Having a digital workplace is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the improved productivity levels and added convenience in operating a business. However, where many startups are founded on a digital platform and large companies have transitioned across having seen the benefits, many SMEs are stuck in limbo, having not been formed through digital and seemingly unable to afford the move . According to a study conducted by Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company, 66% of the SMEs set digital transition as a priority, but half of them have no plan for implementation, nor a set date to start.
In order to go digital smoothly, SMEs need to learn about strategic planning and understand what constitutes a digital workplace. A digital workplace is not only about making a company socially orientated, but Integrating new ways of communication through digital technology is important. The digital workplace is all about breaking the boundaries between people, workplaces, and technologies - a process that must be supported by a continuous strategic vision.
Email, intranets, web conferencing, and enterprise social media are typical representations of the model, but what makes it more than just a collection of technologies is employees' understanding and ways of thinking about it. The right strategy can provide organizations with several capabilities, including employee engagement, business applications for more efficient management, effective data sharing, an organized business operation, and agility.
In order to function effectively, these elements must be supported by the regular review of a company's business plan, as well as all digital initiatives capable of providing a high-quality user experience by being secure and flexible. However, cost and security matters are the main factors currently holding back most SMEs from adopting this operating model.
This is where strategic planning steps in. Experimenting with investments and technology that company members don't fully understand or are not aware of what the outcome may be, is a risk that may put a company in a vulnerable position. Strategic planning allows for collaborative brainstorming within a company to foresee any potential changes and impacts on business performance. Planning can act as a road map, so changes can happen gradually, with less confusion and intimidation. However, creating a digital workplace requires a certain amount of investment, which is unavoidable if you want to truly benefit.
However, increased productivity and better communication with both employees and clients may well be worth the investment. The financial asset management firm Schroders UK managed to get the transition right - Jeremy Lye, European marketing manager noted: 'The more advanced digital technology and analytics we have invested in has improved our understanding of clients' behavior. Our clients are based across various parts of the country, which means our sales people can now visit clients at their offices and access business data, just as if they were in their office.'
So at the end of the day, even though the transition to digital is a serious decision to make, the transformation can be less intimidating if a company sets a guidance in the form of a digital strategy. Increased revenue, along with the more structured organizational approach that digital technology can offer, certainly makes the digital workplace something to consider moving towards.