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Nandha Kumar

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intranet as a service

Digital Workplace Solution – Your Gateway to a Digital Office

Digital workplace solution is your answer to going digital and transforming your digital office. The advantages of transforming are almost limitless – it can enhance your employees’ experience manifold and increase productivity that is measurable and can be quantified.  

SharePoint Intranet offers intranet as a service and is a quantum jump from SharePoint based intranet on-premises, because it puts the power of mobility through hand-held devices such as mobile phones. It is much preferred enterprise collaboration software because it is amenable to upgrading and deployment within a short timeframe.  

SharePoint-based intranet is easily customisable and solutions such as Hubfly Intranet reduce the learning substantially. Hubfly Intranet is available as an out-of-box solution that can be easily deployed. 

Digital Workplace and Digital Workplace Solutions — an Introduction 

Digital Workplace solutions can mean different things to different people and there is no single all-encompassing definition that will make sense to everybody.  On a practical plane however, we can understand Digital Workplace solution as distinctly different from the physical office in that, Digital Workplace relies on digital resources to stay connected and accomplish usual office tasks. Digital Workplace seeks to replace physical offices where people are expected to meet up to work.  

Offices are no longer workplaces that employees occupy to do regular office chores. It has transformed into a task where workers have to be connected instantly at all times. This means that the usual definition has changed and the difference between a workplace and getting work done is getting blurred day by day.

There is a need to stay connected and collaboration is the key to achieving objectives. Workers are increasing becoming aware that they have to work in groups and build relationships to carry forward their employer’s objectives.  

To create an ambient atmosphere and give their workers a rich experience, companies are beginning to recognise that there is an immediate need for turn their offices into digital workplaces by adopting relevant technologies and integrating them in a seamless way. Integration includes email, instant messaging, and use of social media and HR applications.

By integrating, companies can expect to higher levels of productivity and efficiency combined with precision. All these said, the key to success however is in implementing a strategy that takes into consideration the cultural changes as well.  

Read a related blog: The ultimate cheat sheet for a successful Digital Workplace 

Digital Workplace Solution – Evolution  

Workplace transformation has been around for a long time since the days of agricultural and industrial revolution but it became more profound during the last 30 years, especially after information technology started to proliferate. It has totally changed the ways in which workers communicate and exchange information. 

The reasons for this dramatic change can be broadly attributed to – an aging workforce, information overload and the need to speed up. The use of internet and mobile devices has further necessitated the need to accelerate even further with focus on increasing productivity and cost saving, putting more pressure on the employees to meet the increased demand and expectations. This again is expected to reshape the entire office environment.  

The emerging digital workplace transition concern can be addressed thus:  

1. Provide support for working styles that encourages employees to work transparently and take advantage of social networks. 
2. Merge offline and online communication by offering connectivity through mobile phones and other devices with access to tools and corporate information.  
3. Giving employees a seamless experience that is choice-based, flexible and personalised.  
4. Enabling a virtual-work ambience that keeps them connected to their task round the clock.  
5. Reducing spending and improving productivity with the help of appropriate tools and software accessing anytime.  
6. Rewarding employees who perform better than set benchmarks. 

Read a related blog: 6 Misconceptions people still have about a Digital Workplace 

The Need for Digital Workplace 

The benefits of transiting to digital workplace for the office are simply too many to be ignored. Broadly, it can be for: talent acquisition, increasing employee productivity, employee satisfaction, preventing attrition rates and putting the power of communication virtually on employees’ fingertips.  

These advantages are simply too great to be ignored and that is the reason why businesses across the world are making bigger budgetary provisions for transforming their offices into digital workplaces.

It holds immense possibilities of delivering positive results that can be measured and quantified. Further digital workplaces help to building solid relationships that go beyond natural work groups and give a big push to acquiring knowledge sharing all over the organization.  

To realize these and other positive outcomes, businesses have to provide appropriate tools for communications. Implementing this call for the development of a roadmap that is relevant to specific situations to ensure that resources are utilised fully and investments are not allowed to go down the drain.  

Designing the Digital Workplace 

There is no single rule for designing the best digital workplace for any office. Still, strategists need to keep in mind the following points.  

1. Define the use first: broadly it should be focus on collaborating, communicating and connecting. This will encourage employees to forge good relationships that goes beyond description, enable to share knowledge acquired and share it with peers and put the advantage to increase productivity.  
2. Decide the technology: not all technologies work the same way for all business. There is no one technology that will solve the multitude of expectations either. The right tool box and technology should therefore take into consideration factors that make your employees comfortable and at the same time is able to give a great experience.  
3. Evaluate governance, risk and legal compliance: governance is an importance issue and proper controls must be established at an early stage and it must be in concordance with the organisation’s policy framework.  
4. Be clear about your business essentials:  right from the beginning of the workplace initiative; define what your initiatives will achieve and how you propose to accomplish it. Ill-conceived ideas can easily derail the benefits you hope to achieve.  

Read a related blog: The New Digital Workplaces Hubfly is unveiling 

The 3 Basic Tenets of Digital Workplace 

The 3 pillars on which any digital workplace initiative will rest are:  

1. Collaboration: Collaboration is important for solving business problems and increasing productivity. It also helps to leverage the advantage that knowledge is able to give. Importantly the collaboration should centre around integration and must be intuitive so that workers are able to work closely with each other and increase the quality of the work they do.  
2. Communications: Communication is important so that employees are able to create their own content and distribute it across the enterprise rather than depend on a centralised repository. Your digital workplace should therefore be tuned to act as two-way communication system and be supported with appropriate tools with a degree of personalisation for a richer experience.  
3. Connections: Provide every tool your employees will need to leverage the enormous content that businesses accumulate. It can build a strong framework that will promote continuity of your workplace culture and the entire community.  

Some of the essential tools your employees will need include:  

1. Messaging: A robust messaging tools will help to communicate clearly. It should include a tool for emailing, instant messaging, micro blogging and mobile messaging.  
2. Productivity: Sharing is important for improving productivity. Top productivity tools include word processors such as Word, Excel, Power Point Presentation and calculator.  
3. Collaboration: Collaboration is important for seamless working and it allows for early completion of projects. Some tools to include are; Team, communities, Wikis and web conferencing. The primary objectives of these tools are to ensure that offices separated physically are still able to partner and achieve objectives as fast time will permit.  
4. Communication: Tools in this category include; portals and intranets, blogs and personalised webpage for each employee.  
5. Business applications: Some business applications to include are self-service apps for expense claims, leave requests, ERP and CRM. The choices are really wide and will mostly depend on circumstance of the enterprise.  
6. Crowd sourcing: These types of tools are essential for implementing ideas, sharing thoughts and polling. They are ideally suited for conducting surveys and creating forums for discussion of problems and solutions.  
7. Connectivity & Mobility: Some tools for this are employee directory, organisation chart, people profile, and mobility tools for laptops, Smartphone, home office and remote scanning.  

Start to Invest in Digital Workplace Solutions 

If you organisation is serious about surviving in the race for bigger market share and acquiring talents that drive it, then this is the time to do it. Businesses should not procrastinate on this feel left out. The reason we say this that the younger generation of talents are looking for more flexibility and retaining a talent is getting tougher for big and small businesses alike. 

Here is what to expect when you start to convert your physical office into a digital workplace.  

1. Expect to see all round improvement in productivity. Reports have consistently proved that when employees are able to connect with their workplace even when outside their productivity increases manifold. It is a fact that employees are no longer wedded to physical office and expect flexibility in the place where they work.  
2. Employees like to work from home and when they are able to do this they feel more engaged in what they are doing. Digital workplace solutions can do this because digital workplaces don’t place a boundary from where employees work.  
3. Employee satisfaction will get a boost resulting in superior quality of deliverables. Digital workplaces give flexibility and employees are able to accomplish work at a pace that they decide. This is a big advantage over the physical office that places restrictions on working hours.  
4. There will be more creativity and innovations. Traditional offices are not conducive to be innovative; we all know. Your digital workplace solution can change this because your workers are able to decide when to work and from where.  

Read a related blog: 5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Digital Workplace 

Tips for Building a Digital Workplace 

Converting physical offices into digital workplaces is easier said than done and requires the service of a professional. Here is a checklist to make it easier to achieve.  

1. Strategies: Without a strategy, you will go nowhere. Writing a roadmap is key to achieving your objectives – define mission, vision, identify all stakeholders, relegate an ownership for the project and put governance in place.  

2. Draw a framework: Decide on a plan of action – decide the time factor, the scope of tools you propose to acquire, different the different phase and decide the milestones you wish to mark.  

3. Align the implementation: For a successful digital workplace to take shape, you need to look at a wider context and you must consider other initiatives that are already underway. You will need professional advice on level of detail, the pace at which you plan to go, the pace of change and freeing the organisation from dependencies.  

4. Communicate the idea within the organisation: Changes are difficult to make if your employees are not used to working in a digital environment. There is a need to circulate a plan and solicit views. You may have a lot of spade work to do such as training for example and estimating the efficacy.  

Read a related blog: The future of Digital Workplaces with Artificial Intelligence 

Choosing an Appropriate Digital Workplace Solution 

SharePoint Intranet is among the few intranets that have made worldwide impact on businesses. SharePoint Intranet is the preferred enterprise collaboration software because it is available as Intranet as a Service. SharePoint Intranet as a service is much preferred over SharePoint based intranet on-premises because it is radically different from on-premises that have severe limitations when it comes to providing mobility to its users.  

Small, medium and enterprises consider it as the best intranet software for these reasons:  

1. It is flexible and is amenable to customisation. 
2. It has excellent support with third-party enhancements such as Hubfly Intranet which makes SharePoint-based Intranet readily usable.  
3. SharePoint can be implemented with Hubfly Intranet as an out-of-box intranet to reduce the training requirement.  

Nandha Kumar

Written by Nandha Kumar