The modern workplace often requires a large number of different tasks to be handled in different applications to achieve your goals. Companies now recognize that employees need a unified experience to work together effectively and seamlessly, avoid duplication of effort, and ensure that teams can collaborate effortlessly. At the same time, the way we work and where we work has changed: a change accelerated by the pandemic, but one that few employers can now ignore.
Having a cohesive set of software tools that bring common tasks together in one interface provides a simpler, more streamlined experience for users. Quite simply, the more complex or difficult the technology is to become familiar with, the steeper the learning curve, the more painful it is for employees to change, and the slower your adoption rate, which is where many IT investments fail.
So, what does a digital workspace solution offer? Well, it brings together a common set of tools that enable employees to work together in a consistent and frictionless way. Not only that, but it enables greater flexibility, providing end users with the ability to work from anywhere and on any device. Of course, security is a key consideration when employees are working remotely and accessing business-critical, centralized resources. The need to keep devices and data secure and compliant has never been more important.
What does a digital workspace look like?
There are several different technologies that can make up your digital workspace solution. These technologies typically include some or all of the following.
Virtual desktops – providing employees with a consistent experience and easy access to everyday resources from outside the office or remotely from a different location
Collaboration tools – enable employees to call, chat, message and collaborate so they can easily meet, interact and share information using one intuitive tool
Connectivity – Ensures that users can securely connect to centralized data and applications using secure remote access or single sign-on (SSO)
Security – Ensure that every device used by any employee is secure, using unified endpoint management to bring all enterprise devices into one central management console for security and patch alerts.
Microsoft 365 – Empower your users with a cohesive set of productivity tools, including the Office 365 suite, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams.
So, now that we know what the nuts and bolts consist of, what approach do you need to take to build your digital workspace?
Create the foundation for hybrid work
Before investing in any new technology, the first step is always to assess your business needs. A lot has changed over the course of the pandemic, and the expectations of both employers and employees need to be taken into account. You need to figure out how your team can be most productive.
Set your work patterns
A variety of flexible work models, working from home on a permanent basis or as part of a hybrid team, are all part of the digital workspace and can influence job retention and recruitment, with employees choosing employers who offer the kind of work style they desire.
If your business doesn’t consider all possible options for your employees based on your business goals, you may be selling yourself short as new hires will gravitate to companies that offer greater flexibility.
We recommend creating a blueprint for how your team will work effectively together. Who needs to work in the office and where? How often do employees travel back and forth between the office and home? How do they need to work with colleagues who work remotely?
Provide your team with digital workspace tools
Next, you need to enable employees to do their jobs effectively and remove any obstacles in their path. This is where it’s important to choose the right tools to ensure that everyone can work together effectively and securely, collaborate from anywhere and stay productive.
When deciding which set of tools is right for your business, you need to consider issues such as ease of use, reliability, security and compliance to ensure your digital workspace works for everyone.
Create a culture of connection
It’s important to note that while most of us have worked remotely during a pandemic, it takes more than technology to keep a team feeling connected. As such, a culture of connection is also important to ensure that teams truly feel connected. Employees who say their company fosters a culture of connection also cite better physical and emotional health.
What to consider when planning your digital workspace
When evaluating how to move forward with your digital workspace solution, it would be wise to ask yourself if it’s time to move from a best-of-breed approach to a common suite that integrates all essential business functions. Separate tools create unnecessary complexity, not to mention cost, and often don’t provide the best user experience. And we all know that adoption of new tools is critical.
Your goal should be a single interface that users can easily adopt and that can be extended to other applications. Tools that are intuitive, easy to use and work together seamlessly to create a user experience that leads to success. Moving away from single-function applications to a set of applications that can be integrated with other core tools is more likely to help you achieve the benefits you want from your digital workspace.
When it comes to transforming your employees’ work experience, you need to start at the top. You’ll need a high level of ownership to help you manage the transition to a digital workspace, because it’s not just about choosing the technologies you want to use, but integrating them into your organization’s overall strategy.
10 tips for deploying a digital workspace
Get support from senior management. Support at the highest level will help you manage the transition to a digital workspace.
Align your solution with your business strategy. Your digital workspace solution must meet your needs now and in the future. Aligning your digital workspace solution with your business direction and strategy will help you meet demand and grow.
Think holistically. Look at the big picture and use an integrated set of tools rather than implementing separate technologies.
Create a culture of connection. Engage your users, work with your existing organizational culture, and help them see the path forward and the reasons for change.
Deliver value. Focus on how you can add value to your business through technology, rather than supporting your organization’s growth through technology implementation.
Research your options. There are many types of technologies that can be composed and integrated to create a holistic digital workspace solution. Keep an eye out for solutions that demonstrate continuous innovation and the ability to build on your platform of choice, ensuring you are ready for the future.
Make it easy: You want your digital workspace solution to be easily adopted by your end users to maximize their productivity and ROI on their technologies. By introducing better ways of working for your employees and providing a unified, consistent user experience for your solution, your implementation is more likely to achieve successful user adoption.
Engage compliance and legal teams. Ensure the security of your data and work environment. It’s important to understand the risks and stay compliant; ignore them and you could pay the price.
Maturity. Use a maturity model to understand where your organization is in the modernization program and how your employees currently work. This assessment will help you determine the appropriate tools for your digital workspace toolkit.
Manage expectations. Take a measured approach to deployment to ensure success and eliminate risk.
To summarize, Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. For a business of this scale, you need to define a vision for your digital workspace and establish strategic alignment across all areas of your organization. Ultimately, the goal of a digital workspace is to create business value, not technology.