This week we start discussing the digital workplace with a bang. (Watch this space for a big release in the next few days.) Observing the discussions to date, it’s interesting to step back and observe the activity and momentum of the movement as a whole.
There’s no question that organisations need to work better and smarter, allowing staff to collaborate in more natural ways, and making better use of the technology that’s already widely used in the consumer space. The challenge, however, is to get widespread support for the big changes required, amongst senior management and staff as a whole.
We’ve been here before. The digital workplace comes as the latest in a number of “movements” that have all provided great ideas, but have failed to get adoption.
A brief history:
- Knowledge management, which aimed to bring together people, process and technology to underpin knowledge retention and better decision-making (amongst other goals). It’s now generally agreed that knowledge management is “dead”, or at least, towards the bottom of the hype curve.
- Intranet 2.0, which drew on web 2.0 to argue that intranets must become more interactive and collaborative. A great idea, but the timing was bad (web 2.0 was fading as a term by the time intranet 2.0 came along).
- Enterprise 2.0, which took a broader view of the modern workplace, through a collaborative and social lens. While this movement is still going strong, it’s yet to gain mainstream adoption.
And now comes the digital workplace, which makes the unarguable statement that organisations are pretty primitive compared to what’s happening the wider (consumer) world, and that we need to adopt new ways of working to allow staff to be truly productive.
Will this be the movement that takes the world by storm?
We suggest three starting points that the digital workplace must meet:
Three starting points for the digital workplace
- Concrete vision. Too many of the discussions in all of the movements listed above are in abstract terms. What’s needed is a concrete vision that shows how all the pieces come together in practical terms. It must be obvious, outside of the “inner circle” of those already sold on the digital workplace, what all this means in the real world.
- Simplicity for staff. The digital workplace must go beyond just meeting the needs of knowledge workers and the technologically-inclined. It must make working life simpler and more productive for the actual workers in organisations, particularly frontline and operational staff.
- Business value. While it’s lovely to foster collaboration, connect staff and improve engagement, this is not enough. The digital workplace must, as quickly as possible, demonstrate how it directly affects the bottom line in organisations. This is where many of the previous movements failed, and where the digital workplace must succeed if it’s to gain a “seat at the table” at senior managers meetings.
More to come
As we hinted at the beginning of this post, we’ll be doing a big release on the digital workplace later this week. This will tackle the first point head on, as well as giving useful insight into the other two points.
We’re excited about the potential of the digital workplace, and see it as a natural extension of the ten years of work we’ve been doing in the intranet space. So let’s make this happen!
Watch this space for more…