for companies to find digital solutions that ensure everyone is productive.
Bring Your Own App (BYOA) – Cater to employees’ preferences while serving the entire organization
As work and personal lives continue to overlap, people are opting to use their personal productivity applications like Google Docs or Dropbox to communicate and collaborate at work. Why? Because they’re fast and familiar – and most importantly, they don’t require any involvement from IT. But accommodating for every employee’s app of choice can counteract communication and knowledge-sharing practices across an organization, not to mention the security implications involved.
The Talent Wars – Create a digital space that attracts and retains your people
People no longer stay at companies for life. This can pose a challenge for companies that haven’t devoted significant resources to attracting, developing, and retaining talent. Gone are the days of top-down management where executives rule from the top floor. Today’s most innovative companies are adopting a ground-up approach that focuses on building a strong corporate culture that protects their most valuable asset: their people. Just as these companies build world-class websites for their customers, they’ve realized a need to create a virtual space to engage their employees.
A view into everything you do
Many companies juggle productivity apps like Google for Work and Office 365; line-of-business systems like CRM and HRIS; or other file-sharing and messaging apps to adapt to the needs of their employees. At the same time, they’re trying to find or create systems that make it easy for employees to access everything they need wherever they are, via mobile solutions and integrated portals.
But implementing multiple disparate platforms and tools can eventually overwhelm people. Even if they promise to be modern, cloud-based solutions, they still require employees to learn new functionality, processes, and ways of communicating and storing information. This can lead to underutilization, nomadic data, and even abandonment of new solutions, regardless of their initial perceived value.
Modern intranets have emerged as the mission critical tool to band disparate apps together. A tool that was traditionally thought of as an IT-sanctioned document store or link farm now represents an avenue for organizations to create a sophisticated digital destination and corporate identity that connects their entire organization – across borders, boundaries, and organizational structures.
A modern intranet doesn’t promise to replace existing solutions or third party applications inside an organization. Instead, it’s a portal through which people can view and access all the tools and information they need to do their jobs.
Create a people-powered digital workplace
Re-wiring your workplace is just as much about the people as it is the technology. It’s about modernizing a company’s brand, values, and ways of working. Companies that find themselves in the middle of this important digital transformation know that any change to the physical or digital workplace relies on a collaborative effort from their IT, HR, and Communications teams.
Any new technology should provide clarity about who should use it, how they should use it, and to support what objectives. Introducing an abundance of technology options with no focus on how they empower your workforce can be overwhelming and ineffective. As the workplace becomes more fragmented and less routine, it’s critical to look to systems that bring people together with a purpose and propagate a company culture that people are proud to own.
A version of this post was first published on CMS Wire.