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An Enterprise Guide to Digital Workplace Management

This guide will look at all components relating to the digital workplace, explaining why it is important and how to embrace it to achieve true business transformation across your organization.

Digital Business Transformation

The term “Digital Business Transformation” encapsulates the way that organizations are introducing automation and digital technology into all areas of their business to revolutionize the way they operate and deliver value to customers.

Read more: When it comes to Digital Business Transformation, Are You Hitting the Mark?

What is a Digital Workplace?

  • The digital workplace is, by definition, a hybrid digital workplace. It is the virtual equal of the physical office space, and includes employee devices, apps, tools, software, and platforms. This means ensuring that remote staff have access to all of the collaboration and communications tools that they need, to carry out their jobs efficiently and effectively from any remote location.

With such radical changes to our working practises in recent years, the drive for business transformation is creating a new way of working. Enter “the digital workplace”. The digital workplace embraces the idea that organizations should use digital business transformation to align technology, employees and business processes to improve operational efficiency and meet organizational goals.

The digital workplace is a virtual, highly digital, modern version of the traditional workplace. The digital workplace quickly and securely provides personalized role-based services and all the applications, data, and collaboration that an employee needs, on any device, at any time, and anywhere, through a consumer-like online experience.

At the heart of a successful digital workplace strategy is the concept of the “intelligent composable business” – this is a Gartner principle that organizations should be created from highly agile interchangeable building blocks. With this in mind, the more agile your UC & collaboration framework, the easier it will be to adapt to changes in working practises, and new problems as they arise.

What does the Digital Workplace include?

The digital workplace comprises a set of digital tools that your staff use to carry out their job. A digital workplace solution should include the full suite of unified communications and collaboration tools (audio phones, audio messaging, audio conferencing, instant messaging, presence awareness, soft phones, web conferencing, video conferencing, workplace collaboration i.e. Teams rooms, unified messaging, and other services spanning both real-time and non-real-time communication engagements), plus productivity tools (such as collaborative digital file sharing, collaborative digital whiteboards etc).

Building a digital workplace is inevitable, but it is a serious undertaking that requires much planning. What is your digital workplace strategy? Be sure you understand your company’s objectives before you embark on the business transformation journey towards a highly agile, digital workplace.

What is Digital Workplace Management?

  • Digital workplace management – and digital workplace management tools – provides a central point of control over the whole digital workplace environment. Digital workplace management introduces advanced levels of automation and zero-touch workflows to make the management of  UC and collaboration platforms faster,  easier, and more repeatable.

How Does Digital Workplace Management Fit In?

A digital workplace involves multiple applications from multiple vendors, multiple interfaces, and multiple management methodologies and tools (i.e. vendor-specific and interface specific).

Many vendors offer digital workplace services and solutions. Digital workplace technology and solutions come in many guises, offering a plethora of productivity and employee experience gains. The challenge comes in meshing these into a successful, agile, and easy to manage digital workplace solution, and managing and maintaining this complex suite of multivendor collaboration tools to ensure service quality to end users.

A digital workplace management platform – or digital workplace management tools – provides a central point of control over the whole environment, to make it faster (i.e. often by an order of magnitude), easier (i.e. lower-cost, non-technical administrators can perform simple and medium tasks), and more repeatable (i.e. far less risk of human errors) to execute any given task, respond to any given problem, or scale to support new services or higher headcount. A digital workplace management platform means that your digital workplace can be fully flexible, agile, and customizable with a centralized management view across the entire organization. Role-based access control means that the central IT team can control everything (design, asset limits, etc.), but individual business units – or agencies – can retain full autonomy for the day-to-day management of their environment. A digital workplace with automation delivers a greater level of user productivity, at a lower overall operating cost (a win-win).

Why is Digital Workplace Management Necessary?

The digital workplace is here to stay. As the workforce gets used to being hypermobile – working from any location on any day – your workforce must be able to access the tools they need to carry out their tasks, easily and efficiently.

The cost to install and manage a truly agile digital workplace can be prohibitive. Digital workplace management technology takes the complexity away, saving organizations considerable amounts of time and money.

Who Needs Digital Workplace Management?

Any company that has a hybrid / mobile workforce that seeks to increase company collaboration and productivity, improve the employee experience, and unlock cost savings, will benefit from the addition of a digital workplace management platform.

Further reading

Digital Workplace Management – Integration

Your digital workplace platform should be fully integrated into wider business processes and IT functions, to give you a single view of your digital landscape and performance. With a single point of integration, organizations can achieve much higher rates of automation, while empowering the IT team to optimize UC & collaboration tools, improve end user adoption, monitor usage, and much more. A highly agile digital workplace management platform comprises:

Zero-touch provisioning

Synchronization between business systems can be extended to support flow-through, zero-touch provisioning and automated workflows that configure subscriber services

Northbound integrations

The digital workplace management platform synchronizes subscriber data with other enterprise IT systems providing near real-time updates on subscriber services, simplifying internal billing and cost allocation

Service request systems

REST-APIs offer two-way integration with service request systems such as ServiceNow, allowing service tickets to be actioned and the results fed back

Notification systems

Workflows can be readily extended to send emails and provide event updates

Identity management

Integration with other administration portals gives single sign-on capabilities to administrators, allowing integrated access to all management systems from a single log-in

Inventory tracking

Enterprise can track all assets and devices, to streamline expenditure and optimize resources

Demand for an agile framework to manage your digital workplace

Traditionally, UC management tended towards standardization as this is a way to introduce automation: the rationale being – by standardizing on certain business processes, automation could be introduced. However, standardization does not promote agility, flexibility, or mobility. And, there are a number of factors that are contributing towards a trend for enterprise organizations to desire agile and flexible UC.

The digital workplace is here. And. traditional communications are nothing like the collaborative environment that we operate in today. Organizations must adapt to suit the evolving requirements of their staff, and must provide a consistent and reliable communications framework during and after intense times of change.

The increasingly diverse UC & collaboration infrastructure coupled with the ever-changing parameters to support remote working, hot-desking, flexible employment contracts, and fixed mobile convergence, is complex. Basic or homegrown management tools just are not up to the job of catering for the demand that is being put on them.

Management tools need to be flexible enough to change, agile enough to respond quickly, and resilient.

Enterprises want best in class, and therefore need to successfully mesh an array of multi-vendor technologies into a seamless collaboration experience. This requires a highly intelligent management solution that allows technologies from disparate vendors to coexist and cooperate.

Further reading:

Delivering the digital workplace with Microsoft Teams

In recent months, organizations have had to be highly flexible and dynamic to survive, including being forced to adopt remote and home working. In turn, this has dramatically increased the demands on workplace collaboration tools – keeping organizations productive and efficient.

Organizations that have been successful in delivering the Digital Workplace are now agile, mobile, remote working and fully connected – at any time and from anywhere. For many, Microsoft Teams has become the underlying foundation supporting this – delivered as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of products (and licenses) and having firmly established itself as part of the digital IT ecosystem. Organizations have become highly dependent on Microsoft Teams and this has placed new demands on the service delivery function for partners, providers and enterprise organizations alike. These demands stack up as follows:

Reliability

Measuring the service in real-time, identifying trouble spots and rapidly resolving issues, having an element of self-healing in the service to deliver what is, in effect, a utility service out to users. Gone are the days of poor audio, dropped calls, and frozen displays. Collectively, users work without a break and the service needs to support that.

On demand

Also long gone is the call into the service desk to register a ticket for a service change that is processed manually, such as adding new users or amending service parameters. Organizations now expect to be fully self-service from order through delivery through to day-to-day management – accessed via a straightforward, non-technical portal with suitable security controls in place; automated and efficient.

Enterprise voice with Microsoft Direct Routing

How do you use the Microsoft Teams client for making and receiving calls to the public telephone network? And, is it in a way that allows an organization to keep its numbers, has suitable call and dial plan controls, makes use of the native dialer (encouraging usage), and allows on-net calling with existing systems?

Adoption and usage

Insight into the performance, user experience and feedback from what is a public (internet) cloud delivered service, coupled closely with additional systems that provide facilities such as telephony break-out, call recording, contact center and conferencing. Here, an end-to-end view is critical, and measuring performance from a remote public cloud can prove challenging.

Solving the above involves having a comprehensive view of your UC, and digitizing service delivery and management. You will hear this coined under the term #DigitalServiceDelivery and I will be exploring this theme in more detail in subsequent blog posts over the coming weeks.

Read more:

Multi-vendor management in the digital workplace

The digital workplace leads organizations towards the latest UC, collaboration, and productivity tools, to fuel productivity and agile communications. This means that organizations are selecting best of breed tools that suit specific requirements, rather than a single-vendor option. By offering multi-vendor tools , employee satisfaction and productivity increases. However, the management of the digital workplace becomes much more complex.

A quality digital workplace management platform will remove this complexity, and provide a single pane of glass view of the entire platform, across multiple vendors. The digital workplace management platform should manage all end-to-end processes to deliver multi-service and feature-rich UC.

  • Read about our largest Microsoft Teams / Cisco Hybrid UC deployment to date, which is underpinned by VOSS, here
  • Press release: VOSS Enables Combined Cisco and Microsoft Teams Collaboration and Enterprise Voice Solution for SFR Business – Read more

Digital Workplace Management – Gartner Three Pillars

People centricity

VOSS can bring value by supporting staff to be able to work effectively and efficiently in this new “remote work world”. Our technology stack enables the modern day digital workplace. Through high levels of automation, built on a highly flexible framework, we empower our customers to deliver and manage all related UC and collaboration services to enable their staff to function effectively. Access to these tools needs to be as easy and intuitive as possible, and staff now expect a consistent positive experience, in order to stay motivated and productive. This is key in retaining employees.

Location independence

The general trend is that we will not return to an always in the office work model – hybrid work structures have replaced the business model where team leaders needed their staff to be present at the office all the time. Today’s digital workplace frees staff to work from any location, accessing the same set of UC & collaboration tools no matter where they connect. At the heart of a successful digital workplace management strategy are tools that empower organizations to measure staff productivity, track service adoption and in the process understand staff behaviors, and access related reports to better understand organizational trends.

Resilient delivery

In the Gartner report, they use the phrase “Intelligent composable business” to explain how organizations should be created from interchangeable building blocks. This flexibility in design should extend across the modern day digital workplace – the more agile your UC & collaboration management framework is, the easier it will be to adapt to changes in working practices, and new problems as they arise.

Microsoft Teams Voice and the Digital Workplace

According to TomTalks, Microsoft Teams has 270 million monthly active users, but as little as 5 million users use the platform for enterprise voice to make calls to external partners, colleagues, and other parties on the PSTN. The initiative from VOSS addresses this delta, encouraging organizations to extend their use of Microsoft Teams to include their telephony strategy.

By transitioning from traditional telephony services to Microsoft Teams enterprise voice, organizations benefit from a fully immersive digital workplace experience underpinned by the Microsoft suite.

Today, companies are looking to bring their enterprise voice strategy under the Microsoft umbrella, for a seamless single-vendor experience. Here’s how:

  • Discovery Process – A deep data discovery, highlighting the existing voice inventory and set-up, possible issues and dependencies
  • Mapping and Transformation – Advanced business logic, transformation rules and filters, followed by batch loading to automate and streamline the process
  • Automation Management – Ongoing review of the user configuration, including day to day service management

Benefits

Organizations that move their voice to Microsoft Teams will offer a host of benefits:

  • Accelerated project delivery, faster time to benefits and improved user adoption
  • Automation to remove errors, manual and duplicate input
  • Improved efficiency, reducing demand on internal resources
  • Insight into existing configuration to remove surprises and risk
  • Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of scenarios
  • Cloud delivery for fast start with no disruption to services
  • A secure, predictable process with audit and roll-back

Further reading

Cognitive Collaboration

Cognitive collaboration is the practice of applying specific behavioral guidelines to an environment, giving staff the support and guidance they need to create a better atmosphere that improves collaboration.  It completely transforms the way we think about company culture and helps employers find ways to improve the employee experience and remove any factors that are detrimental to productivity.  

A major impact of cognitive collaboration is on tool utilization and uptake. By making the collaboration experience more easy and pleasant for employees, cognitive collaboration encourages users to more quickly adopt collaboration tools, unlocking productivity gains and efficiencies. 

The ability to provide rich insights into the uptake and usage of collaboration tools, along with keeping those environments healthy, is critical to overall business productivity. Knowing how the services are being utilized provides the advantage of more successfully planning future rollouts and gives the ability to focus training for those areas. Of course, ensuring the uptime of the collaboration tool along with a quality experience is paramount to getting the full value from it. 

Read more: Cognitive Collaboration in the Digital Workplace

Hybrid Working and the Digital Workplace

For the majority, we are no longer tied to one particular “work” location. Many of us have been given the freedom to work from home or from other remote locations, removing the need to make the daily commute to the office. in fact, the concept of a “place of work” has changed for good. This hybrid working model – where staff are free to perform their daily tasks from home or from the office – brings its own set of challenges:

  • Systems need to be robust, resilient and secure
  • IT administration needs to be flexible and agile to respond to change quickly
  • New communication tools that are being adopted by the workforce need top-down company evaluation and approval

To support hybrid working, companies must have the infrastructure in place and ensure that staff have access to all the tools they need to perform their daily tasks regardless of location. Often, this means embarking on a full digital business transformation. During this process of transformation, companies are increasingly opting for cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools, from multiple best of breed vendors – rather than a single-vendor solution.

Read more:

For all press and analyst enquiries, please contact the VOSS marketing team: [email protected]

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