What Are the Digital Workspace and the Digital Workplace?
In this article
Digital technologies have become critical as businesses attempt to tackle trends like digital working, the hybrid work model and remote work. Organizations need to integrate technologies that help their employees collaborate with each other and their customers to do their jobs as effectively as possible regardless of where they're located.
To achieve this, organizations are prioritizing digital workspaces that enable access to collaboration and video conferencing solutions and deliver exceptional employee experiences. The digital workspace is also key to enabling internal communications, simplifying IT, ensuring compliance and maintaining data security.
What is the digital workspace?
The digital workspace is comprised of the applications, platforms and tools that employees use to interact with each other and do their daily jobs. These digital solutions ensure all employees have the flexibility to access any application from any device regardless of where they're located.
The digital workplace is a broader term and includes the digital technology in the physical location that people do their work from. On the work site, the digital workplace may include digital signage, wayfinding apps on a smartphone or displayed on walls, temperature scanners, smart cameras, digital whiteboards, huddle spaces equipped with video endpoints. Essentially, any location you choose to work from can be considered your digital workplace from which you access the digital workspace.
The terms digital workspace and digital workplace solutions tend to be used interchangeably in the industry. For example, Gartner hosts a Digital Workplace Summit, and Microsoft has rebranded its digital workspace Modern Work. VMware also has a digital workspace named Anywhere Workspace, and Workplace by Meta (previously Facebook) now provides an online, virtual reality-enabled workspace called Horizon Workrooms.
What are the benefits of a digital workspace?
The digital workspace is increasingly central to employees' everyday working lives. It gives them all the tools they need for digital working, helping them stay on top of their workload, communicate with their colleagues and clients, and deliver critical projects on time. Key benefits of a digital workspace include:
An efficient workforce
The digital workspace is crucial to helping people work as efficiently and securely as possible from remote locations. Armed with a range of digital apps, platforms and tools, your employees can seamlessly work from anywhere at any time. These tools are critical to removing digital friction, which is when the technology solutions employees have access to are ineffective or counterintuitive and lead to reduced productivity levels.
Happier employees - Talent attraction and retention
In the digital workspace, your employees can easily collaborate with colleagues and customers and work more productively. Providing flexibility for employees to work how, when and where they want is vital to job satisfaction. For example, Cisco insight finds that 64 percent of employees say being able to work from anywhere, rather than going to an office, impacts whether they stay in their job. As a result, providing access to the latest technology attracts the best talent and aids employee retention.
Accelerates digital transformation
The apps, platforms and tools of this new way of working help to power your organization's digital transformation efforts. The seamless and simple real-time collaboration it puts into your employees' hands enable your organization to bring new products and services to market quickly and interact with customers more efficiently. Therefore, an intuitive and robust digital workspace designed around each employee persona is critical to eliminating barriers to agile collaboration, high-performance teamwork and innovation.
What are the challenges of the digital workspace?
The digital workspace also comes with challenges that you need to address to ensure employees can do their jobs seamlessly and securely at all times. These challenges include:
Inter-organizational alignment and consensus
One of the biggest challenges digital workspaces can create is the differing priorities between your organization's various business units, departments and locations. These different expectations and preferences can lead to problems with budget allocation and can make it hard to gain momentum. Delivering the tools that various departments need can lead to deploying too many tools and overspending on unnecessary licenses.
Digital workspace success relies on deploying technologies that complement each other and are interoperable. You need to ensure that digital workspace apps, platforms and tools can integrate and be used by employees, securely from anywhere. Security policy, endpoint security tools, network infrastructure and wireless access also impact the digital employee experience.
Watch this 3-minute video WWT consolidated our customer's nine meeting platforms and created interoperability between Webex, Google, Zoom and MS Teams so that Clayco employees could simply join any meeting with one button to push. We also integrated Outlook calendar, room scheduling devices, wayfinding and digital signage to deliver an intuitive employee experience.
Business departments and individual employees often demand access to specific tools they need to complete certain tasks or jobs. Giving in to these demands can lead to having too many apps and platforms that are only used by a handful of people. It's therefore essential to develop a strategic roadmap that enables flexibility without tool sprawl or excessive software licenses.
It's easy for organizations to unintentionally end up with multiple tools that perform the same function. This duplication is inefficient and costly, as you pay for multiple licenses and user seats, but it also creates confusion among employees and forces IT to support too many tools.
Compliance and security
The digital workspace is fantastic for unlocking employee creativity and productivity. However, it's critical to ensure employee data and sensitive business information are secure and that your organization maintains compliance with various industry, legal and privacy regulations. With employees working remotely, you also need to deploy endpoint security to protect their devices and ensure they access corporate resources via secure networks.
Getting all employees on board
To successfully deploy digital workspaces, it's vital to ensure all your employees are on board. This means going beyond standard employee training to ensure actual adoption and empowerment.
How do I build a roadmap to the digital workspace?
A digital workspace roadmap enables employees to access the tools they need to do their job and do so securely. A clear, prioritized roadmap also assists clarity, ensures people access new technologies when they need them and aligns your organization's various departments and locations.
To build an effective digital workplace strategy, you need to:
- Base the roadmap on workforce personas to ensure it's flexible to employees' working methods and the tools they require.
- Take time to carefully plan, prioritize and research your roadmap, considering the requirements of all end-users and stakeholders from across the business.
- Understand your employees' needs, map requirements and shape your roadmap accordingly.
- Keep the roadmap achievable without overcommitting or looking too far ahead. Model success and build the business case.
- Take an agile approach and build in regular checkpoints and assessments.
How does World Wide Technology help with digital workplace solutions?
WWT helps you build a strategic roadmap then successfully implement and install your digital workspace solutions. This includes helping you design the architecture of your digital workspace solution to ensure all the apps, platforms and tools are interoperable and integrated.
WWT can deploy the solution working alongside or in place of your IT team. This includes:
- Bringing various stakeholders together to build consensus and alignment on digital workplace strategy
- Unifying management of end user devices, meeting platforms and calling, messaging, signage.
- A professional services and infrastructure services team that can be deployed to your locations around the world.
- Four global Integration Centers that configure and ship devices and equipment ready for use.
- Licensing and software advisors to help you gain the best value and ensure budget predictability.
- Adoption Services that go beyond regular training of employees to ensure full empowerment of digital workspace technologies.
Discover how WWT can build consensus and alignment around your digital workspace roadmap with our envisioning workshop.