Why CIOs and IT teams should push for strong employee communications solutions
By Jen Busch.
Almost a century after the Digital Revolution, we are in the midst of a digital evolution. But where the former ushered in profound changes for the global workforce as technology shifted from physical machines to electronic devices, the latter has happened almost overnight and its impact on how and where we work will have huge consequences for the future of almost every company on the planet. Yes, that includes yours.
At its core, this fast-changing adaptation centers on the lifeblood of every functioning business – digital communication and employee engagement. Once these are simple and effective then any firm can remain robust enough to navigate the stormy seas of change. If these core tenets have not evolved – if the flow of information remains disrupted or diverted or staff are disaffected or disinterested – then the only change your business will experience will be negative.
Let’s take a closer look
Digital communication and employee engagement tools, apps and solutions tend to be owned, driven and promoted by HR or internal communications functions. These solutions have a direct impact on the smooth flow of information through an organization, help keep employees informed and underpin a strong employee experience.
While these solutions provide great value for IT functions, having a powerful, adaptable digital communication platform can help CIOs meet a number of different objectives and tick the box for IT functions at the same time.
So what are the benefits of embracing the digital evolution in your business?
Reducing shadow IT and associated risks
Is your workforce having conversations on personal communication apps (such as WhatsApp) while you struggle to have them engage with company comms? It’s a tough ask to get your message across when there are several platforms in use. Not to mention the data security risks of such ‘shadow IT’. The best approach is to provide an official, mobile-first communications app that avoids the need for employees to turn to unapproved and unsupported solutions, and provides some level of control, helping you avoid risks such as data breaches and GDPR issues.
Reduce app duplication and cut costs
In our free book “The Digital Communication Landscape: Getting it right” we explore how many organizations have a proliferation of overlapping communication apps and solutions. How many apps are used for groups to message each other? Here there are very likely to be opportunities for significant cost reductions and efficiencies by simplifying the communication landscape, not only in terms of reducing licensing costs, but also the associated costs of managing and supporting multiple solutions.
Driving and support standardized communication
Simplifying the communication landscape also has multiple other benefits. A classic headache for IT teams is to try and establish one standardized communication platform so everybody in the company can communicate with each other. When there are multiple systems in place which not all users have access to, it causes considerable confusion about which tool to use. It can spark lots of questions and access requests to the IT support team. Adopting a single, enterprise-wide app that is easy to use and deploy makes life easier for everyone, including the IT helpdesk.
Open up your digital workplace
IT functions are increasingly focused on driving adoption of the whole digital workplace and demonstrating return on investment. A strong mobile-first communications app can be a significant catalyst to opening up the digital workplace to all staff, particularly frontline or deskless employees.
A good digital communications app can be a highly effective entry point into other apps and content, including tools across Microsoft 365 platform. An app that facilitates adoption of these tools also shows ROI to your senior stakeholders. An app is most effective when you can drive integrations out of the box through connectors and it removes barriers to adoption for employees thanks to easy access via single sign-on.
Reducing reliance on email is an explicit objective for many IT departments. Implementing a compelling employee communications app that provides a clear alternative to email can be at the center of efforts to reduce the burden of the inbox.
Supporting IT processes
A communications app can improve various IT processes, particularly around user support and awareness. It can help streamline processes and also drive self-service among employees. Here are just some of the ways we have seen employee communication apps used by IT functions:
- Issuing urgent IT alerts, such as announcing outages or warning users about viruses or phishing scams
- Raising support tickets usually through simple integrations
- Providing information for users on basic IT issues to help drive self-service
- Establishing ‘power user’ support communities for more specialised apps to support end users with questions and issue resolution
- Raising awareness of key issues such as cyber-security.
Supporting business continuity
The digital evolution accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic has proved highly challenging, and IT teams have stepped up to support essential business continuity by providing access to various collaboration and communication tools. A strong employee communication tool helps keep employees connected and informed in highly volatile times, as well as supporting normal business operations; a single communication platform that all employees can access is beyond doubt an essential ingredient of business continuity.
Supporting digital transformation
At a higher level, supporting digital transformation is a key strategic contribution of IT functions. Here, an employee app that supports real-time communications and collaboration is often a key ingredient and enabler of digital transformation. It opens up the digital workplace to all, provides a platform for communities and teams to collaborate and work in new ways, can be a channel to support innovation, shows employees the possibilities of digital channels, provides important metrics about channel use and so on, all of which contribute to your business’s ‘digital transformation’.
Changing perceptions of IT
A communications app is a game-changer for improving employee experience and driving organizational change; it is also very popular with staff. Providing such an essential tool can be a timely reminder of the strategic importance of IT professionals and the value they bring.
The digital evolution requires change – a change in how we work, how we communicate, and how we drive our businesses forward. Luckily, the tools we need to survive are at our fingertips…
A digital communications app is a must-have solution for HR functions, Internal Comms teams and also CIOs. If you’d like a demo of the Workvivo platform and see the contribution it can make to your organization and your IT department then Book A Demo. You will get a real sense of the difference Workvivo can make within 30 minutes.