If You Build a Digital Workplace, Will They Come?

Workspace3 minutes readJun 19th, 2019

A friend of mine has a great SUV with a built-in navigation system. The car is now 13 months old and I noticed that he is using Waze on his smartphone to navigate instead of the car’s navigation system. Why? Two reasons: After the first year, the car’s navigation system needed an update and this was an add-on service. Ouch. Secondly, Waze gives him travel information (about speed traps, for example) that his car’s expensive navigation system does not provide.

If you build it, will they come?

For the navigation system in this SUV, apparently, the answer is “No”.

In fact, it is highly likely that this driver will opt out of the expensive navigation system when it is time to buy his next car. (And I will neither confirm nor deny that I am this SUV owner.)

So, if you build a digital workplace, will they (your employees) come and use it?

More importantly, will your business get value from the investment?

Let’s face it – the “Digital Workplace” exists primarily to enable business. If it doesn’t accomplish that, it is simply a collection of cool technologies that don’t add value to the bottom line. I am happy to say that Unisys’ vision of digital transformation is to make sure that the cool technologies actually do something useful for the business.

It all starts with the Digital Worker. What do they need/want? It comes down to these six attributes:

  1. Ability to conduct business outside of a physical office
  2. Ability to freely move among devices, with apps, data and identity following
  3. Easy collaboration with colleagues and clients around the world
  4. Access to artificial intelligence to make their job easier
  5. Unobtrusive interaction with the Internet of Things (IoT) embedded in the smart office
  6. Intelligent automation that carries out frequent tasks

When you think about the “Digital Worker” in these terms, it is pretty easy to see what needs to be part of the “Digital Workplace”: cloud, mobile, analytics, AI, collaboration, etc. You might say this is the easy part. What is more difficult is making sure that each aspect of the digital workplace contributes in some way to the business:

  • How does mobile-enabling certain workers change their productivity, or, more importantly, their impact on revenue growth?
  • “How can I be sure that the investment I make in automating certain business processes is giving time back to my employees for them to focus on growing revenue?
  • How can I measure that my employees’ productivity is improving after I’ve deployed cloud-based collaboration tools?

These are just 3 examples of the many questions that an enterprise should ask before making technology enhancements to the digital workplace. Asking questions like these is an essential step in planning your digital transformation.

In my next post, I’ll talk about what happens when things go wrong with your digital workplace.

Tags-   digital worker digital workplace end user office Productivity