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Creating a Digital Office - The Workplace of Tomorrow

Organisations are in the pursuit of creating a digitally connected work environment - let us see how?

We have taken steps ahead from the times when workplace meant a platform where employees and decision makers met physically. Today we believe in a 24x7 workplace - always connected with an instant access environment.  The concept of the workplace has become truly digital. Employees are communicating in many new ways and the world has become a global village.The digital workplace goes beyond having the right technology, or simply replicating the physical workplace online. Its benefits are far more all-encompassing.

What Is A Digital Workplace?

Technology innovations are bringing mammoth changes to the workplace. The leaders face the challenge of riding carefully through this wave of change and bring the best out of this opportunity without leaving behind the company objectives. The idea is to create a workplace that can react quickly to changes in the business world and cater to customer needs quickly and effectively making use of digital technologies. That should be an ideal " Digital Workplace"

Technologies that boost the creation of a digital workplace the can range from the HR applications and core business applications to e-mail, instant messaging, enterprise social media tools, intranets and portals., to modern technologies like Cloud, IoT, and Low Code Application Development. So we see that a digital workplace consists of a holistic set of platforms, tools and environments for work delivered in a usable, coherent and productive way. This definition gives focus on the experience of the employee or the individual as well as the environment in which they work. A good digital workplace can be tailored to what your organization needs it to be.

Creating a workplace of the future

According to Avanade's global survey, 75% of companies understand the benefits of digital transformation, only 40% have adopted these tools.

Organisations realize the need for creating a digital workplace, but the practical steps towards driving adoption elude many. Rigid corporate cultures, organizational complexities and the rapid pace of change are just some of the barriers companies are facing when it comes to embracing the future. In a report published by Deloitte we found that when employee engagement goes up, there is a corresponding increase in employee retention of up to 78%.

Though enterprises realize the need to bring in and adopt new technologies that foster digital innovation, there are many barriers that slow down the process. There are hurdles to technical know-how, cultural rigidity and organizational complexity. We will take a closer look at it.

How can Digital Workplace affect the organization RoI

There are many ways in which a digital workplace backed by modern technology and robust security can help in optimising the ROI on an organization where it is implemented.

  • Increase revenue: Digital technologies like cloud, RAD and Low code platforms help employees get better involved in tech projects, they can make crucial business decisions and help employees identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities
  • Reduce operational costs: Introduces effective ways of building applications, collaborating virtually, storing data securely on the cloud and also meeting or telecommuting which greatly accelerates project delivery and reduces wastage.
  • Accelerate time-to-market: Supply tools to help research, develop, test and deliver new products and services more quickly, such as remote scanners that let you fulfill orders remotely
  • Foster innovation: Foster two-way communication to drive discussions and build communities of interest and practice to drive the innovation agenda. New tools like Low code platforms eliminates the dangers of shadow IT as they make it simple for anyone within the organization with minimal technical skills to build applications of their own. This fosters a culture of employee participation and innovation.
  • Improve the customer experience: Digital transformation is targeted to reach out to the customers in a more effective manner. It helps know their real-time needs and in turn, enables employees to find the information they need more quickly and serve their customers more efficiently

We have cited some interesting figures from a survey carried out by Deloitte.

  • Employee productivity. Organizations with strong online social networks are 7% more productive compared to organizations without

  • Employee satisfaction. Organizations that rolled out and installed social media tools internally found that there was a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.

The Main Components of a Digital Workplace

The digital workplace empowers employees to collaborate and connect in ways that truly enhance business value, helping teams to perform their tasks better, faster and more profitably. Enterprises have begun to realize have the growing the need for this - yet there are still common hurdles that businesses face.

1. Enterprise Social Networks

Social Networks like Linkedin, Quora, StackExchange has helped in collaborating and connecting business organizations.  There are Linkedin, Yammer and many such online platforms that make interactions fun and collaborative.They have features like microblogging which has helped enterprises to enhance their marketing communication efforts. According to Frost & Sullivan, 72% of companies are expected to deploy at least one social software tool or platform. And by 2020, there will be 639M paid users of enterprise social networks. Many are using Google suite for entire office communication.

2. Videos

For years, the increase of internet and network speed has allowed the use videos in real-time communication and is now considered essential in running a business. Video communication plays a vital role in communication needs of the workforce because it helps them to stay engaged, productive and efficient. Video communication applications are evident all across the enterprise and can be seen in marketing, training & development, product management and the adoption of the latest communication tools.

3. BYOT, BYOA, BTOD

You must have heard of terms like Bring Your Own Technology, Bring Your Own Apps, Bring Your Own Device.With the availability and consumerization of IT technologies today, the present day workforce is more likely to bring their own devices, tablets to the office and use them for work purposes. This trend continues to grow in enterprises and employees feel more empowered to use their own devices with regulations for business purposes.

4. Low Code Application Development

Low code application development platforms have taken BYOT to the next step. With the simple and intuitive interface and features like drop and drag, this has made application building easy for everyone in the organization. Employees are now more involved in building apps and delivering direct business value to customers without much of IT interventions without compromising on the security aspects. What better way to bridge the gap between IT and business team.

5. Becoming More Mobile

The popularity of smart mobile devices in the personal life of an employee or a manager has strong evidence in the context of purchasing, shopping, banking, education and communication. Mobile technologies also play an important role in breaking boundaries in employee communication and productivity that includes mobile online meetings, online training, video learning and others. Whatsapp groups have now become a mode of official communications too. It's easy and affordable and available round the clock.

The Road Ahead

To create a perfectly digital workplace we need business strategy that will boost employee agility and engagement through a more consumerized work environment. While each one is different, successful digital workplaces share characteristics that maximize the creative potential of the workforce and allow new ways of working that deliver better business outcomes. The digital workplace exists in every organization and industry today. It will take a different form depending on what your industry is and what your business needs are.

More Stories By Karthick Viswanathan

Karthick heads the Products, Marketing and Evangelism efforts for WaveMaker. As one of the original product managers at WaveMaker, he led the technology and design for WaveMakerOnline, WaveMaker's PaaS offering. He also established the Customer Success practice for WaveMakerOnline. Prior to WaveMaker, Karthick occupied various roles in engineering and product management at PegaSystems, IBM and Oracle. He can discuss in-depth, code-level details and just as easily shift focus to business and go-to-market strategies. He was one of the seeders for the product management teams for PegaSystems in India and also a key technology contributor behind Oracle Warehouse Builder features. He writes and blogs about modern app development methodologies, including Rapid Application Development, digital transformation, and the API economy.

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