A digital workplace experience has gone from being a nice-to-have to an absolute imperative in just a few years. According to Gartner, by 2020, the most critical competitive differentiator for 30% of organizations will come from the workforce's ability to creatively exploit digital technologies1.
While the traditional workplace was already in a state of evolution, thanks to widespread digitalization and changing workforce dynamics, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the accelerator. Forced to adapt almost overnight to 100% remote working model, most organizations are struggling to ensure consistent network performance, robust security, and employee productivity while simultaneously building business resiliency.
Most organizations have a laser-sharp focus on their customer experience but fail to replicate the commitment when it comes to their employees – the starting point of all business outcomes – from efficiency and productivity to profitability, innovation and growth. As organizations prepare to operate in the new post-COVID reality, the employee experience and digital workplace culture will prove to be critical enablers for business resilience, adaptability and agility.
This paper discusses why a digital workplace is critical for organizations of all sizes today and how to build one quickly at scale.
The workplace experience isn’t about technology; employees matter most
Contrary to perception, a digital workplace has less to do with technology or architecture and is more drawn towards the employee experience (EX) that drives the workplace experience (WX). Digest this – 66% of employees feel overwhelmed due to difficult and restrictive technology at work. While most employees love their personal tech (mobile apps, smart home devices, etc.), few can say the same about workplace tech. That’s because enterprise tech solutions are mostly deployed in silos, have fixed capacity, limited choice (of access, device, etc.), and basically lack the efficiency and convenience that modern users as well as business needs demand.
Modern users need integrated solutions that let them work flexibly anywhere, anytime, and on any device of their choice. They do not wish to concern themselves with the backend complexity of corporate IT and that’s exactly what IT’s aim should be too. This expectation is driving a much-needed change in how enterprises think about the workplace experience.
While Technology Thinking dominated the period around year 2007 (tech silos and pipeline-driven tech focus), the rise of Industrialization around 2014 gave way to Services Thinking driven by industrialization of services with the primary goal of optimizing costs. Cut to today and the enterprise scenario is dominated by Platform Thinking with a sharp focus on product and innovation, and leveraging platform interconnections to deliver superior customer and employee experience.
However, the capabilities of an IT management framework designed for an era of desktop computing are not able to keep up with these new demands for convergence of end-user computing activities. CIOs need to embrace a modern IT infrastructure, with more agility than ever today, given that remote working is also adding steam to demands for a converged workplace experience that supports not just Work from Home (WFH) but Work from Anywhere (WFX). Technology experts believe that industry convergence will be the primary trend in the immediate future. Mobile solutions, cloud computing and the Internet of Things [IoT] will gain prominence over the next five years as the workplace is no more confined to a brick and mortar structure
Creating a digital workplace is one of IT’s biggest challenges: Here’s what you can do
Creating a workplace experience sans borders requires IT to empower end users to work independently as well as collaboratively from anywhere. This means tailoring the workplace experience to the specific needs of each user group and ensuring that the right information is available to the right users at the right time – quickly and securely. This is a formidable challenge for IT as three key roadblocks stand in the way:
#1 Ensuring cyber and information security across the digital workplace: A digital workplace introduces more end points and devices (BYOD), making it difficult for corporate IT to enforce security policies and control access. Most companies let their employees use their own device to access business applications. That’s because employees expect a frictionless experience irrespective of whether they use their own or corporate devices. This leads to increased risk of data breaches, theft and phishing scams, causing organizations heavy legal, financial and reputational losses. Clearly, perimeter-based security systems are insufficient in a digital workplace environment that extends beyond borders. 83% of CIOs believe mobile security threats are a major problem2.
What to do: Digital enterprises must employ a zero-trust security approach that verifies all aspects of a connection — including the device, its applications, users and networks — before granting access.
#2 Making the workplace experience seamless: This requires creating and maintaining the infrastructure and networks to deliver data, applications and connectivity across devices in a frictionless manner. With new-age digital technologies such as IoT, 5G, and AI making significant impact on the way we work, the need for modern infrastructure, high-speed, and reliable network connectivity is soaring.
What to do: Digital enterprises must embrace network modernization through Software-Defined Networking (SD-WAN) to drive intelligent bandwidth allocation depending on prioritization of application criticality, and other key factors. This will help pool/virtualize WAN resources, enforce app security, and reduce hardware footprint. Adopting a bi-modal IT operating model also ensures greater underlying flexibility in infrastructure and services. Enterprises must align network to user needs, define performance for apps and users, and enable datacenter grade robust security at the edge of the enterprise.
#3 Driving effective change management: Workforce transformation is one of the biggest factors that can make or break the success of a digital workplace. While effective change management is about getting all functions to support and embrace workplace changes, three departments in particular i.e. Facilities, IT and HR, should be in sync.
What to do: Organizations should articulate clearly to employees what the digital workplace will do for them, how it will impact their day-to-day activities, and how it can help them be more productive, collaborative, and give greater control over how they use enterprise IT services. Share frequent updates on implementation, ask for feedback, and motivate employees to drive greater uptake and adoption of digital workplace tools.
How Wipro’s digital workplace solutions are leading the change
Wipro’s suite of Digital Workplace solutions extend across the entire employee lifecycle (Pre-hire support, onboarding, employee assistance, productivity & security, as well as offboarding assistance). We deliver persona-driven services with a laser-sharp focus on employee experience and service design. As enterprises adapt to the new normal, our Wipro Live Workspace services backed by solid consulting experience will help define the most logical roadmap for workspace maturity.
Wipro will help you transition seamlessly from a physical to digital workplace environment leveraging our ready-to-use accelerators and frameworks. For details, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.