Brice Dunwoodie
Simpler Media Group CEO Brice Dunwoodie kicked off the third and final day of Digital Workplace Experience Wednesday in Chicago PHOTO: Jeff Callen

CHICAGO — Companies and knowledge workers haven’t quite cracked the code of the digital workplace. They haven't mastered the perfect employee experience — yet.

Those represent “overwhelming” challenges for those charged with leading digital workplace success in their organizations.

All About Survival

Brice Dunwoodie, founder and CEO of Simpler Media Group (SMG), delivered that message to attendees Wednesday morning on the final day of the Digital Workplace Experience at the Radisson Blu Aqua.

Simpler Media Group, parent company to CMSWire, partnered with Digital Workplace Group (DWG) to produce the inaugural conference.

Dunwoodie's message? We're still trying to figure out how to run successful digital workplaces. 

We'd like to think we're providing our employees with digital workplace experiences akin to walking over a Chicago River bridge here on this first day of summer. 

In reality, employee experience are often closer to a downtown stroll in January, dodging the falling icicles from above. 

Companies talk about increasing bottom lines, productivity and reducing costs, Dunwoodie told attendees.

“But it’s really about survival for many of us," he said, “That’s a big reason why we’re doing what we’re doing” with this conference.

Dunwoodie said the goal of this inaugural conference was to bring people together as they move through the early stages of mastering digital workplace experiences for employees. 

Business leaders are in a constant battle of developing new skills, learning best practices that are shattered and reinvented and grappling with an abundance of tools in the digital workplace ecosystem.

Digital Workplaces Improve With Age

The good news?

Dunwoodie said companies have the analytics tools to get smarter about providing better experiences for employees — and ultimately customers.

Shoes and cars decrease in value with usage. Companies, though, can gain insights on experiences and get smarter when they pay attention.

Dunwoodie cited the “reverse aging” strategy — the more you use something the more valuable it becomes.

The Simpler Media CEO was also realistic: he told attendees he realizes organizations don’t always have deep pockets for digital workplace strategy budgets.

It’s why he partnered up with DWG: for motivation, inspiration and knowledge sharing about best practices and tools that can help.

“It’s very early,” Dunwoodie said. “And it’s overwhelming.” 

Failed Promises

Stowe Boyd of Work Futures delivered the day three morning keynote, discussing the migration of tool usage in the digital workplace.

The enterprise social tools from just five years ago failed, he said, because they did not lead to high productivity.

He called it “the failed promise of social collaboration.” Those tools aimed to provide coordinated activity to help organizations get work done.

Stowe Boyd
Stowe Boyd pushes the Digital Workplace Experience audience to ask the right questionsPHOTO: Jeff Callen

But they failed to address and cater to individuals, Boyd said, and more importantly, failed to recognize the importance of "deep work."

Productivity is a poor metric for collaboration tools, Boyd added.

They shape employee culture and need to be connected to something that’s “greater than the sum of our parts.”