For researcher Jane McConnel, "the Digital Workplace is at the intersection between people, organization and tools", emphasizing that technology is only one dimension of the Digital Workplace.
It is indeed important not to fall into the trap of setting up technology for technology. Technology remains at the service of the company, and it must not be at the expense of the individual within the company. It is this awareness of the importance of the individual that drives organizations into new organizational models. While individuals were seen as "interchangeable resources", the emphasis today is on the individuality and personal development of employees.
The digital transformation of companies began with mainly business IT tools in order to increase productivity for the company. With the Digital Workplace, digital transformation reappropriates a human dimension and begins a rebalancing towards the well-being of individuals. In a way, the Digital Workplace reconciles individuals and the company in this way.
Let's look at this through three cases that are frequently found in companies.
The arrival of email has transformed work in companies, whether to request information, inform or validate a decision. Almost instantaneous, email makes it possible to keep a written record. With the copy system (bcc and cc), it can be distributed to several people. But email reaches its limits: employees are left with piles of messages to process, and important information is drowned in it. Time-consuming email serves the productivity of individuals.
The Digital Workplace introduces a range of tools adapted and differentiated according to content and intent. Important news related to internal communication can be the subject of editorial articles that will be recommended with a follow-up of readers. Working documents no longer have to be sent by email, they are available in a unique way, with their complete history and electronic document management features. Frequently asked questions are capitalized in a collaborative FAQ. Instant messaging (webchat) provides a more fluid alternative to email and less intrusive than the phone. The collaborative planning tool replaces long email exchanges in order to find the right time slot for as many people as possible.
Out of sight, out of mind, out of mind. This is how life goes in the mobile professions. However, they are essential to the success of the company, especially when it comes to sales or deployment teams, they are asked to increase their performance, but they lose the link and the meaning of their work in a structure that is impoverished in human interaction.
With the Digital Workplace, we can recreate the atmosphere around the coffee machine, the office where we meet with colleagues and give each other informal news. With micro-blogging and comments, we share our mood, good or bad news, we even allow ourselves jokes. A won deal, participation in an event, information gleaned from a conversation or a web search, about a competitor, a product, etc., thus feeding a collaborative watch. With collaborative spaces or communities of practice, we also recreate a esprit de corps for people who are not physically in the same office. This goes hand in hand with a personalized desktop that allows individuals to organize their virtual workspace, facilitating access to the tools they use most often.
The productivity of the company requires an optimization that is difficult to question at the individual level, because the individual does not seem to be able to compete with the organization. Yet this is what we are rediscovering today: innovations come from the field. Failure to bring them to light is as much a loss for the company as it is a source of frustration for individuals.
The Digital Workplace allows you to flatten the organization to give visibility to ideas and improvement initiatives. They are no longer lost in a cardboard suggestion box in the HR department, nor in the mailboxes of a few employees with other priorities. They are no longer quickly forgotten words exchanged quickly during lunch break.
An idea can emerge in a micro-blogging, then be brought to a discussion forum, where its relevance can be measured with votes and comments, before being formalized in a wiki sheet, which can be associated with a task to be prioritized in a project. It may be recommended to some key recipients and in any case visible to all those who may be impacted by this idea.
These everyday examples show how the Digital Workplace offers more comfort, autonomy and impact for individuals. There are many of them and the Digital Workplace goes far beyond that. It is the manifestation and technological instrument of a cultural change of organization, which redefines the relationships and expectations between the organization and the individuals who constitute it.