Why long term success of workplace implementations is only possible with a use-case-centered design and development process, and what technology is currently relevant and what will play a role in the future.
There has recently been a lot of response to our various blog articles about the topics “new ways of working” and “workplace technology”. The high level of interest can be attributed to the fact that companies are increasingly regarding the digital workplace as part of their digital transformation. And we keep hearing the same question: what’s needed for successful implementation of a modern, collaborative workplace? The answer is simple but complicated at the same time. Long term success of workplace implementations can only be achieved with a use-case-centered design and development process! Use cases are an act of internal work and application scenarios whose support or digitization benefits employees in a significant and perceptible way.
Which use cases?
As a company reorientates for a digital transformation, a lot of effort is rightly invested into identifying and developing new business models for customers. Similarly, internal processes should also be considered: what new forms of internal collaboration and teamwork can create the greatest benefit for “internal customers”? The employees? Design thinking and similar tools allow focused searching. This enables systematic searches of following search fields.
The following search criteria have proven very useful when making concrete choices:
- Can the use case (specific application) be successfully integrated into the normal working day?
- Does it benefit the organization and at the same time the individual employee?
- Is there a known need for action: recurring tasks that are not yet technologically covered and offer great potential?
- Which use cases can bring several departments together?
- Are there promoters and opinion leaders who would make their own use case public throughout the company?
It has also been shown that if the first use cases are implemented and a critical mass achieved, further use cases emerge quite automatically as a logical consequence to facilitate new ways of working.
Concrete example: Sales community
I would like to briefly illustrate the design of use cases: A globally active pharmaceutical company found and prioritized the "sales community” use case (support for sales and marketing employees in 20 countries).
Essentially, there are lessons learned from sales initiatives - an exchange of experience between employees from different countries and regions. In this way, information on accounts, industries and markets is getting collected and shared with the help of modern technology in order to extract further measures.
The following technology is used in the digital workplace to enable fast and barrier-free collaboration:
- Yammer. People involved in the enterprise social network gather, share and discuss information.
- Microsoft Skype for Business. Further measures are regularly decided upon in open account calls.
- SharePoint. Task management as well as the management of documents and contacts takes place in Team Sites within the collaboration platform.
Direct exchange is, of course, also important. Joint successes are being celebrated and measured for the coming year planned out in an annual Onsite meeting.
The implementation of this technology and the resulting broad information base allows market trends to be identified more quickly. It also creates an abundance of background knowledge and leads to customer feedback filtering through faster. For the sales team this means less preparation time with higher quality as well as better offers, which in turn is reflected in more leads and a better closing rate.
The company has defined specific KPIs for adjusting measures and has divided them into two areas. Firstly, the use cases: the total number of posts, the number of posts to accounts, industries or markets as well as comprehensive lessons learned act as adjustment screws. The second area is the benefits. Success can be measured with the number of leads and percentage closing rate. In this way, the company can better understand the effect of the measures taken (i.e. regular exchange over the channels mentioned) on target values.
Outlook: how will our digital home develop further?
Let us finally peer into the technological glass ball - how will the workplace - our digital home - develop in the future? We consider the following developments to be particularly relevant:
- We’re used to talking about the “cloud” on the platform side. In reality, very different clouds will soon be merged and the workplace will be based on a “multi-cloud” infrastructure.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) will also move into the digital workplace at a rapid pace:
- Personal assistants, like Siri or Cortana, will automatically and intelligently manage scheduling, task control, and other coordinating tasks.
- Bots and AI applications will plan intelligent interaction from text content such as system documentation, help texts, or FAQ lists: less reading, more asking!
- This extends to any language. Written and spoken language will be automatically translated with astonishing quality and in real time, from intranet to Skype conference calls, where everyone takes part in their mother tongue.
- A much wider range of hardware will be supported or integrated into the workplace - not just the desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, but also wearable devices, smart watches, VR and AR glasses, EarPods, intelligent pens etc.: much more can be expected here.
- Finally, self-organization and collaboration will merge, the transition from the individual to the team will become fluid. How do I organize myself? My team? My organization? All of these aspects will merge together in the digital workplace of the future.
... but no matter what technology is on the horizon - only the right use cases will make digital change successful!