Digital Transformation is nothing without a Digital Workplace: 6 insights from new research

This article first appeared on Linkedin Pulse

A recent Gartner Report shows that your digital transformation journey will be a dead end unless your employees are on the road with you, and this means your team needs to be fully empowered to engage in the digital adventure ahead. Make the most of workplace technology that enhances employee experience. 

You need to ask important questions like “What’s the point of coming to work if everything is digital?” and answer these questions as an organisation. Like any change in a company, if it is just a decision coming from the top, it’s unlikely to gain traction with all teams. 

New problems lead to new solutions, which in this case means new ways of working. Work with, and not against, your teams, technology and space to create a solution that is effective and efficient for everyone.  

As a leader, it’s your job to guide your organisation through these changes, and set everyone up for success. This is especially important for something like digital transformation which has too many answers that seem correct, and too many products, services and vendors to choose from?

So what does it look like to 'walk the walk' of digital workplace and digital transformation? How can you make the most of the opportunities and stay on track?

Awareness:

Awareness of the benefits Digital Transformation doesn’t mean that only the C-Suite is aware - this means the whole team is aware. Allow the employees to take the organisation on a journey and not the other way around. 

Making sure everyone is on the road to success means making sure everyone is aware the road exists - encourage your team to share new ways of working with each other, and get buy-in early on when educating your team about small digital workflow changes making big output changes. This will also make sure you’ve got a balance of support for both well-established workplace tech and emerging technologies like AI, modern meeting applications and collaborative work management. 

Alignment:

A key piece of any digital transformation strategy is to align the strategy and technology with the core business objectives - this is more important than ever. 

There’s a key difference between running to something and running from something - when you run to something you’re running in a clear direction. 

Approach workplace technology as something that helps you run faster towards your goal. Any movement should be forward momentum, and not turbulence. There will always be irrelevant technology vendors, solutions and products on the market that might just be superfluous or, in a worst case scenario, make you run off course - just treat this as background noise. Actually using new technology in your digital workplace will help to keep everyone aligned to your strategies and values, and ignore the distractions. 

Acceleration: 

Just as emerging technologies within the workplace are accelerating collaboration capabilities, efficiency and employee experience, they can also be accelerating confusion and digital disorientation.

A digital workplace alongside digital transformation will make sure you’ve got momentum as an organisation, and make sure this momentum is accelerating you towards the digital transformation goals you’ve set as a team. This is much easier if you’re not distracted by ‘side missions’ - which is another reason that organisation-wide awareness of your goals and vision is so important. 

Application:

Just start. It’s not enough to know of this change that is growing and extending around you - the true value comes into play when you combine both awareness and acceleration through application. This is where the magic happens. 

Often, we don’t know what we don’t know, and bugs aren’t found until people get started and put new technology through its paces. Decide and start walking the walk, and the path ahead will become more clear for you and your team. 

Don’t just develop new technologies that reshape work and the workplace - deploy them too. 

Analysis:

One of the key benefits of digital transformation is the workplace and ROI data that becomes available - make the most of it! Your room booking data might show that your staff prefer huddle spaces over traditional meeting rooms - run with this information and allow it to inform your space allocation decisions. Your meeting attendance data might show that lots of meetings are being booked in, but aren’t being attended - use this insight as a doorway to learn more about why this is happening, and what’s happening in place of these traditional meetings. There are lots of answers available - the data that lies in the intersection of digital workplace and digital transformation is always a great place to start. 

Amplification:

If you want to amplify your digital transformation strategy, enable and empower your team through a digital workplace. Changing surroundings can change your point of view, and this is very applicable to smart workplaces. 

Don’t yell into the void by just talking about changes that will be happening behind the scenes, get started, keep going and keep optimising and your message will be heard loud and clear. 

Make the most of this amplification, and seize the opportunity to shape your organisation’s critical digital journey. 

Wrap up:

Time and time again, research from respected firms is saying that digitally enabled and empowered workplaces are vital to the success of present and future digital strategies. 

However, having a digitally enabled and empowered workplace doesn’t just mean that the C-Suite all get VR goggles. True Digital Transformation towards a Digital Workplace means everyone is on board, and running towards a brighter future, whatever that means for their role. 

If you’d like to learn more about the journey ahead, or the journey you’re already on, feel free to reach out or ask for an intro.