two colleagues looking at a computer screen together
PHOTO: NESA by Makers

As the business world becomes more global, more mobile and more digitized, businesses are struggling to meet the growing expectations of their employees. Driven in part by improvements in consumer technology, employees expect quick and easy access to the resources they require and the ability to collaborate readily with colleagues. 

Businesses are embracing trends old and new, including bring your own device (BYOD), the internet of things (IoT) and indoor location-based services (LBS), as well as optimizing existing business applications, all in an effort to improve workforce engagement and the employee experience. Omnichannel apps are already filling the dual purpose of improving employee productivity, while also meeting employee's expectations of access to various systems in the channel and device of their choice.

Yet as more workplace communication tools flood the market every day, the question remains: does new and ostensibly better technology mean better employee experiences?

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Provide Employees with the Right Technology

Stefano Bellasio, CEO of Cloud Academy, which develops an enterprise cloud training platform, argues that technology is, in fact, key to developing employee experiences. Companies are transforming their business operations and structure with the cloud, and to do so, he said, they need a major skill and workforce transformation. That said, business leaders know that emerging technologies will help their organizations remain competitive and many are trying to develop the right combination of technology and skills to make it work.

“Digital transformation in large organizations is just as much a cultural change as it is a technical change. The ability to successfully navigate the challenges of digital innovations and shifting business dynamics will not be defined by technology, but the internal skills to carry initiatives forward,” Bellasio said. “Because there is a virtuous cycle between the emergence of new technologies and having a properly skilled workforce, enterprise strategies must define and manage the roles and skills needed to maximize organization’s investment in the cloud and navigate the challenges of digital transformation.”

Related Article: Providing Flexibility in Workplace Tools Doesn't Mean It's a Free-For-All

Technology Drives Productivity

To determine the relationship between technology, employee experience and productivity, Jamf surveyed 580 executives, managers and IT professionals from small, medium and large organizations globally to gauge the impact of employee device choice programs on productivity and engagement. Organizations offering these types of programs include IBM and SAP. The results showed that:

  • 90 percent of employees surveyed, whose organizations currently have a choice program, believe it should become a standard for all businesses.
  • 68 percent claim that the ability to select their device of choice makes them more productive in the workplace.
  • 86 percent of respondents in large enterprises (those with over 500 employees) say that choice programs are important to the well-being of an organization.
  • 74 percent of enterprise employees would prefer a company-issued device over a personally-owned device because end users prefer to keep their lives separate.
  • 77 percent of respondents would choose to stay at a company that offers technology choice, or go work at a company that offers a similar program.

Related Article: Is Your Digital Workplace Too Big, Too Small or Just Right?

Preparing Employees for Employee Experiences

Digital transformation, Mike Graham, CEO of Epilogue Systems argues, involves a lot of people over a long period of time. Preparing for staff, budget and time exhaustion — before it happens — is critical to your team and digital transformation. External staff, such as systems integrators and software companies will vanish after the go-live date and internal staff may take themselves out of the project, or completely leave the organization. “Users must be able to effectively adopt the technology themselves in order for digital transformation to reach its full potential,” he said.

Think about digital adoption beyond the critical first months. While adoption in the first three to five months after things go-live is critical, it’s a process that’s never complete. Think of all the changes that an application experiences over time: upgrades, shifts in an organization’s application landscape, integrations and APIs, and an increasingly complex digital workplace.

Beyond that, there’s also the challenges of the workforce to account for: hiring, turnover, retirement, role changes and business model evolution.

“[Digital] adoption is not just a box to check on the road to digital transformation; it’s an ongoing process that businesses need to treat like so, or they run the risk of undermining their investment of years of work, millions of dollars and organizational disruption,” Graham added.