So, What Is A Digital Workplace Exactly?
You may not be that familiar with the term digital workplace, or what a digital workplace solution is. The term hasn’t been around for very long and is still growing in popularity.
Google Trend Analysis – web searches have been hovering around an all-time high recently.
Then What’s A Digital Workplace Solution?
The term digital workplace solution developed from the need for a word to describe the evolution of the traditional workplace intranet. Still today, many people associate intranets with clunky, browser-based sites that are text-heavy, unengaging, with corporate, unidirectional communications coming from the top down. Traditional intranets have the stigma of being boring, stale places that people seldom visit because they are set apart from their usual work habits.
What Makes A Digital Workplace Solution Different From An Intranet?
Inspired by the evolution we were seeing in the technology of our personal lives, a new generation of engaging, people-centric workplace tools emerged. Instead of being single-purpose and disconnected, tools started to take on more and more functions, connecting processes and information in fewer applications.
Digital Workplace Solutions are the culmination of that movement – unifying all the functions that team members need to get their work done, quickly and efficiently, removing roadblocks and providing training and support when it’s needed.
Creating A Digital Workplace
So is it just technology that makes a workplace a digital workplace?
The Digital Workplace Group sourced a few different definitions for the term “Digital Workplace” – let’s explore them:
- The intranet plus…
This definition helps to show the origins and evolution of the digital workplace. It’s a great place to start a discussion, but alone, it’s not very descriptive. I’ve found that when I describe our own platform SenseiOS®, describing it an evolution on the traditional intranet isn’t taking the description far enough. People often imagine small improvements over what they’ve known an intranet to be and aren’t able to imagine the breadth of what a Digital Workplace Solution can do for them and their team.
- Company-provided technology
This definition is far too broad and non-specific to be useful. Sensei Labs and our parent company, Klick – like many other forward-thinking companies – are very technology-driven companies. They provide their team members with lots of different technologies to help them be the best at their jobs. For instance, most companies provide computers for their workers – but computers alone are not enough to make a digital workplace.
- The computer technology an individual uses to do her work
This definition has the same issues as the one above – it’s not very specific in describing what that technology is doing and is too broad – encompassing more traditional computer-based technologies, like email, that aren’t up to the same standard as Digital Workplace Solution.
- Where people, technology, and an organization meet
Now, this is more like it! From Jane McConnell’s Digital Workplace Framework, this description gives a much more complete picture of how Digital Workplace Solutions fit into not only a company, but also into the day-to-day work that team members carry out. The only word that’s throwing me off here is ‘meet.’ It’s too passive. People don’t just meet inside a Digital Workplace Solution, they collaborate, they create, and they communicate with each other.
- An environment or ecosystem
While most Digital Workplace Solutions can be described as an environment or ecosystem, these terms don’t tell us much about their function or the benefits that they bring.
- The non-physical aspect of work
I get that they are trying to use ‘non-physical’ to describe the digital side of work, but non-physical also includes, mental, emotional, and interpersonal aspects of work, among others, so I can’t say that this definition works for me.
- The indescribable digital ether
They’re not even trying with this one.
- The employee’s digital experience of work
This one intrigues me, but I still don’t think it’s quite right. I would argue that a team member’s digital experience at work – their engagement, collaboration, and work product – is a byproduct of their digital workplace. Each team member’s experience can be quite different – but their workplace itself is a constant.
The Sensei Labs definition of a Digital Workplace:
So where does that leave us?
At Sensei Labs, we think of a digital workplace as a digital ecosystem where team members come together to collaborate, supported by technology that helps them communicate, orchestrate work, and make better, more informed decisions.
No matter how you define it – it’s clear that traditional workplaces are becoming more and more digitized and that digital workplace solutions are going to play a increasingly important role in how teams work, communicate, and collaborate with each other.
To learn more about how our digital workplace solution, SenseiOS, is changing how teams work, get in touch, or request your personalized demo below.