‘Must have’ digital workplace principles

In my last post ‘Create a brilliant digital workplace with me’ I showed how I can help you and your organisation to adopt ‘must have’ principles for a digital workplace that brings the maximum benefits.

To have a successful digital workplace (which I define as ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’) it is vital organisations have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully.  It needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more effective and productive and your organisation more efficient and successful.  Digital workplace is a phrase that is becoming more frequently used (Digital workplace book – Paul Miller) for intranets that are developing beyond a traditional communications tool.  For me a digital workplace can include:

  • people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation.
  • IT infrastructure providing the same or similar experience wherever somone uses the digital workplace
  • people being able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
  • people choosing how to do ‘things’ – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • the organisation measuring the benefits and encouraging people to use the digital workplace

My ‘must have’ principles for a great digital workplace include:

  • Strategy: it is vital that your digital workplace strategy is aligned with your organisation’s overall strategy.  There is no point planning to invest time and resources to move in one direction if your organisation is going in the opposite way.
  • Engagement: this is needed at two levels.  Firstly with stakeholders you need to endorse your strategy.  Secondly with early adopters who will embrace enthusiastically and spread the word.
  • Governance: a consistent, relevant and appropriate level is needed that minimises risks and enables the maximum benefits to be achieved.
  • HR policies: policies need to encourage people to change their way of working that also benefits the organisation.
  • IT infrastructure: people need to be confident they can use what they need for their work when they need to – simple!

I will cover each of these digital workplace principles in more detail in my next few posts.

Do you agree with these principles?  Have I missed any?

7 responses to “‘Must have’ digital workplace principles

  1. One cautionary note on Engagement; you may have buy-in from senior stakeholders; you may have enthusiastic early adopters.

    The two groups don’t necessarily work with or to each other. Middle managers and the dead hand of Command & Control can often smother truly excellent initiatives, leaving a technocrat’s solution that no-one wants or cares to use.

  2. I think that ‘Purpose’ is missing, or in other words, a Business Case. To me Strategy is Vision and Business Case is Mission. Most of our working lives are spent publishing, be it documents, blogs, emails etc. So the digital workspace has to support those more mundane tasks very well indeed. One of the major problems I have with Google Apps is that I can type much more quickly than the latency of the application. Why should I be slowed down by technology?

    Only then can we can get on to collaboration and reading the news.

    In my cynical moments I’d also query why a core element is measuring the benefits. If they are not obvious then you’ve got a major problem on your hands. There has to be a Wow factor from all the stakeholders that does not need to be measured.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m very supportive of the concept of the DWP, and am developing a strategy for just such an approach at a global business with more than 30,000 employees around the world. But what someone in Europe sees as a DWP is very different from what someone in China (for example) will want to use as a DWP, and that is a challenge that we rather overlook. For certain the DWP in China will have to support the use of Chinese language, just as the intranet does now. That’s going to need some creative IT support!

    • Hi Martin,

      I’ts interesting what you say about Purpose. I have covered it under Scope in my next post on Strategy but I will review any other comments and maybe add another prinicple on Purpose building on what you say.

      I’m finding that ‘digital workplace’ means different things to different people and organisations. That could be clarified under Purpose but I’m not sure that is a principle.

      Anyway, the main thing is my post is sparking a debate which is the best news.

      Thanks for your thoughts. The language challenge is enough to send Finance and IT running away scared and counting the costs of supporting the Chinese language.


  3. Pingback: 5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy « Mark Morrell

  4. Pingback: 7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace « Mark Morrell

  5. Pingback: 4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace « Mark Morrell

  6. Pingback: HR policies to encourage a digital workplace « Mark Morrell

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