Digital disruption: how it affects the Digital Workplace

6 June 2018 | Chris Marshall

Firstly, what is digital disruption? Digital disruption is the term for the change which occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect the value of existing goods and services. It can, if not understood, be a threat to your personal and business goals.

When did the notion of digital disruption begin?

The digital era began in the 1980s, it refers to the time when analogue and mechanical devices were replaced with the digital technology which dominates today. It’s only as recently as in the last 10 years that the digital era has really dominated with the Internet, mobile phones and the growth of the Internet of Things.

The rapid increase in the use of mobile devices, for both personal and work use, has increased the potential for digital disruption across many industries. Again, it is only really within the last decade that mobiles have become powerful enough to support business applications which would previously have required desktop computers to run.

How do people think digital disruption will affect businesses?

According to research from Harvey Nash, two thirds of CIOs expect digital disruption to have a very significant impact on their business. They’re certain it will create new business models and change how they provide products and services. Even more reason to stay ahead of the game.

Get onboard with the “buffet” approach

The “buffet” approach is customers being able to pick and choose how and where different systems are used. In the past the IT team would choose solutions, such as a specific intranet, which involved using set word-processing tools and company provided devices. If colleagues had specific problems, it was up to the IT team to choose the right solution and deploy it.

In the new disruptive world of IT, this outdated traditional IT led approach has been replaced with what can be referred to as the “buffet” approach. Just like in a buffet where people can pick and choose the food they want, IT users now expect to be able to connect to company systems from any device they want, wherever they are in the world. As well as being able to access standard services, they want to be able to add tools they require for specific tasks, customised to individual needs.

Stay ahead of innovations and game-changers

With so many potential “games changers” consistently on the horizon, it’s difficult to decide where and how to best invest. It’s important to be aware of how other industries, or competitors, are advancing. Don’t fall behind others in your sector, be leaders in change.

The evolution of the digital workplace

One of the most important changes across all industries, in terms of digital revolution, is the huge expansion of the digital workplace. Deloitte define what the digital workplace does perfectly here:

“The digital workplace encompasses all the technologies people use to get work done in today’s workplace – both the ones in operation and the ones yet to be implemented. It ranges from your HR applications to e-mail, instant messaging and enterprise social media tools and virtual meeting tools.”

Cloud-based digital workplaces such as Microsoft’s Office 365 provide a ground-breaking new approach to the digital workplace. They allow employees to access company data and applications from wherever they are based and however they wish to connect. They also provide evergreen updates to their services and new tools which are constantly released.

How can you add value to your Office 365 investment? Check out our guide.

Potential challenges and constraints of the digital era

New technology is, for the most part, welcomed into the digital workplace but it does bring some challenges along with its benefits. In an ideal world a move to a new platform would be simple but in reality, due to company purpose, structure and compliance requirements, this is often not the case. By using a pre-built workspace built on Office 365, such as Fresh, you can be well-positioned to overcome some of the major challenges of the digital era.

Let’s take a look at some of the key challenges for the modern digital workspace:

  1. Mobile working – One of the most underutilised platforms is mobile. Other than checking calendars and emails, what are employees really using their mobiles for? Modern workers could be doing a lot more with their powerful smartphones and tablets.
  2. Constraints of traditional intranets – Dependent on local servers for data storage, traditional intranets are often costly and restrictive. Even the most cutting edge, on-premises Intranet will start to feel out of date in 6 months because of the constant changes in the digital era.
  3. Rapid deployment – Many companies struggle with migration requirements and preparation.
  4. The need for business specific tools – Think back to the “buffet” approach. Employees want to pick out the tools which will give them the most value and help them to work effectively.
  5. Security – Allowing mobile data and moving to the cloud can bring risk and security issues.
  6. Support when you need it – Support is key, employees will need support when a new system/Intranet is implemented, this will help with successful, wide-spread engagement.
  7. Personalisation in the cloud – A standard Office 365 license will give you access to an extremely powerful environment. For the vast majority, personalisation isn’t an option, unless you’re prepared to invest in heavy customisation.

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