The Digital Workplace might feel like technology buzzword to many people, but it is, in fact, a way of thinking about the work environment that has been around now for longer than you might think. Like a lot of trends, it can take time for the technology to truly catch up with the initial excitement and ambition. So, while the term Digital Workplace has been around for over 15 years, now is the time that you should be looking at what it means for your organisation and what a transformation to a Digital Workplace can do for you.
It’s important to understand that the Digital Workplace isn’t a product but rather how we think about the environment we work in. In the past a workplace was literally that, a place you went to work, somewhere physical such as an office, factory, school or similar. A Digital Workspace fundamentally changes that by enabling users to work from almost anywhere and with a much more flexible range of devices.
Digital connectivity isn’t just at the heart of a fixed location like a home or an office, it is an intrinsic part of our daily lives and with this change the expectations of customers, employers and employees have all changed. We all have smartphones and are connected to the internet via 4G / 5G or WiFi most of the time. Having information at the tap of a screen is second nature and this experience is one that people love, and therefore more and more employees are looking for their employers to replicate this in the workplace.
This change in work flexibility isn’t limited to office staff either. In retail, staff already use tablets to check inventory, restaurant staff communicate orders to the kitchen via tablets or smartphones, in education tablets and laptops are a part of every child’s school experience and throughout the healthcare industry professionals in all areas are tracking patient treatment and progress with mobile devices. All you have to do is think of an industry and somewhere within it is a Digital Workspace strategy already there, waiting to be truly unleashed.
It has been 20 years since the UK had its first broadband line installed running at what’s now seen as a very pedestrian 512kbps, especially considering new 5G services that are, according to a report by Speedtest.net, averaging 176Mbps and with this rapid growth in connectivity more companies and their employees are re-examining the workplace.
For companies, this means investing in technology that can improve communication and workflows as well as having more flexible workplaces that energise employees by providing them with the tools they want to work with the most. From the employee perspective, it is about having systems and processes around them that enable the most frictionless work experience. More than ever businesses are seeing that talent development and retention rely on how an employee perceives their place within a business, how it values their work and what their day to day user experience is like. It might seem obvious but an employee who is able to carry out their work with the least stress will flourish and ultimately produce a higher quality of output for the company.
In practice, this means a journey from old silos that have been created where several areas are handled by specialist teams in Telephony, Mobile Device Management, Desktop, Networks, and Servers to cross-functional teams that are capable of managing business requirements rather than specialist technology areas. Why is this important? Think about the often-repeated mantra “You only get one chance to make a first impression”.
Some people will roll their eyes at this phrase but the reason it is so well known is because it frequently rings true. Think about your first day at your current company, what was that experience like? Did IT have all your accounts set up, equipment ready and phone (desk and mobile)? Did somebody show you around, talk you through the new processes and ensure that you had as smooth an experience as possible? No matter if you’ve been working in a business 3 days or 30 years most people will remember that first day and for a lot of employees it sets a strong impression of the company.
When talking to a range of different practice employees very few people say that their first day experience was a positive one. Often, they tell tales of missing equipment and a lack of preparedness for their arrival. The best companies that hold an excellent reputation have an attentive onboarding process, ensuring everything needed is there and give the kind of introduction to a new starter that leaves them feeling very comfortable and settled.
Of course, it’s not just about the first day, employee experience is an ongoing practise that is challenged repeatedly, and this is where the Digital Workplace with its focus on reducing silos becomes invaluable. By breaking down barriers between teams in IT and focusing less on technologies and instead on delivering excellent experience will change how you think about IT and how it supports your business and its goals.
Enabling employees to work from devices they know by putting in polices such as Chose Your Own Device or Bring Your Own Device reduce system familiarisation issues and can be invaluable when you have a workforce that changes rapidly for specific projects or seasonal needs. Being able to provide secure corporate-owned devices to your permanent employees allows you to ensure a consistent and elegant set of applications delivered to each person based on need rather than having broad templates that leave users frustrated with apps they don’t use or settings which don’t suit their role.
Tools like Microsoft 365, Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security help unify elements of desktop, productivity, mobility and security in a way that removes obstacles in achieving excellence in the execution of the end user computing (EUC) experience. Other powerful tools such as InTune and AutoPilot, when configured correctly, are an extremely powerful suite of products to use. The reliable backing of Azure, including Azure Active Directory and Windows Virtual Desktop, the ability to free yourself from costly infrastructure and move to a flexible cloud future is not just a possibility but a reality.
Hopefully by now you can see the benefits of what a Digital Workplace can be, and you are wondering how you might implement a strategy like this or improve on your existing strategy. You need to know that this a Digital Workplace is a transformational journey which means that like any major change it will take time to get the right people, policies and systems in place and the first positive step you can take on this journey is getting a review of your existing systems from an experienced IT Partner like HybrIT.
As experts in helping to identify the needs of organisations looking at moving to a fully realised Digital Workplace, HybrIT can provide a free consultation on what you can do to enable a more flexible environment for your organisation and its employees. HybrIT has a vast amount of experience with Office and Microsoft 365, migrating customers to the Microsoft 365 suite and enabling all its features, using Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 or E5 to ensure your mobile workforce is able to continue collaborating securely wherever they are, be it in the office, at home, with a customer or on the move.
The Digital Workplace is here, and HybrIT Services is your ideal partner to embrace and unlock the potential that this new way of thinking and working can unleash. Contact us and see how we can help you today.