Achieving success together in the digital workplace

For a successful transition to hybrid work, it is not enough to simply hand employees a laptop and set up a VPN connection. What they need is a digital platform that enables them to network company-wide and collaborate wherever they are. The approach used to create such a platform plays just as vital a role as a company’s particular starting situation.  

It was not too long ago that Annika had to share a laptop with two other colleagues so they could take turns working from home. At the beginning of the pandemic, her company – like many others – was still unprepared to meet all the demands of remote work. However, working from home – initially a makeshift solution born out of necessity – would soon evolve, establishing itself at her company as a New Work concept. Now, Annika and many of her colleagues no longer want to return to the office full time, expecting their employer to adapt permanently to the new situation. This goes beyond the company’s existing technological framework. It requires an adaptation of operational processes and ultimately a transformation of the entire culture of collaboration. 

The following theses on process optimization are derived from previous findings on New Work:  

  • The more flexible a company’s structures and processes for collaboration are and the more personal responsibility it gives its employees, the more adaptable the company is. This also increases its resilience to crises. 
  • An integrated, flexible workplace, for example based on the Microsoft platform, creates a solid foundation for the rapid achievement of corporate goals despite unpredicted changes and external factors.  
  • To this end, it is important to understand and implement the hybrid model of collaboration and to develop it continuously on both a professional and a technical level.  

A well-functioning digital workplace requires much more than just a good Internet connection. It requires an integrated collaboration platform. But what platform is most suitable? This depends on the company’s degree of maturity, business goals, and use cases. External consulting can aid in finding and successfully implementing the most fitting solution. 

New Work novices: How to get started with the digital workplace

Annika and her team email urgent customer documents back and forth from their home offices in order to work on them together. That is not only time-consuming and nerve-racking, but also means the customer has to wait. To speed up the process, Annika and her team meet at the company. But they were unable to reserve the meeting room remotely, and now it is occupied – by an internal networking event, no less. Annika was not aware of this event, however, because she could not view the bulletin board from her home office. The consequences: frustration, delays and, in the worst case, even the failure of a project.  

The efficiency of processes should not depend on the work location of the employee. Digitalization can create greater freedom here. But what is the key to the success of location-independent collaboration? To answer this question, it is first worth taking a look at potential use cases of a company that is just starting the transformation process. 


Remote collaboration? No problem with the right tools!

Collaboration platforms with cloud integration, such as Microsoft Office, are indispensable for location-independent collaboration. Tools such as Exchange, Teams, OneDrive, and Office apps enable joint and secure location-independent editing of documents and offer straightforward meeting options. In addition, they allow the flexible booking of rooms when organizing face-to-face meetings. With SharePoint, employees can access the latest news from the different business units and the management in the form of a state-of-the-art intranet, or even share contributions themselves.  

Governance rules form the basis for setting up these tools. They determine, for example, who has access rights to which shared documents, how long teams remain in place, and who is allowed to cancel room reservations. This is the only way to avoid chaos.  

Getting one’s bearings in the jungle of tools

Parallel to preparing on a technological level, a company must conduct interviews and apply a roadmapping approach in order to define the tools to be used for collaboration in the future. Implementation is carried out by change management experts, who accompany employees on their journey to hybrid work, giving them information about innovations that they can understand and training them to use the tools that they need to use.   

Fast, simple, and ready to use

Corporate IT now has a precisely configured application platform at its disposal which can be used to transfer analog or on-premises processes to the cloud, or at least to integrate them there. Employees have understood the New Work concept and can apply initial solutions in practice. Now it possible to pursue modern working practices from any location – and the first step towards digital transformation has been taken. 

Advanced & cutting-edge level: Integrated digital experience for all employees

Annika and her team have now been working together for some time using various online applications. However, she still needs to approve certain processes for production on paper. Any potential virtual approval would be carried out using a tool that is not integrated into the existing platform. This results in delays due to media discontinuities or unclear responsibilities, which run counter to the goal of boosting agility.  

Although the IT transformation is in full swing or crucial changes have already been managed, the next step is to fully involve frontline workers and to integrate an approach based on the holistic, individual experience of each and every employee. Their work processes and organizational structures as well as corporate culture are actively adapted to the circumstances and supported along the way. 

Comprehensive networking

In order to ensure that all employees are truly able to collaborate in a flexible way, the option of networking in cross-company communities should exist, for example via Yammer. This requires a certain level of expertise, which can be shared via Viva Suite, for example. This way, employees can continuously develop their abilities. 

Developing applications independently

By using modern low-code platforms, departments can develop their own solutions. Users become citizen developers. Assuming greater personal responsibility makes the company more adaptable and more immune to crises. The Microsoft Power Platform, for example, makes it possible to implement applications and workflows quickly and easily, with no programming required.  

Solutions for all requirements

Individual solutions like meeting and building control with Smart Workspace and Office Wizard, the implementation of the latest .NET apps to replace legacy systems, and state-of-the-art (video) telephony with Teams simplify numerous processes in day-to-day work. Specialized management consultancies know how individual aspects can be integrated in different environments, even without a holistic system.  

Gradual rollout

The further development of the culture of collaboration must be evaluated and prioritized according to defined criteria. This is followed by fine-tuned implementation in targeted projects. At the same time, the company trains and motivates its employees to digitalize small everyday processes on their own. This increases efficiency iteratively, saves working time, and reduces the number of requests to IT.  

Conclusion: Internal improvement thanks to external expertise

Annika now works smoothly with her team and all other departments in her company – even from her home office. Projects are completed faster and more efficiently, and employees and customers are more satisfied. During the initial planning and rollout of the digital workplace, Annika’s company relied on the expertise of a specialist. This is because the customized services offered by management and technology consultancies such as Campana & Schott can help companies leverage their existing potential and sustainably integrate new solutions into their employees’ day-to-day work. In doing so, specialists can not only see a technical adaptation through to completion, but also advance companies both professionally and organizationally – so that they are ideally equipped to start their digital transformation.  


Christian Koch

Manager Collaboration & Unified Communication

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