While often an organisation may evolve towards a digital workplace over time, some may want to implement a strategy to expedite and control the process.
In these cases, it is not just a matter of investing in some technology one time and leaving it, but in developing a long-term plan to integrate technology into the organisation’s culture and everyday activities to ensure successful and sustainable implementation.
Specific strategies will differ depending on the specific organisation, it’s important to note that digital workplaces aren’t successful because of specific technology; not every business needs Twitter, or a wiki, or iPhones for every employee. Instead, the focus should be on figuring out what your organisation needs, and how technology can be used to support and help you reach your goals.
For this reason, adapting the work of Kolb (2008), Martini et al (2009) and Steljes (2012), here is a simplified strategy for implementing a digital workplace into any organisation:
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Your entire digital strategy should be guided by the existing goals of your organisation. To ensure this, you begin by deciding what you would like to achieve by implementing a digital workplace and what measurable business value it can deliver.
A digital workplace should not completely rewrite your organisation’s current strategy or goals but complement it.
A common goal may be to encourage working relationships and knowledge sharing between different groups or departments within the company, so it is worth considering how a digital workplace can be used to achieve this.
Step 2: Choose What Technology To Implement
The technology you choose to implement should correlate directly to your defined goals. It is
It is important to consider the following factors when choosing technology:
- Choose specifically for your organisation and the role it will fulfil, not just what is popular or new
- Think about how you can integrate new technology with existing and traditional information systems
- Choose digital tools that can be implemented throughout the entire company to ensure work can be co-ordinated and shared between all groups, whilst also encouraging a sense of community
Whatever technology you choose to implement should always have the goal of making processes easier or more efficient. Introducing new technology can be difficult for some employees. One way some organisations choose to minimise the learning curve and ease the transition, whilst continuing to blur the boundaries between work and personal life, is to allow employees to use their personal devices for work tasks.
Step 3: Consider Your Organisation’s Culture
With the implementation of new technology, it is important to manage the cultural change process so that the digital workplace becomes a regular and fundamental part of everyday activities.
Again, the technology and new culture should support and have roots in the existing organisational culture, not completely replace it.
Part of ensuring the success of this should be to ensure employees have adequate training to feel comfortable using new technology and can understand the potential it has so that they want to use it, rather than feeling like they have to. To encourage this, senior management play a key role in leading by example to continue encouraging use of new systems.
Step 4: Implement A Digital Workplace Governance Policy
It is important that managers continually review and assess the digital workplace strategy to ensure its long-term success.
This involves ensuring employees know what type of information they can and cannot share in the digital workplace and monitoring of this, evaluating the current workplace culture and how it is changing, and dealing with any crises or problems which will spread faster than normal through a digital workplace’s network.