Up until the recent emergence of COVID-19 a lot of our focus has been on enabling employees to get their work done in the physical workplace using enabling technologies such as online presentations, audio-visual, chat and voice (unified communications and collaboration technologies). That’s not to say that using the right mix of technologies outside the workplace was not part of the considerations, however it was not as high profile of a consideration as it has now become.
Arguably our Digital Workplace Vision & Roadmap consultancy service should now be renamed “Digital Work from Anywhere Vision & Roadmap” or something a bit catchier, however there is very little change needed to the approach.
How to develop your Digital Work from Anywhere Vision & Roadmap
This is the approach we have used to develop enterprise digital workplace vision and roadmaps which needs little modification to be used to develop a work from anywhere strategy.
1. Voice of the Customer Workshops
As part of discovery, our starting point is to conduct workshops with representative users across the organisation. Depending on the organisation this may include departments/groups such as finance, operations, HR, customer experience, R&D, marketing etc. These workshops are focused on understanding current ways of working including what works well, the constraints, the issues; and aspirational ways of working to understand employees ideas, what they have experienced in other organisations or what they have heard about elsewhere. Expectations are set that they will not get everything on their wish list.
2. Voice of the Stakeholder Workshops
In addition to customers/users of technology, its important to understand stakeholder views. Similarly, we need to understand what works well and what doesn’t, but also which of the user aspirations for new ways of working are feasible and which are not. This may depend on current technologies, projects in flight and IT product roadmaps. Of course, it will also depend on the costs of implementing and maintaining new solutions.
From the workshops they key findings and themes can be developed. Many of these will be anticipated such as collaboration and flexibility, however there will be findings that were unexpected and often straight forward to implement that can make a big difference to employee experience. As part of this analysis we develop user personas to describe different types of users. Examples might include “Road Warrior” or simply Mobile indicating that this group of users does not need a fixed desk. Once the personas have been developed and described, technology profiles can be developed to describe the type of technologies that will be needed to enable these users to get their work done in new ways.
With technology profiles developed describing the end user technology requirements, additional analysis is required to develop options for how best to meet these requirements. This is more involved that simply choosing vendors and models, as it requires consideration of factors such as integration, support, operating model, user experience, training and others. It is also the opportunity to look at new and emerging technologies which can be researched and assessed. At this point shortlists of technology options can be developed through scoring technology features against requirements.
5. Vision & Roadmap
The technology vision of a Work from Anywhere vision and roadmap is often something like “Work from any device, anywhere, at any time” which could probably be applied to many organisations, particularly post COVID-19. However, a roadmap needs to be developed by pulling together the discovery, analysis, research, requirements, and options. This roadmap should define the journey to design, plan and implement the most appropriate technologies that will deliver the vision, key themes, and findings.
Summary & Key Considerations
One of the most interesting aspects of going through this process is that it is very much a change strategy that is being developed as much as it is a technology strategy. Engaging representative users upfront in co-designing the solution is extremely important when it comes to adoption as these representative users become the change champions that advocate adoption and assist others becoming familiar with how to use the new solutions.
Whilst traditionally we have used this approach to develop workplace technology strategies, using this approach as a work from anywhere strategy is highly effective and will likely need to be an ongoing process as opposed to a one-off if we are looking at a systemic shift in the amount of people working outside of the workplace going forward.
CS Technology is an IT consultancy that specialises in workplace and data centre programs. The firm is headquartered in New York with regional offices in Sydney, Melbourne and London. For more information go to CSTechnology.com