Think of how you’ll get your work done today. You may start by sending a few emails from your mobile phone at home. Then you hop over to a local café, connect to the public Wi-Fi, and work on a project on your laptop. After lunch, you head into the office for a video call with your team, who are distributed across North America, to collaborate on next month’s strategy using cloud-based software. Before heading home, you download a couple of files onto your tablet so you can catch up on the latest analytics reports.
In one day, you’d be using 4 devices in 4 different locations to access files, communicate with your team, and get work done.
The average end user carries 4.7 devices with them, and as new devices and the Internet of Things continue to be adopted, Gartner estimates that there will be 21 billion connected devices by 2020. Advances in cloud-based applications and collaborative software have also made it easier than ever before for teams to work together without actually being in the same location. All of these technologies are shaping the way we work.
This is the digital workplace. This is the new reality for employees, enterprises, and IT departments. It’s driving new technology requirements and putting pressure on IT to make it possible for end users to work and collaborate on multiple tools and devices as seamlessly as possible. And it’s not going anywhere.
What Is The Digital Workplace?
The digital workplace decouples work from the physical location. It’s an always connected environment that, using technology, provides instant access to everything employees need, when they need it, on any device. It’s transforming the employee experience to one that promotes growth, efficiency, innovation and collaboration, by making it possible to communicate seamlessly with colleagues no matter where they are.
As Gartner explains, “the digital workplace enables new, more effective ways of working; raises employee engagement and agility; and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.”
Making the Digital Workplace Work
The continued growth and depth of consumer devices such as smartphones, iPads, and touch screen laptops drive greater user expectations. Any time technology prevents end users from getting their jobs done you are losing productivity, reducing employee satisfaction, and risking the loss of your talent. A more dire situation is when end users turn to their own personal solutions, which open up the entire organization to security exposure.
IT departments have had to adapt to this reality , they are responsible for implementing new technologies and integrating them together so that they work seamlessly when the end user needs them. Of course this does present some significant challenges. New technologies that are distributed across various locations instead of always being within the walls of a traditional office building are more difficult for enterprises to track and manage. End users connecting to various networks, both secure and unsecure, and accessing sensitive information, pose new security challenges. As new technologies are constantly being introduced, IT departments have to decide which ones to invest in. And any time a new device is introduced, the old ones need to be decommissioned and disposed of securely and effectively.
Empower End Users
Many of the elements of the digital workplace are already in place. Your end users have had mobile phones for years. But to truly design an effective solution, IT departments need to look at technology holistically. New technology need to be coordinated and fully integrated into existing systems, rather than as a standalone component. Each new piece of technology needs to have a strategic purpose that drives the organization forward and helps end users get their jobs done more effectively.
The digital workplace is a powerful trend. Getting it right will empower end users to be more productive, creative, and innovative no matter where they are. IT departments will need to work to make sure hundreds of devices fit together into one cohesive unit, while still maintaining security and device management, all within budgetary and time constraints. Implementing the digital workplace isn’t easy, but in today’s world, it’s a necessity for your business success.
How are you implementing the digital workplace in your organization? Tell us your story