How To Build A Powerful Digital Workplace Strategy
A recent report by the Digital Workplace Group suggests that more than 76% of surveyed organisations consider digital workplace initiatives to be either important or very important. While it is evident that most business leaders realize the need for a powerful digital workplace, only a few companies already have a defined strategy in place. The same survey reports that only 14% of the organisations believe their digital workplace is at a mature phase.
The digital world is flooded with content, information and numerous siloed tools for communication, collaboration and productivity. The success of a digital workplace depends on bringing all these elements together in an orderly way to enable seamless information sharing, a centralized technology hub, and a culture that drives employee engagement.
If you are currently in the process of putting together a modern digital workplace strategy, here are a few steps you can consider before embarking on your journey.
Building A Robust Digital Workplace Strategy
1. Outline your vision
Before starting your digital workplace transformation, it’s important to first define your goals, how the digital workplace will look like and how it will grow.
Understand your primary goals — Is it improved collaboration? Enhanced productivity? Better engagement? A proper understanding of your vision acts as the key tenet of your mission and objectives.
In outlining your vision, it’s important to gather inputs from other stakeholders across various business functions, such as HR, IT, Internal Communications etc. Understand their expectations from a digital workplace.
Ensure your digital workplace strategy strongly aligns with your digital transformation and business goals, and get executive buy-ins in the early stages. In addition to business objectives, also consider which components are necessary for employees. All these steps help you in drafting a concrete mission statement and purpose. Don’t take decisions on technology platforms until then.
2. Assess the state of your current workplace
Once you have a well-defined strategy in place and know where you want to reach, it’s time to analyze the current state of your workplace. Assess where you stand in the process of digital transformation.
Perform an exhaustive analysis of your current tools, processes, and workflows: Are there any gaps in your workflows? Are any tools being underutilized and doing more harm than good? Which processes need adjustments?
Take into account how your competitors and other organizations in the market are approaching digital workplace transformation. This step is key to take the right actions moving forward.
3. Build a digital workplace team
Once you’ve formulated your goals and identified the needed improvements, it’s time to form a cross-functional digital workplace team. Remember, this is a company-wide initiative and needs people with expertise across technology, culture and people. Your team should ideally include IT leaders, the management team, and HR professionals.
The IT team plays a vital role in ensuring that you’re able to deploy the right solutions as well as providing ongoing support to maximize the benefits of the tools you implement. Getting the management team on board will ensure that your decisions are implemented speedily and effectively. Finally, the HR team is the backbone of your employee experience. As you adopt new tools and policies, you will need the HR department to ensure that they’re able to keep employees educated about various organizational changes and provide adequate support in getting them on board and keeping them engaged.
While you’re equipping your existing team with the right information to embrace organizational change, do keep in mind that certain digital workplace initiatives demand tremendous change in existing structures, processes, and skill sets. As such, you have to evaluate new competencies you will need to drive the digital workplace. You may consider engaging change management leaders who are experienced in forecasting challenges and mitigating their impact.
4. Choose the right technology solution
The digital workplace market is huge and crowded with vendors. Reports suggest that the market is projected to reach US$ 39.60 Billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of more than 30.0% during the given forecast period. How to select the right technological platform that fulfills your business needs? Here are some must-have features of a modern digital workplace platform:
- Personalization: Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time
- Recommendations: Content and Subject Matter Expert (SME) suggestions based on the employee’s activities, role, interests and location.
- Knowledge Mining: Automated features for content tagging, metadata generation, and taxonomy recommendations.
- Flexible integrations: The platform should integrate all your existing applications and bring them under one place to function as the central information hub.
- Advanced enterprise search: A centralized search engine which reduces the time to find relevant information spread across all the business applications.
- Scalable and future-ready: The platform should be seamlessly adapt to the future needs of the business
Acuvate’s Mesh 3.0, world’s first autonomous intranet, is one such solution which is equipped with these capabilities. Built on Office 365, Mesh brings the best of Microsoft AI technologies together to deliver personalization at scale and improve information discoverability.
5. Measure, analyze and improve
While creating your strategy, discuss what metrics make the most sense for your business and for your vision. Once you’ve put your plan in motion, ensure that you’re tracking progress every day and facilitating transparency among stakeholders. This data is going to be pivotal in ensuring that you’re consistently working your way to success and your investment generates desired ROI. Analyzing progress can take the form of tracking KPIs or ensuring that specific actions are performed regularly, as well as having a robust contingency plan in place to leverage when certain initiatives are not performing as expected.
Most digital workplace platforms today come with an analytics dashboard with which you can track user adoption, engagement, content performance etc.
Strategy is key for a successful digital workplace transformation. According to the Digital Workplace Group’s survey, 44.2% of companies with a mature digital workplace programme said collaboration tools were “working well” compared to 17.6% with a programme in progress and 13% with no programme or strategy. A similar pattern is repeated for virtually all the other tools.
Even if you haven’t formalized a clear strategy yet and are just collecting feedback from early adopters, working towards an evidence-based strategy that is backed by data rather than assumptions should be a good starting point.