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At the start of the pandemic, many organisations unexpectedly found some, if not all of their employees working from home and having to make remote access to IT systems the norm. This resulted in a massive change for the IT infrastructure by reacting to the immediate issues in a very small timeframe. Furthermore, the process of collaboration across teams, departments and even companies changed overnight. Thought was also needed to be given to the impact on personal interaction and ways to decrease isolation.

The challenge was to simply ‘keep the show on the road’, we all did what we needed to do, and it’s now time to look beyond. With the security, access and applications now adapted to remote working, we have time to breathe. Rather than being reactionary, we need a new strategic way of working to encompass a hybrid model of remote and office, that will work for us now and into the future.

The go-to applications for collaboration and sharing are G-Suite and Microsoft 365 (inc. Teams), with a combined market share of >98%. Beyond these there is the addition of specific applications including accounts, design, inventory, and the HR applications a company uses that need to bridge across remote and office working.

Using G-Suite or Office365 may have allowed employees to get back up and running remotely, but if all employees can do their own thing, this will store up massive and expensive problems in the future. Examples might be – unique and unsupportable processes being created, random shared spaces may be created that nobody can touch or modify (for fear of deleting something important) when their purpose is forgotten.

While G-Suite and Office365 integrate their own applications well, what about the other applications used by the organisation? Can the expenses app securely transfer information into the account app while working remotely, and similar challenges?

Companies now need to start thinking strategically about how IT can be the driving force to ensure efficiencies within any area and in any workplace environment, remotely, office based or a hybrid of both.

This requires a business to take a close look at itself and to understand its business processes and workflow, and why things work the way they do, and then implement these in a ‘digital workspace.’

The common obstacles to creating an efficient digital workspace are:

  • You just can’t buy an off-the-shelf solution.
  • Remote working creates challenges that can’t be solved by technology.
  • Workspaces need to integrate with other systems, like records management systems and security systems.
  • Focusing solely on technology risks building something the business does not want and cannot use.

The Auditel approach is to answer the following questions:

  • What are the desired benefits of the workspace (what outcomes are needed)?
  • Who needs to be involved and what that involvement looks like?
  • What policies and guidelines need to be defined?
  • How will users and departments be impacted?

Organisations should workshop through these questions, with the aim of defining the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) objectives before commencing on a digital workspace strategy. Additionally, an audit of business processes and workflows should be undertaken.

Information is power! It will demonstrate how a digital workspace should operate, and the evidence of benefits they will bring to the organisation. In addition, it will ensure the systems, applications, and technology are efficient, and remain so without storing up unsolvable issues for the future.

The business benefits this will bring to the organisation are:

  • Improved productivity and engagement for all workers.
  • More easily accessed business processes and enterprise services.
  • Reduce the need for employees to be in the office.
  • Provide greater flexibility to where and when people work.

There are many ways in which Auditel consulting can assist our clients in defining and building the right digital workspace for their needs, through a 3 step methodology:

  1. Identify the digital workspace you want to build.
  2. Identify high level requirements.
  3. Identify initiatives and roadmap.

Build a Digital Workspace Strategy – Executive Brief

Ensure people spend less time searching and more time getting work done while working remotely.

>>> View Executive Brief Online


Article by: Pat O’Brien

As seen in Issue 9 of The Bottom Line