Create a Positive Work Setting With Digital Workplace Transformation
Content Editor at Workvivo
15 Aug 2023
The idea of a digital workplace transformation initiative is equal parts exciting and terrifying for most business leaders.
It has the potential to produce unprecedented efficiency and business capability, a more seamless customer experience, and better team member wellbeing.
But it’s also a massive commitment and a significant investment that doesn’t yield immediate results – and has a failure rate of around 70%.
If your business is pursuing or considering digital transformation, it’s important to go in with both eyes open so you can get it right the first time. This guide will help you do just that.
We’ll show you why digital transformation matters and which business areas it involves. Then we’ll finish up with actionable tips for a successful digital transformation strategy.
What is digital workplace transformation?
Digital workplace transformation is the ongoing process of integrating digital technologies into the workplace to enhance collaboration, communication, and productivity. It’s more than just implementing new tools, though. Digital transformation goes deeper, reshaping the way work gets done.
Procedures, processes, and even workplace culture are all a part of digital workplace transformation – along with software and hardware tools, of course. Transformations typically involve process automation, advancements in the user experience, and better collaboration tools. This all leads to faster, more informed decision-making.
Why is digital workplace transformation important?
The way we work is changing, and so is what’s possible with workplace technologies. Organizations that want to foster or maintain a competitive edge simply must evolve in how they approach business.
In other words, digital workplace transformation is vital because the businesses that do it will, in time, outperform and outcompete those who stick with the status quo.
Consider how modern businesses (and the employees who staff them) are changing:
- There’s a greater push for hybrid and remote work, as well as flexible schedules
- What those remote workers want often looks different than the old way of operating
- New tools powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning are redefining what’s possible in terms of human productivity
- Customers increasingly expect you to meet them where they want to interact with you, not necessarily on your preferred terms
Technology holds the key to each of these changes (and countless others). But just bolting on an additional tool here and there won’t lead to a cohesive, integrated future. For that, you need true transformation.
The 4 areas of digital transformation in the workplace
If you’re worried that the concept of digital transformation seems loosely defined and even overwhelming in scope, you’re not alone.
To break down this concept into more manageable chunks, most digital workplace transformation experts divide it into four key categories. While you’ll find some variation in the names, we’ve chosen to go with: business model, organization, process, and domain.
Business model transformation is leveraging changes in technology and the market to expand, redefine, or redirect an organization’s business model. Netflix is a prime example here. The leadership of what was then a DVD delivery service recognized the massive opportunity that streaming video held.
The company worked to build out an entirely separate streaming business model, which quickly overtook the original business model. It was a smart transformation play, too.
Looking at the company’s revenue disclosures, the company’s streaming revenue in 2022 was $31.46 billion. And DVD rentals? (Yes, they’re still a thing – at least through September 2023.) DVD revenue was less than $150 million.
Your business might not need such a drastic business model transformation. But it’s certainly worth exploring what new business models and revenue streams are possible in a digitally transformed future.
Organizational transformation is the least technology-dependent area, which can lead to it being overlooked. But in fact, organizational transformation or culture change is the key to all the rest! Done right, it fosters employee satisfaction and employee retention.
You can change up your business model, processes, and domain, but if your people don’t come along for the ride, none of it works as well as it needs to. Organizational transformation requires buy-in, training and education, executive enthusiasm, and a set of digital tools your employees will actually want to use.
Business processes are how work gets done at a business, and they have to be built around the tools and technologies in use.
As your organization adopts new tools and technology, the natural thing to do is to just plug these new elements into existing business processes. We all do this in small ways. The newer, faster printer just slots in where the older, slower one used to be. We enjoy the increased performance, but it doesn’t reshape our workflows.
But as you work toward true digital transformation, you’ll eventually reach a ‘critical mass’ of new tools and technologies. There comes a tipping point where it’s no longer wise to stick with the existing processes. It’s time to rebuild and reimagine them. In other words, it’s time to digitally transform your process.
Domain transformation is the process of redefining where your business’s digital infrastructure lives and how the various parts and pieces interact.
Is on-premises still right for you, or is a cloud transformation a smarter choice? What about private clouds? Hybrid clouds? Edge servers?
Just like with the other areas we’ve discussed, the way you’re already doing it might not be the best way in a digitally transformed future. Identifying that better way and then moving your organization to it – that’s the heart of domain transformation.
Tips for implementing digital transformation in the workplace
Digital transformation is a big deal, so it’s going to take significant time and resources to get it right. To make sure your digital transformation runs as smoothly as possible, start with these tips.
Get leadership buy-in from the start
First up is leadership buy-in. The quickest way to sink a digital transformation project is to dive into it before you have leadership and stakeholders on board. The steps involved are complex and expensive, and they usually involve new technologies and new ways of doing things that might not be familiar to the typical executive leader.
If leadership isn’t sold on the idea, they could balk partway through or slow down the process all along the way. So start by showing leadership the existential threat that comes from not transforming, along with the ways that transforming will improve day-to-day life, outcomes, and profits.
Done well, a digital transformation has the executive team as its most dedicated fans. They act as cheerleaders and guides, sharing enthusiastic messaging that gets the rest of the company on board.
Emphasize employee training and input
The best digital system is the one your people can understand and will actually use. So that means, from the earliest stages, you need input from the people who will be using the tools and systems day in and day out.
Learning a new system is never easy, but when your employees can see exactly how the new system will solve a specific problem they have, buy-in is a breeze.
But change management can’t stop at employee input either. Once new systems and tools are introduced, employees need training on how to use them properly. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that people will figure it out on their own.
You’ll almost certainly face some employee resistance. And while resistance probably is futile in this case, you’ll have a smoother transition if you address and disarm that resistance. Show them how, specifically, the new system will improve their day-to-day operations. Listen to their concerns and address them where possible.
Prioritize security and privacy measures
If a cloud transformation is a part of your digital transformation, then security and privacy measures are crucial. You’ll need to ensure that sensitive data is kept safe during the migration and that you comply with applicable privacy regulations.
Your digital transformation is also the perfect time to reevaluate your current security measures and determine what new steps you’ll need to take in a cloud-based future.
The right IT policies and cybersecurity protocols can save you from all sorts of trouble down the road, so take the time at the outset to determine what needs to change.
Foster seamless integration for a better workspace
Last, as you pursue digital workplace transformation, prioritize tools that can work together as a well-integrated ecosystem for optimal performance.
You don’t want to replace islands of manual processes and analog steps with ‘digital islands’. You’ll just end up with silos and little bits of the workflow that are now digital but still don’t connect well or talk to one another.
Instead, you want to truly reimagine and rebuild your digital workplace strategy using tools that both work and work together seamlessly. As you build the core of your transformed IT environment, look for tools that integrate well with that backbone.
What does digital transformation mean for the future of work?
Digital transformation has deep implications for the future of work and workplace cultures or organizational dynamics.
Consumer expectations are changing, and so are employee expectations. Now that employees have seen what’s possible (especially related to working from home), they are increasingly expecting some flexibility.
Whether that means fully remote or just a more flexible hybrid work environment that allows for work-from-home days, businesses are having to adapt.
Digital transformation gives businesses the tools and systems to operate freely in a hybrid environment. With tools like Workvivo as a part of your transformation strategy, employees can stay connected, up to date, and socially engaged – no matter where they work.
Business strategies will continue to evolve as well, as organizations leverage the latest software and services developments. But digitally transformed businesses can build those additions into their flexible digital backbone much faster and with deeper integration.
Let Workvivo lead the way for your digital transformation
As you work toward a digital transformation for your business, Workvivo can lead the way. Workvivo serves as the digital heart of your organization. It pulls employee communication, employee experience, and employee engagement into a single, remote-friendly platform.
Workvivo is also a social intranet that powers better social connections and better work all at once. It’s almost like a Slack, Microsoft Teams, Facebook, and LinkedIn mashup – but better.
Whatever your digital transformation looks like, Workvivo can help make the workplace culture and communication aspects even stronger.
See Workvivo in action: Request your demo now.