The cloud becomes the backbone of the digital workplace when end users must be able to access the technology and tools they need to be successful and productive from wherever they are. The path to a seamless user experience includes understanding exactly what a “digital workplace” should mean to your organization and the potential ways it can achieve business and end-user goals.
Start with a digital workplace definition
Digital workplace is a term that gets thrown around a lot, and it naturally means different things to different businesses. But, a "true" digital workplace goes far beyond the adoption of mobile collaboration technology like Office 365 or Google's G Suite. I like Gartner's definition of "an ongoing, deliberate approach to delivering a more consumer-like computing environment that is better able to facilitate innovative and flexible working practice."
It means a more holistic view of the working environment than just a physical space. A true digital workplace is an ecosystem where workers can contribute on their terms using technology that makes them the most effective and collaborative – wherever they are. It allows them to solve problems and create opportunities that create unanticipated value for the organization. When defining what a digital workplace means for your organization, it’s best to consider end user needs, business goals, internal processes, the current culture of the organization, and effective metrics for measuring success.
7 ways the cloud is key to the digital workplace
So how does the cloud facilitate a true digital workplace? Here are some of the ways:
1) Anywhere, anytime
Organizations that have moved to Office 365 or G Suite already have a sense of the mobility potential of the cloud. Workers can contribute from wherever they want and whenever they want. But the cloud also opens the opportunity to connect the currently unconnected. In many organizations, there are not mobile solutions that reach all field, factory, and retail workers – leaving them with inadequate digital services and feeling like they're not part of the larger team. New technology on the horizon – like 5G – will exponentially expand the ways organizations can leverage the cloud and mobility with better video and Internet of Things devices.
Security breaches are rarely caused by poor cloud data protection. Instead, it's most often user error. From advanced firewalls, intrusion detection, encryption, event logging, and physical protection, cloud storage providers offer some of the best threat defense available. And, by moving as many applications as you can to the cloud, you can significantly improve your security posture.
3) End user experience
The cloud enables the kind of digital dexterity needed to keep up with the consumerization of workplace technology. Putting apps in the cloud means they're easily available and quickly updated – giving end users the best tools where they want them and when they want them provides the best end-user experiences.
Cloud-based data and applications facilitate collaboration exponentially. Documents and projects are not siloed, are more organized, and can be worked on by teams simultaneously in real-time instead of sending out updated versions after each new iteration. The cloud also makes large files easily accessible when email services can't handle large attachments. Better access to projects improves participation and leads to better brainstorming.
5) Flexibility and scale
The cloud allows businesses to quickly adopt new technology and scale up or down without the cost of hardware considerations. Additionally, businesses can decide which budgets to leverage where operating is more available while providing IT as a service.
6) New business models
The cloud enables the kind of digital workplace that leads to new business models. That can be as simple as a fully remote workforce and the resulting savings when a physical workspace doesn't have to be provided. Leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning in the cloud can create a hybrid workforce where repetitive tasks are automated, freeing workers to focus on other tasks and improving productivity.
One of the most widely recognized advantages of cloud computing is big data. Areas like customer insights, strategic evaluation, product development, and logistics have all seen tremendous benefit. Data plays into the digital workplace in other ways too. Workforce analytics can be used to study productivity, evaluate tools, look at current skills and determine gaps, measure performance, and establish goals for improvement.
Get on the path
Our vision at CompuCom is connecting people, technology, and the edge with a seamless experience. As organizations plan for the future of work, technology must be as much enabler as it is a disruptor.
Digital transformation can seem formidable to any organization, but getting on the path to a true digital workplace facilitates digital transformation initiatives across the organization because it's part of the culture change that's required. From efficiency to new revenue streams, the possibilities are endless.