Three Ways Digital Transformation is Changing the Workplace

Earlier this month, I came across an article which challenged the status quo within organizations. It stated that the way we envision our business should be aligned with the technologies contained within it. The article brings digital transformation (referred to as “DX”) to the forefront of office culture by first defining it, then bringing to light its purpose and advantages that it can have when implemented in the workplace.

Digital Transformation is defined as:

“…the reworking of the products, processes and strategies within an organization by leveraging current technologies.”

In this sense, we can find many potential advantages to using this framework, but wewill focus on three key ones to start.

1. Flattened bureaucratic framework through instant communication between silos.

The article describes how the process of DX can enhance the overall framework of your business, in terms of hierarchy. Without our instant communication tools and devices like Google Hangouts, smartphones and email, there could be large communication gaps between all segments of the company.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

Leveraging a complete DX solution, we can solve most communication issues by sending instructions directly to the person they relate to with an audit trail, instead of through three levels of command. As communication speeds up in our workplace, it’s important to still give our employees some measure of space as to not overload them, which is where the human experience in the workplace becomes a factor.

2. Catering to the human experience through use of smart-lighting and furnishing of the overall office space.

Improving the human experience at work is a simple way to increase productivity and morale amongst your staff. Imagine a space where everyone has access to adjustable standing desks that are proven to increase concentration and reduce fatigue when working long hours. You might find your employees working overtime just to reap the benefits of the furniture you’ve provided!

Smart-lighting, implemented properly can ensure your employees are getting enough light exposure. In extreme cases where your location is poorly lit or suffers from a long winter, Vitamin D-promoting spectrum lamps can be utilized inside your office space. According to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, these have other positive benefits for your employees including enhanced mood and mental awareness.

3) Improved digital security and peace of mind when storing important records.

Old methods of record keeping (ledgers, magnetic tape storage, slow archaic databases) are quickly proving to be more of a hazard than help, as inconsistencies in storage and processes conflict with our more modern practices. Even a small company of one of two people should be able afford a mass data storage and backup solution like Google Drive for a low monthly fee, or purchase a computer for on-premise use at a similar cost. We should keep in mind though that not all of these upgrades are without fault.

The article also calls attention to the importance of training employees on secure data practices. As we shift to more digital solutions and DX, it is critical that your team understands security measures and how to keep their devices secure from unlawful entry or phishing attacks. With regards to cybersecurity as a whole, the article mentions the following statistics, published by Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Aruba subsidiary:

“A quarter (25 percent) of employees have connected to potentially unsafe open Wi-Fi in the past 12 months, 20 percent said they use the same password across multiple applications and accounts, and 17 percent admitted to writing down passwords to remember them.”

These numbers are meant to serve and not scare, so please plan accordingly as you find your business evolving toward the realm of DX.

Finally, the article points out that the process of DX is not without its challenges. In particular, you will find that as structures around your business and process become more malleable, there will be resistance from employees. Strong change management, and a focus on showing people in your organization the benefits of DX, can mitigate this discomfort, while weak change management in senior or middle management will severely hamper your timelines and movement through the process. If you start hearing statements like: “if you leave it alone, the problem will resolve itself” or “that’s the way we’ve always done it”, there might be cause for further investigation into why the changes aren’t being accepted.

Has your business made the shift towards digital transformation? If so, have you encountered the advantages discussed throughout this article? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments down below.

Thomas RautenbachArchitect
Thomas Rautenbach has over 20 years of diverse systems experience with a strong focus on system and integration architecture and software design and development. He has detailed technical, functional and system knowledge across the SAP technology platform, including extensive experience with the Finance, Supply Chain, Sales and Distribution, and Human Resources modules.

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