The concept of digital transformation has many components but put simply, it is fundamentally deploying the use of technology to change the way people do things to streamline efficiencies. Digital transformation was a buzzy trend before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has had a resurgence of interest in light of the changes to the workplace in 2020 with organisations adopting new digital tools and processes to better support remote work.
Digital transformation is something all successful businesses, large and small, should be investing in now to ensure the needs of their workplace technology is met in the future. Now, in 2021, this investment is even more critical with a viable COVID-19 vaccine being distributed and planning for a phased return to the office begins for many companies. Google, for example, recently announced its plans for a hybrid return to work in fall 2021. The reality is that a majority of organisations will adopt a hybrid-approach long-term even as physical workplaces open back up. So how can decision-makers address this evolving hybrid model of work in their digital transformation and re-opening planning?
If you’re considering transforming your business processes and culture to be digital-first, there are several trends and overarching themes to consider to best suit the new workplace needs.
Many employees have discovered newfound work/life balance with remote setups as a result of COVID and telecommuting is still likely to be a big part of how they work in 2021 and beyond. Recent research from Steelcase on work trends found that “the vast majority of people expect to work in the office, and 54% say they only expect to work from home one day a week or less.”
At the same time, employees have also acknowledged the benefits of physical workplaces and offices that are harder to replicate virtually – one of them being the interpersonal connections and relationships they are able to forge in person. According to the same research from Steelcase, “the top two reasons people say they want to be back in the office are to connect with colleagues and to feel a sense of shared purpose within the organisation.”
With these considerations in mind, leaders developing a digital transformation strategy for the return to the workplace should focus on space design and technology that supports flexible collaboration, from wherever teams are working. Employees should be able to move from each style of work fluidly, whether they’re in a conference room in the office in the AM and at home working in the PM. Collaboration and UC technology can enable this seamless transition by replicating the in-person experience through video display technology, and vice-versa.
Employees should be able to walk into any workspace, regardless of location, and get to work collaborating with fellow team members without a lot of setup time. Features like the ability to show cloud-based real-time annotations in a meeting with (and from) everyone on a call and then saving and sending the meeting’s ideas and edits make it easy to connect in-person teams with those working from home. It also fosters a sense of connectivity by eliminated siloed conversations and meetings that are happening in-person and opening the possibilities of how teams must work today.
In the last year, workplace software and platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Google Meet have all faced a boom in adoption: Zoom’s monthly subscriber base jumped from 10 million in December 2019 to over 300 million in March 2020, for example.
For leaders looking ahead at their digital transformation strategy, ensuring compatibility and compliance with all of the tools that their teams are using is essential to keeping both productivity and employee satisfaction high. Some of the common challenges with rolling these changes out include an assurance that the installed technology will work seamlessly with an enterprises’ existing OS and software, that it will be totally secure and that it will be easy-to-use for their entire employee base, including those who are not stationed within the main office.
There are also logistical challenges around system design and choosing products that cut down on the number of devices you have in a meeting room or huddle space. To solve for this, decision-makers should look for all-in-one displays that feature audio/video capabilities, embedded cameras, and a full suite of native support for all the tools and platforms that employees use across the enterprise.
Analytics and data have always been an important driver in decision-making for the enterprise, but with the return-to-work post-COVID, they will become even more critical to ensuring both operational efficiency as well as ensuring employee comfort and confidence. Commercial real estate and office space are at a premium, from the basic cost-per-square-foot to the amount it costs to manage those spaces. Now, with the rise of remote and hybrid teams, companies are looking to invest in the most prudent tools that enable communication and collaboration from anywhere.
Workspace intelligence analytic solutions built into workplace hardware such as meeting room displays allow enterprise decision-makers to take immediate action to re-evaluate meeting room, UC hardware and software ROI, as well as guide future planning.
The pandemic has put an emphasis on the large impact that digital transformation and strategy plays in an overall organisation’s business implementation. Even for organisations that are still making decisions on when and how they will return to the physical workplace, it is important to think ahead at how it should be executed, and the role that technology can play in doing so. Planning a digital transformation strategy now that encompasses the multi-faceted needs of the new workplace will position leaders and their organisations to have the best chance of success, business continuity and employee satisfaction in 2021 and beyond.
Original article from UC Today