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Digital workspace growth foiled by lack of clear strategy

05 Feb 2019
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The benefits of digital technology are well-known, yet a distinct lack of cohesion exists around how to effectively adopt it.

That’s according to SoftwareONE’s new report ‘Building a Lean, Mean, Digital Machine’ that revealed the majority of organisations (58 percent) lack a clearly defined strategy for adopting and integrating digital workspace technology.

What this boils down to, SoftwareONE says, is that many organisations are implementing and using technology in a haphazard manner and are therefore struggling to truly maximise its potential..

Despite the fact that 99 percent of organisations from the survey are currently using some form of digital workspace technology, respondents of the report have encountered several challenges or roadblocks when it comes to using them. These range from heightened security risks (47 percent) to a lack of employee knowledge in how best to use them (45 percent).

SoftwareONE UK managing director Zak Virdi says these figures should serve as a wake-up call to businesses who want to make the most of digital workspace technologies but are still yet to apply proper thought regarding how to implement them in a way that maximises productivity while minimising potential issues.

“It’s clear that our working lives have been made easier in many ways by digital technology – cloud apps like Office 365 and Dropbox have become very much the norm, and online collaboration tools like Smartsheet are being gratefully adopted by workers the world over,” says Virdi.

“But bringing new digital solutions into the business without a unified, cohesive strategy in place is likely to lead to problems in the long run. These tools are designed to connect employees more effectively, but they can have the opposite effect if, for instance, one department is using a particular tool but another one is completely unaware of its existence. Moreover, introducing new technologies that are not sanctioned for use by senior leaders – frequently known as Shadow IT – can lead to security issues that can be difficult to remedy.”

According to SoftwareONE, it’s not just senior management that is pushing for more clearly defined strategies, as 63 percent of respondents believe that digital transformation is being pushed by the most senior personnel, while 30 percent believe it is being driven by regular employees.

With a host of different needs, Virdi says it’s critical to have a structured plan put in place.

“Employees are pushing hard for change, and it’s not just those at the top who are demanding it. There’s clear evidence that this appetite for new tech is present throughout the business, which means organisations have to work out how to cater to a very large cross-section of the workforce. With this in mind, it’s paramount that the drive to digital is built on the bedrock of a well-planned strategy,” says Virdi.

“This should take into account the requirements of everyone at the business: senior managers and board members might seem to be the ones pushing hard for digitalisation, but this is often due to the pressure they are getting from their employees anyway.”

Virdi concludes by asserting adopting a digital workspace is not simply a process of introducing technologies and hoping they take hold, but rather having a specific lifestyle plan for every new tool that is introduced.

“If businesses adopt and maintain this mindset, the long-term benefits will be significant.”