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Seven steps to enable the digital workplace

The “digital workplace” is not a one-size-fits-all, out-of-a-box product. Every organisation has unique needs, people and goals. That’s why, to foster a successful digital workplace, it's important for each part of the solution to be chosen and adapted to reflect your specific business needs.

These seven-steps are the bare bones for your workplace’s digital transformation. They’ll help you understand your business’ and workforce’s needs, ensure plans for digitalisation align with business objectives, and give the basic principles for rolling out your new, digital workplace.

So, let’s start with number one: the people.

1. Put the right people in the transformation team

Like any project, the right leadership and team is key to successfully realising your digital workplace. Picking the ideal people for the job will mean the transformation gets off to the best possible start, and will set the tone for the remainder of the process.

It's important to identify the people who can guarantee the specific needs of your organisation and your staff. In a typical, larger business, a transformation team might include senior leaders across IT, HR and the key business areas of your organisation – alongside line managers with hands-on experience of current working practices.

2. Understand your workforce

The benefits of the digital workplace may never be fully realised within your business if the needs of all types of employee are not properly considered. It is therefore important to objectively analyse your workforce – clearly identifying how staff operate, their work patterns, needs and the challenges they face.

With a better understanding of workers and their practices, you can then determine the appropriate business areas and processes that can be digitally transformed, and the opportunities for improvement.

3. Clarify your goals

Clarity between the aims and objectives of your organisation, and the goals set for your digital workplace, will go a long way in helping to deliver the desired outcome. By clarifying efforts and investments, and defining what the future will look like, you're ensuring that all staff are on the same page, working towards the same goal.

With the foundations for your digital implementation now in place, you can look to identify the provider that will deliver the right technologies for your organisation.

4. Adapt your processes

The digital workplace will enable improved connectivity across your business through new communication and collaboration tools. But for this to have the desired impact, there may also need to be behavioural and cultural changes within the organisation to adapt to the new working environment.

The team implementing the transformation project should consider the potential internal challenges and resistance that may occur as a result, and identify the necessary management and training methods to overcome them. By considering this before the transformation begins, you're allowing time to prepare for and avoid any problems, rather than having to pause and adapt your project as they arise.

5. Start small and scale

As you look to undertake your digital transformation, there will be existing areas and processes within your business that can quite clearly and simply benefit from digitalisation – these should be your primary focus and provide some quick wins.

These may include operations that stand out as needing new technological input, such as simple processes that can be completed via machine automation, or new business opportunities, where the project can be activated by the digital tools. By focusing on smaller pilot projects, you’re enabling the wider digital implementation with the best possible chance of initial success. This will give your team the experience and confidence to succeed in larger projects further down the road.

6. Initiate widespread change

Following on from the progression of your pilot projects, you can use the lessons learnt from these experiences to adapt the wider roll-out as you begin to scale-up the digital implementation.

The promotion of a working culture where staff are encouraged to be open to sharing and discussing their views is highly constructive at this stage. This will help identify any areas that need specific training, or any common employee concerns that require action. From here you are then able to tailor the wider implementation to individual business lines and users.

7. Repeat

Technology will always continue to develop, as will the needs of your staff and the expectations of your customers. This process will be a continuous cycle – stand still, and be at risk of being left behind.

With one eye always looking to the future, you’re ensuring your business can identify new opportunities for digital expansion – finding where a technological solution can be effectively applied and then implementing it. Your business can then benefit by capitalising on changes at the earliest opportunity.

Following these steps will go a long way in ensuring that your business is always looking to empower itself with the right digital workplace technologies. This will help to drive overall business growth, ensuring you can adapt to any future change and rise above competitors.

For more on transforming your workplace, download our practical guide - The digital workplace: A blueprint for innovation.

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