Your Industry Is Probably Ripe for Disruption. Here’s How to Transform Your Digital Workplace.

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“Digital workplace” is a buzzword many of us are familiar with, and it’s often used interchangeably for all sorts of enterprise tech solutions.

So what exactly is the digital workplace? Let’s turn to the smart folks at Deloitte for a definition

“The digital workplace encompasses all the technologies people use to get work done in today’s workplace — both the ones in operation and the ones yet to be implemented. It ranges from your HR applications and core business applications to e-mail, instant messaging and enterprise social media tools and virtual meeting tools.”

In other words, it’s everything you use to get work done, and a quality digital workplace is enormously important for your employees. Think about smartphone apps: If they don’t provide convenience, utility, and ease of use, you don’t use them. Employees have the same expectations for their tools, and thanks to innovations such as cloud-based technologies, enterprises have more quality solutions at their disposal than ever before.

So how can you best create a digital workplace that serves your employees? We spoke with Quicken Loans’ chief information officer, Linglong He, about how organizations can best embrace and implement a game-changing digital workplace.

A Digital Workplace Is About More Than Your Tools

Many organizations believe that creating a digital workplace is simple: Give employees enough pieces of software to use and you’ll have a thriving digital workplace.

But He disagrees, arguing that creating a digital workplace is about a lot more than stacking up tools; it’s about changing old habits within your organization. “It’s a mindset,” she says. “It’s a principle.”

In other words, embracing a digital workplace is everyone’s responsibility, not just the CIO’s or the IT department’s job. It’s everyone’s responsibility to prepare for the disruptions of the future and to constantly be aware of new tools that can streamline processes and automate more tedious ones.

Create Buy-In and Set Goals

Before you buy, He says, you need to evaluate the problems that you want your new tools to solve — and also make sure that the tech you’re interested in will solve them.

Here are some guidelines that He suggests when evaluating technology for your digital workplace:

  • Consult with various departments to ensure that the stakeholders who will be using these tools will be getting the solutions they need. The key rationale is simple: Will your tech make a positive impact on people every day, and move your organization closer to the solutions it needs?
  • Ensure that your tech is user-friendly.
  • Look closely at all functions of the tech you’re considering, and don’t be afraid to reject potential solutions because they don’t offer enough for your organization. It’s a simple evaluation, He says: “Does it do the function? Does it have the features it promised?”

Above all, He says, there’s one important factor: Make sure your tech is making your employees’ lives easier. There’s no place in your digital workplace for a tool that doesn’t meet this threshold.

Ensure Compatibility

Another issue when building a digital workplace is ensuring that your tools are compatible with each other. Cloud-based tech has unleashed a frenzy of innovation in the enterprise space, but that means organizations need to pay close attention to how adaptable their tech is. “It’s about execution,” He says.

As you look closer at a best-of-breed stack for your organization, He recommends that you ensure that your tools will work together. If you have to use a workaround or a hack to get two tools to work together, find a better solution. In a marketplace as competitive as the enterprise software space, there’s certainly one out there.

And finally, have patience. Don’t rush into purchase decisions. No matter what the cost of your new tool, implementation is an expensive and time-consuming process. Ensure that you’re making the right decision for your organization so you can unlock the full potential of your new tool — and your people.

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