Jane McConnell: The digital workplace lives at the intersection of people, organization and tools

e20-jane-mcconnellJane McConnell, strategic advisor on digital workplace strategies; researcher and author of “The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization, 2014 Edition”, is our next interviewee in the series.

She’ll be closing the first conference day as part of the Expert Panel discussing “Digital Workplace Concepts and Trends” Topics covered are:

  • Top 10 Trends in the survey “The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization”
  • Discussion of technological concepts of the digital workplace
  • Challenges of the application integration for the digital workplace
Jane, you will join us as speaker at the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris – what are your three keywords describing your speech?
  • Connected organizations
  • People
  • Strategic asset
So – you are talking about the findings of your recent study on the digital workplace evolution. What is your definition of the digital workplace in this regard?

This year’s report is called “The Digital Workplace in the Connected Organization”. If you ask me to describe the digital workplace in one sentence, I’d say: “The digital workplace lives at the intersection of people, organization and tools”. Many people think of it as a technology or a set of tools, but it is much more. Here is a diagram that represents the digital workplace model I have defined with help from the 2013-2014 Digital Workplace Advisory Board.

You can see that the digital workplace model is built around three perspectives. Each perspective has three dimensions.

  • Mindset: values, expectations and ways of thinking that determine how people and organizations act.
  • Capabilities: where people and tools come together serving the purposes of individuals, business and the enterprise
  • Enablers: where the organization and tools come together facilitating change: processes, structures and reach (people and places).

This year a Digital Workplace Scorecard has been defined using this model and we compare scores from different industries and zoom in on specific segments to help understand what is driving successful digital workplaces. The scores are based on self-assessment and answers to over 100 questions in the online survey. Each participating organization receives their own Digital Workplace Scorecard (privately).

DigitalWorkplaceModelSumming-up the key findings – what is your three-sentenced statement on this?

Communities are becoming an official part of organizational design. Early adopters are giving them key roles in knowledge management and decision-making. They are professionalizing the role of Community Manager, many making it a full-time job.

[Tweet “Communities are becoming an official part of organizational design. #e20s”]

Enterprise Q&A is winning business managers over to social networking and micro-blogging as enterprise-wide deployment makes it easier to tap into knowledge and expertise across the organization connecting people and experts who do not know each other personally.

Line of business and operational managers are influential in modeling change and have been rated as key “change drivers” 17 percentage points higher than 12 months ago. They are also involved in strategic decision making in early adopter organizations where they and top CEO-level management are twice as involved in strategic decision-making as in the majority or organizations.

How important is mobilization of the workforce and the more laissez-faire attitude of the IT in regards to BYOD for this evolution?

It all started with BYOD for mobile devices, but has now evolved to include BYOPC for computers and BYOA for apps and applications. These non-corporate devices and applications are being using for work purposes but with varying degrees of acceptance and support.

50 percent of early adopters accept and even encourage it with policies in place that make it official. Another 23 percent were defining their policies at the time of the survey. 21 percent of early adopters provide official support and another 53 percent provide best effort support. So there are now over 70 percent of early adopters that have taken a positive, proactive stand on BYOD.

People are using their own non-corporate mobile apps as well as consumer applications in the cloud for work purposes. Non-corporate mobile apps are more accepted than non-corporate applications. As computers get smaller and smartphones bigger, this may change.

Thirty-five percent of organizations report that BYOA is “officially discouraged but accepted”.

What are your predictions for 2014?

From a pragmatic viewpoint, I predict that mobile services will increase sharply in 2014 after a slow 2012 and 2013. Mobile services for employees will exist in 40 percent of organizations by the end of 2014. 30 percent of organizations will have specific mobile services designed for customer-facing workforce by the end of 2014.

Strategically speaking, more organizations will treat their digital workplace as s Strategic Asset, (which is one of the dimensions in Mindset in my model shown above). This means it will be considered essential for doing business, will be reported at the highest levels of the organization and will gradually become part of the way everyone works. Of course, this will not “happen” in 2014 but I believe there will be a movement in that direction. We’ll know better after the 2014-2015 survey takes place!

Together with Michel Ezran, Jane will be closing the second day of the Enterprise 2.0 Summit in Paris, they’ll be discussing “Digital Workplace Concepts and Trends“.

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Rogier Noort
I'm a Social Business addict coming from the technical depths of IT and rising from these dark ages, through web and social, to the enlightened field of Social Business. Also blogger, podcaster, talker and listener.