A man and a woman smiling on a couch sitting down in front of balloons that spell "2017." There was plenty to smile about in the digital workplace technology arena in 2017.
There was plenty to smile about in the digital workplace technology arena in 2017. PHOTO: Jr and Anj Panganiban

In the workplace arena, practitioners have digital transformation top of mind. Next year is likely to bring with it even more change and innovation. So as 2017 winds down, we're taking a look back at the stories that mattered most to our readers. 

Here they are, CMSWire's top digital workplace stories of the year.

10. Why You Can't Buy a Digital Workplace

Increasingly we hear IT departments refer to their Office 365 programs as being a "digital workplace" initiative. Similarly, during my research on SharePoint Intranets in-a-box, several vendors called their products a "digital workplace." 

This trend is troubling. Here's why a digital workplace is not something you can just buy and install.

9. Ready or Not, Here Come the 'Digital Employees'

"Forces colliding in the workplace are putting stress on the traditional ways of managing and structuring work. "New and emerging technologies are transforming the type of work employees perform, as well as where and how work gets done."

Wow. That's quite a lot to digest about the effects of technological, cultural and demographic changes on workplaces of all kinds.

8. Is Robotic Process Automation Finally Here?

A recent Forrester Research report found the robotic process automation (RPA) market — a space sometimes called the robotic digital workplace, among other names — would grow to $2.9 billion by 2021 from a base of $250 million in 2016. 

This is a nice growth spurt by any measure — but it comes with a catch. RPA's current path is not sustainable in its current form, or at least there is not enough demand for what these companies are currently offering to propel the industry to any meaningful growth.

7. Your Digital Transformation Won't Succeed Without Cultural Change

How are older, established companies doing with their digital transformation efforts? 

If we're to judge by the attention given the newer, more disruptive technology companies, it appears not very well. Yes, traditional companies are having some degree of success, Walmart post-Jet acquisition comes to mind here, but are they seen as leading the charge or following?

6. Digital Transformation Is More About the 'Transformation' Than the 'Digital'

Have you ever been struck by the sound of an old-fashioned phone ringing in the middle of a crowded restaurant or public transit stop? I'm betting you have. And I'll also bet the person who chose that retro ringtone was old enough to remember when that sound came from a land line. 

We hear the phrase “digital transformation” a lot these days, and it often seems to focus on only half of the equation: digital. But the popularity of that 20th century ringtone — so comforting to the Gen Xers who grew up with it — is a clear indicator where the real emphasis should be: on transformation.

5. Jive Software Acquired by ESW Capital for $462M

Jive Software kicked off its JiveWorld conference in May with a surprise announcement: ESW Capital has acquired the enterprise collaboration provider for $462 million in cash. The move confirms what many analysts had predicted for Jive in the last few years: a buyout for a company whose value peaked at $1.7 billion in April, 2012 but has fallen to south of $500 million.

4. Zoho One Operating System for Business Launches with $30 Price Tag

Zoho CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu in May shared the company's vision of releasing an "operating system for businesses."

It realized that ambition in July with the release of Zoho One, an operating system designed to accomplish any work-related task. Zoho One integrates the company's 36 apps as well as 40 mobile apps for Android and iOS in one central system, accessible through a single sign-on.

3. 10 Best Companies to Work For in Tech

Hired released findings that uncovered the best places to work, according to tech workers. Once again, ping pong, beer and naps are not the top reasons why brands score high marks from their employers. Although, most would agree thatping pong, beer and naps should not be discouraged.

Hired surveyed 2,349 tech workers in the areas of software engineering, product management, design and data science to uncover what are the best places to work in 2017.

2. 10 Digital Workplace Trends Shaping the Future of Work

Many of the discussions about the digital workplace and digital transformation strategies share a certain assumption: workers are jumping at the opportunity to go digital. However, new research from Deloitte's Human Capital business indicates the move to digital workplaces is not as fast, or as efficient as might be expected, and that a large disconnect separates the leaders of organizations from the workers when it comes to digital.

1. IBM Reportedly Ends Remote Working as Layoff Rumors Grow

Is IBM trying to reverse 19 consecutive quarters of declining revenue through layoffs disguised as relocations and a tough new ban against remote working? That's the upshot of multiple news reports and increased social media chatter about major problems at Big Blue.

According to a series of news reports from the UK publication The Register, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has already instituted a regressive policy that effectively ends remote working.