When talk of “The Cloud” first began a few years ago, businesses that included it into their operational strategies were considered to be taking a gamble on a largely unproven technology. But now, the tide has shifted and mobile enterprise solutions have become standard operating procedure — for a variety of unique reasons.
The digital workspace is defined as the collection of apps, data, documents, and communications services delivered to any working device — including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Your employees are empowered to work anywhere, anytime. Every aspect of operations — from security to syncing to support — is handled centrally and in real-time.
Today we’re going to outline the digital workspace and cloud-based solutions as they apply to your business. Recent advancements in security and resource-delivery have the potential to increase your IT ROI — and your bottom-line profits in the process.
“The digital workplace is the collection of all the digital tools provided by an organization that allows its employees to do their jobs.”
— Digital Renaissance of Work
Digital workspace advantages: The cloud delivers
Business loves speed, as the maxim teaches. The businesses that are fastest to implement new technologies traditionally gain an edge over those who simply test the waters.
Despite all of the initial questions about the security and reliability of the cloud, it has proven to be a powerful solution to expand the capabilities of organizations with multi-users that rely on real-time data.
Benefits of the digital workspace include:
- Allowing user to define where, when, and how they work. When you give your team the ability to access critical data from any device at any time, they are much more capable of meeting the needs of your clients and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
- Increasing data security without complicating the process. With the convenience of single sign-on and multi-factor authentication, enterprise mobility users can rest easy knowing that mission-critical data is securely protected without the need for complex log-in procedures or password requirements.
- Implementing a streamlined approach to app and data delivery. Because critical client data — and the suite of tools that your team uses to manage it — changes so rapidly, cloud computing enables your IT department to keep data records and app versions updated in real time.
- Enhancing productivity despite low-bandwidth or interrupted connectivity. The ‘any device’ functionality of the digital workspace features settings and solutions for instances of low bandwidth or interrupted connectivity — including offline operations that allow your team to keep working on current apps that pick-up where they leave off when reconnected to the server.
- Breaking free from technical limitations with the capacity to add on. Perhaps the most attractive feature of the digital workspace is to scale with the addition of memory, apps and programs, and end-user devices such as printers, scanners, and other productivity-enhancing tools.
It’s noteworthy that the areas that were initially sources of concern for most business owners — security and scalability — have become the hallmarks of strength for the enterprise cloud solution.
“The digital workplace measures productivity by actual output as opposed to physical presence.”
— Digital Renaissance of Work
Establishing a digital workspace: An action plan
Perhaps you’re considering implementing a digital workspace in your organization to give your employees more powerful tools and expanding processes to complete their objectives. Or, maybe you have a digital workspace in place, but you’d like to compare it to an established model to gauge its effectiveness.
No matter which stage you might happen to be, applying a maturity assessment to your digital workspace structure can help you effectively consider your organization’s potential for improvement.
The digital workplace maturity structure considers a few strategic benchmarks:
- Communication and business intelligence. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in delivering information to end users to make decisions or change behaviors to improve business performance
- Collaboration and community. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in connecting end users with communities and helping teams to collaborate
- Services and workflow. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in providing access to services and workflow for transactions and productivity
- Structure and coherence. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in organizations and integration
- Mobility and flexibility. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in providing access regardless of location and device — in its ability to go entirely virtual
- Strategic alignment and management. Measures how capable your digital workspace is to maintain a consistent progress towards the commitment of your organization to its digital objectives
- Organizational readiness. Measures how capable your digital workspace is in allowing leaders, managers, and employees to rely on the system as a way to work
You’ll notice that the action plan is strictly conceptual, as opposed to listing specific hardware and software tools required for the digital workspace. Because every organization’s needs are different, the framework is the most important starting point.
“The digital workplace is fueled by a digital work ethic — putting the right tools into the hands of employees along with the freedom to operate independently.”
— Digital Renaissance of Work
The future of the digital workspace: What’s next?
Our tendency to always look forward to new capabilities — even in the midst of recent advancements — encourages business IT solutions providers to anticipate challenges and prepare to respond. The excitement of the digital workspace is only matched by the enthusiasm for newer and more versatile tools.
Here are some predictions for the direction of the digital workspace in the coming year that you should keep your eye on:
- Organizations will invest more to help change the team culture from hesitation and suspicion to expectation and confidence. Businesses of all types and sizes learned a valuable lesson in the seismic shift from the longings of traditional workspace comforts to embracing enterprise cloud operations — a lesson that should encourage a faster “buy-in” when advancements in the digital workspace are introduced.
- Organizations will invest more in the merge of AI with cloud enterprise resources to create the “intelligent workplace.” Artificial intelligence — machines with the ability to simulate human intelligence — will empower the digital workspace to anticipate the intentions and movement of your team and offer real-time information and support for faster response at the speed of business.
- Organizations will invest more in their intranets — made faster and smarter — to play a larger role in day-to-day business activities. Intranets will become more secure, increasingly stable, and better able to cooperate with third-party apps — which equates to higher ROI on fiscal resources dedicated to these objective-specific solutions.
- Organizations adjust their resource investments as “ground zero” of workplace activities transfers from physical to digital. The boundaries of the physical workspace are disappearing at surprising rates as organizations recognize that most operational activities — perhaps even close to 90% — happen in non-physical environments.
- Organizations — demanding higher “digital literacy” from new hires — are investing more in education and support services. While traditional literacy has always been measured in the ability to read, write, and comprehend, the most competitive businesses become so by hiring professionals and forging partnerships that excel at engagement and production in the digital workspace.
“The digital workplace recognizes that work is not a destination, and that an essence of work-life blending exists that improves the final product and enhances the journey to achieve it.”
— Digital Renaissance of Work
As a leader and influencer, it’s critical to keep the digital potential of your organization in mind as you create strategies for growth in the “ever-forward” spirit of technological advancement.
Continually ask yourself: Is the particular course of action — or resource acquisition, or resource expenditure, etc. — that your team is considering congruent with your commitment to embracing the digital culture?
RFA is a powerful partner to help you unlock the potential of your digital workspace. Our fully-managed IT services offering delivers you peace of mind — and empowers you and your team to focus on your business and take care of your clients.
About RFA | Richard Fleischman & Associates
Richard Fleischman & Associates is a premier global technology partner and industry pioneer. RFA infuses 30-years of thought-leadership and expert guidance into a robust suite of technology solutions that include network infrastructure, cloud hosting, disaster recovery consulting, telecommunications, and beyond. For more information, visit RFA on the Web at https://rfa.com/.