by Paige O'Neill

How to maintain progress toward becoming a collaborative digital workplace

Dec 05, 2017
Collaboration SoftwareDigital TransformationIT Leadership

A digital workplace is a new paradigm for collaboration and teamwork – but getting there won’t happen overnight.

6 collaboration
Credit: Thinkstock

It’s important to determine where your company currently sits along the path towards becoming a truly collaborative digital workplace. But once you’ve made that determination, what’s next? How can you keep your organization moving forward?

Here are the key things you need to do:

1. Keep it real

Remain pragmatic about your collaboration maturity, and stay true to the strategic roadmap you’ve developed. That’s not to say things won’t need to be tweaked now and then. As your organization matures, needs may change. Build flexibility into your plan so you can periodically reassess and adjust as needed.

2. Focus on the business applications

Understand fully what your users need to do in each workspace and how those goals impact the business overall. At a very fundamental level, employees want meeting areas and technology that functions. They need them to be robust and reliable. Once those basics are accomplished, move on to ways you can enhance collaboration. Take videoconferencing, for instance. Videoconferencing is a valuable tool for restoring some of the important human interactions that’s lost when people aren’t physically in the same room. But it doesn’t let you use, or even see, the whiteboard, which is often a big focus in working-group meetings.

3. Have one eye on the future

Bring in workplace SIs and design resources early in the process to maximize investments. Cookie-cutter approaches no longer apply. Every workplace is unique because every organization has unique business goals. What’s more, how a space is used today may not necessarily be the way that space is used next year—or even a month from now. These days, I’m seeing a drive towards multi-purpose environments and flexible meeting spaces.

4. Keep going!

Don’t stop until your optimized. Be fussy about finding the right technology, the solution that can best enhance and scale your physical workspace and culture initiatives. Why? Because integrated technology delivers value. It can be a game changer, the facilitator that accelerates decision making, encourages new ideas, fast-tracks the development of new products, expands the power of remotely connected teams, updates management more effectively… the list goes on and on.

Ultimately, your goal as CIO is to blend technology, physical spaces and people so that they all come together to be the most productive. Think in terms of a “borderless room solution,” one that allows employees to engage across any device, regardless of where they are working. And keep in mind that to be truly borderless, a digital workplace needs to go beyond just audio and visual. People also need to share content. Context and access matter much more than they used to, and because of that, the collaboration tools you choose must be able to leverage a variety of different inputs—content, voice, video—simultaneously and across any device.

You may want to start by working to improve a regular event that’s attended by multiple people in your organization. Consider your daily meetings, for example. How could you scale those and make them borderless? What technology do you need to create a better employee experience? How will that better employee experience increase productivity?

A digital workplace is a new paradigm for collaboration and teamwork. But as I’ve mentioned before, getting there won’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s so important for you to maintain focus and keep moving forward. As you do, you’ll start reaping real-world benefits from your collaboration journey.