There’s nothing new about the digital workplace; the fact is we’ve all been digital for quite some time now. However, as the pace of technological change continues at an accelerated rate, the pressure to keep up is enormous. But when time is an issue and budgets are tight, how can you avoid making expensive bad choices in a relentless quest to keep up with the latest digital workplace solution that promises the earth? It’s a very real problem for small to medium-sized enterprises in particular and so in this post, we offer some assistance. We use our experience to identify some of the potential pitfalls to consider before rushing into purchasing the latest upgrade, the newest app or state-of-the-art software tool. First though, let’s define what we mean by digital workplace.
Digital Workplace: What Is It?
We all have an idea of what we mean by digital workplace, but in the interests of clarity we set out the following definition to guide our discussion. The digital workplace encompasses all the technologies that people use in their daily work. And so not only does it include email, instant messaging and virtual meeting platforms. It also includes HR apps, CRM tools and business systems like SAP as well as intranets. It’s therefore, a broad notion that captures the entire range of technological solutions you are likely to find in any modern workplace.
Digital Workplace: Potential Pitfalls
So now that we have a shared understanding of what the digital workplace means let’s turn our attention to some of the common traps that businesses fall into when trying to keep up with the latest trends.
Match Digital Workplace Solutions With A Pain Point
It may seem obvious but it’s surprising how many companies overlook this simple fact: all digital workplace solutions need to address an organizational pain point. Most companies will have at least one example (and sometimes several) of a failed technological solution that simply never gained traction within the workplace. And usually, the reason for this is that the solution wasn’t closely aligned with strategic objectives. In essence, it failed to answer an organizational need. And without that driving force, the technology simply never got off the ground.
So the key lesson here is that the starting point for considering the deployment of any digital workplace solution has to be a need within the organization. Don’t let yourself get transfixed by the all-singing and all-dancing presentation from the provider. It may well be the most amazing app ever, but if doesn’t address a pain point in your business, then quite simply it’s not worth the investment.
Beware Of Shadow IT
There’s no doubt that shadow IT is a reality in most organizations. The truth is that many employees are sourcing their own solutions to those organizational pain points. It’s so easy now to identify solutions and download tools directly from the internet that many staff members will have done just that if they perceive that your company’s platforms fail to meet their needs or expectations. Aside from the lack of central oversight, this practice can also result in compromised security, issues with compliance and compatibility, as well as a lack of ownership and knowledge by business owners and managers.
Shadow IT is certainly a challenge in the digital workplace, and so business owners and managers need to set up processes and procedures for central oversight when it comes to procurement of new technologies. The HR department may well have a need for a hr portal solution, but is it compatible with your payroll system? And what if the marketing department goes ahead and implements a project management tool that is different from the one used by the Research and Development team? How will that affect joint working and collaboration between the teams? And while a certain amount of flexibility may well be required to meet the needs of different teams, a degree of central prescription is also required in the interests of the organization as a whole.
Don’t Implement Changes Unless They Are Needed
If your current systems are working perfectly well, then ask yourself this: what’s to be gained from changing? There is a temptation to see new technology as being an end in itself, but unless it’s going to save time or somehow make achieving a work task easier, then by the time you’ve factored in the implementation expenses, plus the costs of training staff members in how to get the most out of the new technology, the cost savings don’t seem as great as perhaps they first did. All you’ve ended up with is just a fancier version of something that was already working well.
What’s more, it’s important to try and avoid initiative overload for staff members. The last thing you want to hear is that cynical, collective groan from employees when you announce the implementation of a new app. The truth is that employees don’t need another app to log on to or platform to check unless it’s going to make a real difference to their everyday working lives.
So make sure that you also examine each potential platform from the perspective of the end user and the value it adds to their experience.
Intranet Solutions In the Digital Workplace
Before we draw a conclusion, it would be remiss of an intranet provider not to mention the potential of intranet solutions in relation to the digital workplace! You see an intranet can tick a number of boxes in a single platform. For a start it can simultaneously address several organizational pain points including the following:
- improved internal communications
- increased opportunities for joint working and collaboration
- enhanced employee engagement
- simplified document management and sharing of files and folders across the company
- streamlined and automated business processes.
What’s more, it’s a flexible platform that can easily be adapted to meet different needs within the business. For example, team news pages can sit alongside corporate ones to deliver more specific updates and information to relevant personnel. In addition, the marketing department can use the intranet’s forms builder or, if preferred, an embedded Google Form so that staff members can book marketing or branding materials for display at an industry conference. And if the sales team wants to undertake a survey of team members’ views on a new promotion, then it’s easy to set one up on the intranet.
And another great advantage of the intranet platform is that it is capable of growing and changing alongside your business. The modest monthly fee allows for unlimited numbers of users and data storage and so if you go from one to one hundred employees in say 18 months, your intranet can easily cope with the increased staff numbers and data requirements.
In addition, the intuitive administration tools mean that it’s a straightforward process to add or delete users. You can also create an unlimited number of pages and subpages using simple image, text and video display tools.
So when it comes to a versatile, cost-effective digital workplace solution that will stand the test of time, an intranet is hard to beat. Explore the possibilities for yourself with MyHub’s no-obligation demonstration or free 14-day trial.