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In this modern world of agile development of computing systems, one of the biggest challenges is not technology or processes.  It is people.

The increasing integration of digital technologies in all aspects of our lives is both a benefit and a challenge for organizations, employers, and employees.

Organizations are benefiting from such digital transformation including digitization of the workplace, i.e., through increased productivity, cost savings, a more mobile and agile workforce, increased flexibility, and adaptability in marketplace.  Enterprises are collaborating more globally and with more diverse and global staff.  Employees could work from anywhere and stay connected through smartphones, collaborate with peers, and stay on top of digital trends.  Organizations should be proactive in creating new systems and policies and rethinking their culture around digital developments in the workplace in order not to lose revenue, clients, productivity, and employees.

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The keys of success of digital workplaces are an effective implementation of a digital workplace strategy with a changed learning and culture.  Culture is an incentive for behavior; organizations and managers should assure that staff behavior suits to technological solutions, supports its adoption, and uses it for work, communication, and cooperation.  Entrepreneurship education should be adapted to digital transformation in order to prepare employees and employers for digital workplaces.

As we rapidly evolve our technological systems, we often are restricted by people more than any other issue.  We change our technology, but we fail to change our organizational design to map to these new technologies and processes.

This is one of the most significant issues facing businesses today.  People matter.  Therefore, we must modify our organizational design to map to the new processes and technologies being used.

The secret is to build a user-centric environment.  You do this by creating a digital workplace that enables choice of device, drives superior experiences, and boosts productivity.

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Most IT systems are largely outdated or lacking in updates. At the very least companies need to maintain the systems’ currency. So, major upgrades, changes, and technology shifts can cause disruption to a business if the people are not fully considered first.

Organizations are faced with an imperative to provide employees with a solid digital experience.  The percentage of “engaged” workers in the US is now 34 percent, according to Gallup findings.  Although that ties its highest level since Gallup began reporting the national figure in 2000, Gallup still found a ratio of two disengaged workers for every actively engaged one.

According to a 2018 survey by West Monroe Partners and the Customer Experience Professionals Association “experience design detects roadblocks within processes or policies and empowers employees to succeed.”

Organizations are investing huge sums in their digital working – intranets, unified communications, social media, micro-blogging, self-service, HR, on-boarding tools smartphone and tablet provision – and being asked to spend more.  But what is the state of your Digital Workplace right now – where are the strengths and weaknesses?  If you improve, what will you measure progress against?

Organizational design 2

When dealing with people, consider divisions of labour, unity of command, authority and responsibility, spans of control, and of course, always add contingency factors.  Should you use a strategy that is task-based, technology-based, or people-focused?  Go ahead and dream up the perfect strategy.  But it is vital to not stray too far from your company’s core business objectives simply for the sake of the technological objectives.  Never forget that the technology, processes, and people are all there to service the needs of the business.

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Some keys of success of digital workplaces are an effective implementation of a digital workplace strategy with a changed learning and culture as an incentive for staff behavior.  This should suit to technological solutions and support its adoption and use it for work, communication, and cooperation. Entrepreneurship education should be adapted to digital transformation in order to prepare employees and employers for digital workplaces.

The digital world is one that is driven by change and as with all new technological advances, companies must place the workers first and foremost.


About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.

He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s Office of the CTO, Global Services. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.