“Don’t only upgrade your digital workplace – transform it!”


Posted on: Jan 24, 2018 by Chris Shano

The past months, my colleagues James McMahon, Melanie de Vigan and Mike Harm have been making great contributions to the discussion on how digital technology can and will transform the workplace.

These blog posts highlight the increasing importance of considering employee experience (and expectation) of the digital workplace and the technological possibilities for deploying these truly holistic, end-to-end digital workplaces. These digital workplaces transform the way workforces work, helping them be as productive as possible. By itself, however, technology cannot transform the workplace. It certainly opens up new possibilities, but people / organizations need to do the changing.

In my view, this is what is meant by the Gartner prediction that by 2020, the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30% of organizations will come from the workforce’s ability to creatively exploit digital technologies, drawing a direct link between how employees work and a business’ future growth. The crux is in the words “creatively exploit” which for me means finding new and improved ways of working.

New approaches to working will really only stick when they are embedded in the way people do their jobs. If this is not done, for instance in relation to how a process is to be followed, you risk your new digital workplace being just a technology refresh.

Getting the most out of the digital workplace

In our experience, a good way to start changing how people work is by introducing what we call Business Use Cases. Business Use Cases are different from what is normally called a Use Case in this context. Business Use Cases provide people with tangible examples (often presented in visual format) of how the new digital workplace tools can work in concert to produce a better and meaningful business result – in other words, how to get the most out of the digital workplace as a whole. In contrast, Use Cases mostly focus on one tool and how to perform certain actions on it.

Next to helping people imagine a new way of working by giving it context in real work activities and outcomes, Business Use Cases:

  • Aid communication and training during the transformation
  • Serve the success teams or change network to share what works and help encourage wider adoption and understanding of the possibilities that new tools offer
  • Help establish new collaboration habits across the company.

A good way to start this process is by using a set of generic Business Use Cases that would be relevant for most of the workforce. This could be, for example, how to approach problem solving in a new way using the capabilities of the digital workplace. Make sure you don’t introduce too many at once and that they address recognizable and widely felt pain points in the organization. From there you can then gradually introduce more generic Business Use Cases and ones that aim to re-design, transform if you will, how departments implement actual business process.

Conducting employee Journeys beforehand is a relatively new and excellent way to find the pain points that the workforce feels and can thus guide which Business Use Cases to develop.

Once you have started to implement the Business Use Cases, you will also want to track if new ways of working are actually taking hold or having effect. This is where we come in to the realm of the Data-Driven Employee that Melanie wrote about in October 2017. More on this some other time.

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About Chris Shano

Business Consultant and Member of the Atos Expert Community for Digital Workplace
Chris’ focus is on digital adoption; envisioning and implementing new ways of working by putting innovative technologies to its best use for the business and its people. Both must get value from the digital workplace. He is an Executive Business Consultant Digital Workplace in the Digital Transformation unit of Atos Consulting. Chris has almost 20 years of experience in the areas of knowledge management, social collaboration and digital workplace, a sign of his passion for the subject. Chris has served is several roles inside the local and global Atos organization. These roles ranged from head of knowledge management, platform owner to business consultant and practice lead Digital Workplace. Involved in Atos global innovation and thought leadership initiatives, Chris was the editor-in-chief of the Look Out publications from 2008 until 2015.

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