The Digital Workplace & the Reframing of the Organization – as topic of #EntDigi SUMMIT / London

Our recent discussions have showed that we have to re-evaluate the role of the Digital Workplace within the organization. For many years the discussions regarding the Digital Workplace were limited on the focus around employee engagement and business collaboration enhancement. While this is still valid, we have to accept that it is just the first stage of benefits. It’s about supporting the existing business and operating model to become more flexible and agile for these VUCA times. And while this first stage already needs a holistic approach of employee enablement and organizational changes to become successful, the second stage is even more difficult to reach.

With the planned Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / London on 16 November we want to address the issues of bringing the Digital Workplace project and strategy from the first to the second stage. In this post I want to elaborate this focus of the discussion.

Read the Recap Series of post on the talks and discussions at Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris:

The Digital Workplace – Performance Toolset and Change Enabler

The most common referenced definition about the digital workplace is the one of James Robertson from Step Two Design:

The Digital Workplace consists of a holistic set of tools, platforms and environments for work, delivered in a coherent, usable and productive way.

The definition conceptionalize very well the technological approach as a set of tools and platforms (not one, but a combination of many) as well as the business focus related to the supportive manner for “getting things done” in a new and more effective way. The basic idea behind this objective is to enhance the business performance with a digitally enhanced working environment – in which process tools are integrated with information tools and social technology approaches provide a faster and more flexible way of collaboration.

Certainly this step already needs some kind of enablement and change of the way the individuals and the organization have been used to work and organize. And the the “new”, more collaborative way of working has the effect to demand more changes and transformation in regards to the corporate behavior and organizational design. But it will not yet enable a new operating model in the short run. For this step (as the second stage) some more elaborated change efforts (as discussed at the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / Paris) have to be set in place.

The change of objectives within the project path will be a key question for the planned Enterprise Digital SUMMIT in London with already a great list of practice talks from Heineken, Electrolux, Virgin Trains and KPMG in the morning towards White & Case, Amec Foster Wheeler and Savills in the afternoon. Furthermore we will have a discussion moderated by Janet Parkinson from Agile Elephant on the challenges that come alongside with the next technological disruption of the digital workplace – aka the cognitive and conversational approaches.

Reframing the Organization – from a change of states towards a constant state of change

Besides changing the understanding of the Digital Workplace towards an enabler for change at scale a successful transformation of the organization and workplace is certainly also dependent on a change in mindset regarding the role and function of the organization itself. The digitalization as well as the VUCA world requires not only a more flexible way of working in regards to succeed with the existing business model but also a more flexible understanding of lifespan of the business and operating model itself. Today’s business success is dependent on the adaptability and elasticity of the businesses – for this the organizations need to enable a new mindset and a new organizational design that secures the stability in some areas and supports the flexibility in new innovation areas for the company.

How these challenges are coming together with Digital Workplace approach and what recommendations can be given to succeed in this area – is the topic of the introduction talks by David Terrar (Agile Elephant), Christine Overby (Post*Shift) and Sam Isaacson (Grant Thornton) as well as of the interactive workshop sessions at the conference.

We are very much looking forward to the conference in London – and hope that we have a great discussion also with you attending the conference! If you have any comments and additional thoughts for the discussion – please feel free to comment.

Register now for the Enterprise Digital SUMMIT / London on November 16!