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One of the newer buzzwords in the communications and collaboration space is digital workplace. Nemertes Research defines digital workplace as the "use of technology to drive efficiency among the workforce regardless of location or device."
Digital workplace encompasses several broad technologies, including mobility, analytics, customization, cloud, collaboration and security. The goal is to enable workers to have the information and applications they need to do their jobs, and presented to them in a manner that they desire.
Given this broad definition, an increasing number of technology vendors -- offering everything from digital whiteboards to document collaboration platforms -- are defining their products as a "digital workplace."
The idea of a digital workplace is a subset of digital transformation, focusing on internal applications and environments designed to support work. Nemertes defines three phases for a successful digital workplace project:
- Commencement. In this first phase, organizations become aware of the need to develop a digital workplace strategy. Often, they look for low-hanging fruit, such as integrating apps into a role-based portal and customizing information like personalized news feeds.
- Execution. Next, organizations increase the integration of more complex applications, such as unified communications and collaboration and business processes.
- Innovation. Lastly, organizations would analyze and deploy emerging technologies, such as augmented reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Other examples of digital workplace technologies in the execution and innovation phases include human-to-machine interfaces, embedded biometric security and advanced collaboration tools, such as digital whiteboards and coauthoring.
Integrating apps is a key first step
According to a Nemertes digital transformation study, 69.3% of companies have started a digital workplace strategy, but just 18.5% have completed one. Measuring the success of a digital workplace strategy typically involves looking at business metrics, such as reduced project times, more efficient responses to opportunities or customer inquiries, use of provided services or revenue per employee.
Many companies start their digital workplace strategies by looking at how employees access information and applications. They also investigate opportunities to enable customization, role-based provisioning and integrating apps.
For example, a commencement phase may include integrating apps such as team chat and video conferencing with existing business apps into a desktop portal. Some organizations develop their own digital workspaces, while others invest in platforms such as Akumina InterChange, BMC Digital Workplace, Igloo or Unily Hub. Companies will use these platforms as the basis for collaboration, communications, business application and information integration.
Other companies look to existing collaboration applications, such as Microsoft Office 365, Cisco Spark or Slack, as the basis for their digital workplace environment. From there, organizations typically extend their digital workplace experiences to mobile devices, integrating apps for business processes and information sources. They also might evaluate the previously noted emerging technologies in their digital workplace strategy.
Digital workplace projects typically have no definitive end. Even companies that say they've completed a digital workplace project usually have only defined a short-term strategy.
Because digital workplace projects involve analyzing and deploying emerging technologies, the projects are continuous, providing the framework for constant analysis and refinement as the technology landscape changes. If you haven't yet started a digital workplace project, now is the time to do so.
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