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Embrace digital workplace technologies as an investment to achieve business goals

28 May 2020 | Enrique Pena

At Digital14, we have developed secure communications solutions for government entities and commercial enterprises. As discussed in previous blogs here at Digital14 Insights, our approach to solutions is to apply a secure by design principle, that is, all we do has been designed from the foundation, ground up, to be secure and enforced by its architecture design. As part of helping execute our clients’ digital transformation strategies, we have also had to work towards evolving our products from ‘just’ means of communication to collaborative communication solutions. Our efforts have recently multiplied due to the sudden change in workplaces as the Covid19 pandemic has closed offices and working from home became the norm. Almost out of nowhere, communications and collaboration have become the number one behaviour we are all focusing on. The digital workplace -- and future of work -- is already here.

In a matter of days, organisations began accelerating their digital transformation strategies and moved into a tactical mode to support their staff today. Amusing Internet memes appeared that observed this radical new corporate behaviour. I found the one below spot on. It really took a pandemic to really put things in accelerating motion.

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What is interesting, though, is that not only are organisations focusing on building digital workspaces to support their staff today but also for the post-pandemic times. According to an April 2020 Gartner survey of 4500 respondents1 , during the pre-pandemic time, an average of 30% of employees worked remotely part or all of their work time. Post-Covid19, 48% of these employees will want to stay working from home more than they did prior to the pandemic. When this result was presented to CFOs, 74% of them showed interest in increasing remote work after the pandemic -- for cost optimisation.

If we want to be ready for this market opportunity, it means we have to speed up with our own portfolio strategy too, and study not only the existing offerings in the market, but to bring differentiated, relevant collaboration solutions to our client, we need to truly understand what collaboration in the workplace really is. We want to understand what the desired outcomes of digital workplace strategies are. We’d like to share some of our findings here that we now know we can address with our competences and capabilities at Digital14.

Berg and Gustafson write in their book2 on digital workplace strategies, that creative collaborative work is gaining both in scope and significance by shifting employees' work on planning, organising, managing, and improving business instead. Collaboration in the workplace increases the creation of information that is then communicated to and used by others. The authors call these employees creative knowledge workers and is evidence of the transition from routine work to creative knowledge work. Organisations that want to embrace this transition are hence seeking and considering digital workplace solutions that support creative and collaborative knowledge work to boost their employees’ engagement in the business. In other words, buyers are not seeking for a quick set of tools that enable collaborative communications.

Similar studies indicate that most critical goals in digital workplace strategies are about business improvement, growing revenues, gaining competitive advantage and improving processes. CFOs may be wrong when they seek cost optimisation only. Our study is in line with Dimension Data’s3 report showing that cost optimisation indeed happens, but the most important realised business outcomes of a well-executed digital workplace strategy are, actually:

  • Improved process efficiency and greater business agility.
  • Scaling of valuable people assets and improved productivity.
  • Accelerated time-to-market.
  • More effective supply chain management.
  • Scaling knowledge and improving decision making.
  • Greater customer intimacy and retention.
  • Better work/life and non-routine balance and attracting and retaining the best people.
  • Increased communications security.
  • Potentially reduced costs and business consolidation.
  • Business continuity, including disaster recovery.

There is enough material for a multi-piece blog here, and we will revisit this topic again. But, the key insight we need to translate and apply in our portfolio is that the adoption of digital workplace solutions and in preparing for post-pandemic ‘working from home’ era are being driven by strategic investment to increase overall productivity and efficiency, as opposed to decreased costs, with significant market pressure to digitise and move to the cloud. We should embrace digital workplace technologies as an investment to achieve business goals. This is how developers and vendors will differentiate from the existing communications and collaboration giants.

Installing Slack, Webex, Teams or Zoom for example, and leaving employees to use them as they see fit is certainly flexible but lacks a more comprehensive approach that organisations will need to drive their digital dexterity (the ambition and ability to apply technology to improve business outcomes4 ). We find that the recipe for transformative success is in developing and offering contextual, extensible collaborative solutions backed up by speedy tech adoption through educational services and cybersecurity assurance. Digital14 can provide this spectrum of touchpoints across our capabilities of Connect, Protect and Nurture while eventually delivering Transformation.

Our point-of-view is that delivering digital workspaces by themselves is not enough. Communication and people-connecting is the core of digital workspace solutions, yet they need to support collaborative creative knowledge work as well. Our existing portfolio is already in this space and we differentiate from most digital workspace products in the market by delivering an extensible secure platform that allows multiple integrations and broad-scale features that can be built onto it. Our proposition resides in KATIM®, a shield of security and privacy that offers a dome of defence and a world of endless possibilities for government and enterprise functions.


1 Gartner 2020, Future of Work Hidden Trends: Rising Demand for Remote Work
2 Berg & Gustafsson 2018, Digital Workplace –Strategy and design
3 Dimension Data 2017, The Digital Workplace Report:Transforming Your Business
4 Gartner 2019,Digital Workplace Program Primer for 2019

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