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The First Step in Digital Transformation is Defining the Digital Space

The First Step in Digital Transformation is Defining the Digital Space

Business and government models are being disrupted because of the indisputable and continuously increasing metamorphosis to the digital workplace and digital world.

A digital workplace is a workplace that has been redefined and harmonized with the use of easily accessible system-wide digital work-flow made up of compatible technologies and information sharing practices to handle the data output. 

Organizations will need to be more adaptive to change, develop new capabilities, and put new practices into place in order to redefine the way they create, deliver and capture value, when they are converting to the digital workplace.

To start with, an organization has to find the definition of what a digital workplace means for that organization. No company should attempt to try to tackle digital just for the sake of doing it. Defining business goals and how digital will be enabled in the organization, requires strong executive support and leadership. There must be buy-in and participation at the top, or it won't work.

Ultimately, a successful digital workplace is about way more than just technology. It also requires organizational and culture changes.

In the process of running and managing a digital workplace, there are certain elements that are particularly important: 

  • Trustworthy Workforce
    - In a digital workplace, it's essential to have employees that can be trusted to manage their time effectively and work without constant supervision. Especially if they are remote workers, cyber-commuters or working from home. 

  • Defined Organizational Structure and Culture
    - In addition to building a self-motivated, reliable team, digital workplaces must have a defined organizational structure so that all employees and staff clearly understand their individual roles, their place in the organizational hierarchy, and the flow of decisions throughout the organization.

    To realize the promise of digital business, the company culture must also have leaders that are willing to shift decision-making authority so that others can take action. A person with a "great idea" should be able to become the owner of their idea.

  • Smart Technology for Communication
    - Email alone is not sufficient for digital workplace communication. The ideal method involves using chat software, such as Slack, that enables open, asynchronous communication between team members.

    This software also provides a written record of work done and decisions made that is searchable and centralized. 

  • Just the Right Amount of Collaboration
    - For some organizations, the digital workplace has been associated with digital workplace tools that support collaboration, and the thinking is that the more digital tools there are to support collaboration, the more productive a workplace will be.

    However researchers have found that there is such a thing as too much collaboration, because it can be distracting and counter-productive to workplace effectiveness. There are now hundreds of offerings in the digital collaboration tool space, and yet work hours are getting longer and productivity is going downhill.

    So, increased digital collaboration should not be associated with improved workplace productivity or improved digital experience (employee experience). The goal of a digital workplace should be to put in place the means to support, measure, and optimize effectiveness, productivity and employee engagement.

    With any technology deployment, it is vital for organizations to have an understanding of what problem the solution is intended to solve. What needs to be accomplished? Is productivity failing due to archaic processes, clunky systems, unneeded redundancy and task repetition? Are these problems related to technology, or caused by a policy issue, a deficiency in training, or a circuitous process?

  • It Takes More Than Digital Tools to Make a Digital Workplace
    - The digital workplace is not simply a compilation of digital tools. The digital workplace is the sum total of all the various apps and programs being run by different people and teams across different regions of an organization's geographical footprint, together with all the data being produced.

  • Measuring the Success of Workplace Collaboration and the Efficacy of Productivity Tools
    - Organizations can't examine only a single score to understand the value and success of their digital workplace initiative without also considering the driver of that intiative and the problems that need to be solved. 

    While deployment of simple tools may utilize adoption rates as a measure, other initiatives that increase capabilities of multi-channel communication and journey management would have very different success metrics than those designed to improve data availability, access control and retention. So any meaningful benchmark should be primarily derived from the business case or use case. 

Defining the digital workplace comes down to identifying what it is that needs to be done, or what needs to be accomplished, and what tools can make that possible. 

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About the Author

PABlo Bley

PABlo is an artist, musician, author, inventor, serial entrepreneur and technology evangelist, and has years of experience designing, developing, speaking, and writing about technology. As a prolific blogger, PABlo writes on a regular basis for a number of online communities and learning provider outlets, where he contributes science journalism articles, business-oriented and educational content and shares his expertise in instructional systems design, content-marketing, cyber security, and thought leadership.
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