building blocks
How are you building your digital workplaces? PHOTO: woodleywonderworks

For many organizations, it's a familiar tune. 

All efforts focus on the customer. 

Businesses invest in marketing campaigns, enterprise-level platforms to support the entire customer journey. Analytics. Customer data.

Meanwhile, the tools for those companies' employees are scattered. You email this department head. You IM this executive. You share a file via Box with another colleague. No analytics. No rhyme or reason to the madness.

Disparate information. No governance. No collaboration strategy.

Building strong digital workplaces begins with recognizing it's your employees who drive them. Disengaged employees will probably lead to disengaged customers.

We'll be discussing what it takes to drive digital workplace success at CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group’s Digital Workplace Experience, starting today and running through June 21 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago.

Before the conference, we caught up with practitioners to hear their advice for building successful digital workplaces. 

The Question

Digital workplace success starts with ...

The Answers

Natalia Kermode, Managing Director of Sales, Americas, movingimage

Natalia Kermode
Natalia Kermode

Kermode is an experienced leader in the corporate video industry, combining deep technical knowledge and a successful track record in global sales. In April she was named movingimage's managing director of sales, Americas, where she is driving the company’s North American expansion and growing its partner network, which already includes major partners such as Microsoft, Akamai and Citrix. Kermode came to movingimage from competitor Kaltura, where she managed US and global enterprise and channel sales for seven years and personally signed more than half of the company’s Fortune 100 clients. Prior to Kaltura, Kermode held senior sales positions at Fliqz, Morgan Stanley and The New York Times. Tweet to @movingimage_com

Digital workplace success starts with having an informed and engaged workforce that has the tools they need to easily consume and contribute content. These tools need to support easy collaboration and ensure secure communication, but they also need to give the employee the sense that work data is just as accessible as all other forms of communication they use in everyday life. In today’s fast-paced, always-on digital workplace, that means video.

Video is the most impactful and efficient method of communication. That’s why video has dominated global internet traffic since 2010 and employee-generated video content has become a vital tool for modern enterprises. Seventy-five percent of international C-level and IT professionals note the importance of incorporating video into existing company applications and system landscapes. 

With today’s distributed and remote workforce, personal face time is at a premium. And every employee, whether down the hall or on the other side of the world, needs to feel present and connected. Video is unrivaled at facilitating teamwork, collaboration and personal engagement. It conveys meaning and context in a way that conference calls and emails cannot.  

Mike Hicks, Vice President, Marketing, Igloo

Mike Hicks
Mike Hicks

Mike Hicks is a digital transformation enthusiast who brings 20 years of experience to Igloo. He leads all marketing efforts, including responsibility for bringing new products and services to market. He is a recognized leader in global enterprise software marketing and specializes in transforming disparate marketing silos into integrated demand generation engines that grow company value. He is adept at creating a culture of sharing and alignment against a common set of objectives, across all functional teams responsible for supporting product success. Tweet to @Mike_Hicks

Digital workplace success starts with identifying the specific business challenges you’re trying to solve, and then rolling out a series of solutions that addresses them. The challenges our clients face when they first come to us typically fall into four main pillars: Communications, Collaboration, Knowledge Management and Employee Engagement. 

Solving for challenges across these pillars is the foundation for improving productivity and innovation in an organization, along with an extremely important by-product: nurturing and improving company culture.  

By moving beyond a generic intranet and implementing purpose-built digital workplace solutions (like a newsroom, governance center, brand portal, onboarding center), you can then begin to build a purposeful digital workplace that your employees will love to use. It becomes the digital destination for your employees, a single place where they start their day and where they communicate, collaborate, share knowledge and get their work done.

It’s important to remember that digital workplace success is much more than just the technology. True digital workplace success comes from changing the way employees approach and actually use the new digital tools they have at their disposal, seizing opportunities and improving ways of working, experimentation and innovation, and a lot of times it’s about changing behaviors and instilling a sense of ownership amongst employees.

Success also comes from recognizing that it’s a journey and requires champions across the organization who embrace and showcase the productivity and innovation benefits of this new way of working. They need to force others to challenge the status quo. 

This can take effort and sweat equity, but in a very short period of time, organizations that support this transition across all levels of leadership soon see that it is a very rewarding journey.

Elizabeth Marsh, Director of Research, Digital Workplace Group

Elizabeth Marsh
Elizabeth Marsh

In her role as director of research at the Digital Workplace Group, Marsh is responsible for the management and development of the research program. Marsh co-authored "The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering Digital Workplaces Fit for the Future" with DWG CEO Paul Miller to provide a roadmap for digital workplace practitioners. She regularly blogs and speaks at industry events. Tweet to @digitalsanity

Successful digital transformation — both inside and outside the organization — starts with digital leadership. Yet many leaders are struggling to understand how to evolve their leadership capabilities in the digital world of work and truly to understand the potential value of organizational transformation. 

To address this, leaders need to understand how to lead in the digital workplace as well as how to lead the digital workplace. This involves developing the digital skills and principles that guide their leadership practices and gaining a strong understanding of why leadership in the digital workplace is a core component of wider digital transformation. Digital Workplace Group calls this “Inside-Out Digital Leadership.”

Improving digital leadership, and the digital workplace, starts with getting a “level set” on current capability. For the digital leadership skills and principles: 

What is the current capability in the C-suite and across the various layers of leadership in the organization? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Which areas of capability need to be priorities for improvement and would have the greatest impact? What specific actions would help to close this gap? 

You can take a similar approach when thinking about digital workplace maturity, reflecting on current and desired maturity, and how to shift the organization toward the desired state.