Customer & Market Orientation as Missing Pieces in the List of the Digital Workplace Project Objectives

Last week I wrote an English version of my three key objectives that drive and characterize the Digital Workplace strategy. One comment I have received on the article was that all of the mentioned objectives were internally focussed – and none of them linked to the customer-facing side (besides maybe the digital transformation part). Certainly I have to agree on this as this remembered me about an interview that we have recorded with Jane McConnell some time ago in the aftermath of her talk at the former E2.0 SUMMIT 2014 in Paris (see the complete article with the included interview on this: Digital Workplace is driven by the idea to support the customer-facing process!).

Putting the “customer-facing process” into the equation for the objectives of the Digital Workplace also relates to a recently shared image by Jennifer Honig from Techstra Solutions. She posted two weeks ago the following statement with the following chart:

I “sell” by focusing on “Hard Value” – Share your tips today at 2ET on

Looking at the “hard values” in this chart brings two more objectives for the Digital Workplace orientations came to my mind – that are both building upon the transformative character of the Digital Workplace but are not aiming at the “digital” change:

Digital Workplace as Support for the Customer Experience (short CX) Strategy

Maximizing the “Customer Experience” is the new black in Marketing, Sales and Service – key to this approach is to break down the silos between the customer-facing departments but also to change the mindset towards a new customer relationship thinking. It’s the “experience” that the customer is doing with the product and all the processes around that is core to this idea. The collaboration and transparent information flow alongside with these processes are therefore an important support and enabler to realise this objective.

With this approach the business and the organisational models are both questioned and the change towards the digital customer brings in an even more disruptive need to change. The challenge is therefore the change in mindset towards an holistic understanding of the customer experience with in the organization. Like for the “digital transformation” objective the Digital Workplace becomes the supporting act for a “change @ scale” as the technology offers the opportunity to improve the information flow, to make changes and results more transparent, and to enhance the service-orientation within the company.

Is digital experience management the new social business?

Image Source: Is digital experience management the new social business?

As for all the other objectives the “digital enablement” is key to the success of the support by the Digital Workplace. The right “sharing” behavior of information, knowledge and process outcomes is crucial to the change management efforts. The right leadership is giving the role model for the change. Storytelling on good practices for changing the “customer experience” by a digitally enabled collaboration are important change actions for this approach.

Regarding the technological concept the Digital Workplace in this sense needs to be deeply integrated with the customer-facing process systems. The messaging and conversational layer becomes the key lever for improving the customer experience efforts beyond departmental silos and for making change efforts more transparent.

Digital Workplace as Driver for a Culture of Innovation

The second missing piece in my objectives outline from last week is the race for a culture of innovation that is seen as the savior in competitive markets. This goes even beyond the CX orientation that is focussed on the process and product innovation for providing a new “experience” to the customer. The innovative culture objective is about establishing a new, forward-thinking mindset in general. The role of the Digital Workplace is meant to be again the enabler and supportive act for the “change at scale” for this approach.

Thus – as for all the other transformation objectives the key to success is found less in the technological and more in the change approach. In regards of the success of the Digital Workplace as “change enabler” it’s all about the role modelling of the leadership. If the management board is not using the Digital Workplace to share thoughts about new ideas and to give a good example for an open and forward-thinking mindset, the organisation will not follow.

In regards to the “change” enablement for better making use of the Digital Workplace it’s also again about the “digital enablement” and storytelling to amplify the good examples of changed behavior.

Because this approach is dependent on the serendipity – more than any of the other approaches -, the openess of the systems and “flatness” of the informational structure is important in regards to the technological concept. Furthermore it’s more about the discussions and the exchange of information “around the processes”, than the transparency towards the stream of process actions that counts in this approach – therefore the integration of process is less crucial than for e.g. the “high performance orientation”.

In summary, it can be said that we can distinguish the different objectives in two different types: the apriori non-transformative (High Performance & Employee Experience) and the apriori-transformative (Digital Transformation, CX & Culture of Innovation) approaches. While the first group of approaches is mainly dependent on the “digital enablement” and change efforts to integrate the Digital Workplace into the day-to-day working routines, the second group needs to put the emphasis mainly on the change efforts in regards to the leadership and culture with the Digital Workplace as an enabling toolset for change @ scale.

Different Types of Digital Workplace Strategy Objectives & their Relation to the Need and Type of Change Actions
Different Types of Digital Workplace Strategy Objectives & their Relation to the Need and Type of Change Actions

Looking forward to any comments on this!