In This Article

It starts with rising murmurs, rumblings in the ranks, a portent of productivity issues with unsatisfied employees and leadership beginning to question "business as usual." The common thread becomes that of pointing the finger back on technology as the culprit. 

Something isn't right. Nothing seems to fit. There's a missing piece.

Silos divide consensus

All these feelings are symptoms of an organization that has had great success in growth but has organically developed into silos. These silos increasingly and negatively affect productivity and cast shadows over collaboration and teams working together. This creates expectations that are less than optimal for reaching goals.

There are many reasons this happens -- and nothing new that needs to be belabored -- but this is the enemy of change. And for an organization to succeed, they must embrace change. The market doesn't stop evolving and morphing into something new and different. Any organization that doesn't react to those changes, simply fails.  

Understanding this can be difficult and knowing how and where to seek answers even more challenging. Everyone has an opinion, vendors all seem to have an answer and a vocal minority seems to always have the "all-you've-got-to-do-is-agree-with-us" solution that only addresses their point of view.  

An enterprise is very much like a factory with many different machines, processes, functions and people that all seem to be hyper-focused on their own space. While there's an awareness of similar functions and needs (try asking the accountant in the front office what the needs of the chemist in the quality control lab are) each is rightfully focused on their own productivity.  

Expand this out to enterprises spread across national and international boundaries, mix in remote work then sprinkle in outsourced contracting (among other demands) and the odds begin to stack up against coming to any kind of actual consensus. 

This lack of consensus is the reason why organizations fail to evolve as the markets and technology change. The default option of status quo and letting everyone fend for themselves may be easier in the short term, but it erodes user confidence, business trust and long-term profitability. What is clear is that the alternative -- fundamental change -- is also not simple. It takes intentional leadership and partnership across silos to break the cycle. 

Don't become stuck

Before we jump into the three steps, we wanted to forewarn you that many organizations become stuck in a rut and cannot seem to move things forward in line with required timelines. Because of this, WWT's Digital Workspace Advisors can facilitate much of the legwork with their dynamic persona modeling service, designed to quickly move you through these steps to execution.  

First things first

While no honest person has ever said that change was easy, let's not over-complicate things. We want to avoid taking years to retool around a complicated change framework when what is needed "now" is to get everyone thinking the same thing, getting into a shelter then making long-term changes.  

In the short term, we've found that the below steps are a simplified path for the modern leader to move initiatives -- those designed to shelter from the storm -- forward in the enterprise.

  1. Align and build consensus
  2. Model success and build a business case
  3. Execute change
WWT's recommended steps for moving initiatives forward.
WWT's recommended steps for moving initiatives forward. 

Step 1: Align and build consensus

Starting with alignment requires a degree of constant engaging of different personalities and understanding different needs across silos. The catalyst to begin consensus exists though your business and unhappy end users. This is where listening and beginning to understand the various perspectives and needs throughout the business is key to building an aligned consensus on where to focus. Just ask Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft!

In our experience, organizations who are most successful make this a leadership initiative, a top-down activity through workshops on a regular cadence. This allows organizations to cut through the noise and identify enough details to develop an aligned set of requirements

It's at this step early in the process where bringing in the right partner or trusted advisor can assist with surfacing the right information and organizing it in a way that informs decisions, ensuring a strategy is developed that meets the needs of all users and business objectives. The key here is to go beyond the vocal minority. Organizations must expand their input to the entire population/business that will be affected so be prepared to engage the entire organization if required. Organizations cannot do this efficiently without time, people resources and data. A partner or advisor will assist with focusing data and discovery so assumptions can be fact-checked and, most importantly, you are able to gain consensus to transition quickly beyond strategy to your business case. Your outcomes to move on?

  • Consensus on the problem: an agreement that change needs to happen
  • Aligned set of requirements: agreement on what needs to change
  • Common stakeholder vision: agreement on where we want to go
  • Strategy: high-level agreement on how to get there

Step 2: Model success and build a business case

Why not just buy a full solution? We suppose you could if you had a one-size-fits-all solution that was ready and had an unlimited budget. Sometimes it really is that easy. If your aligned consensus is "just upgrade the licensing already" then the business case is universally understood. 

Unfortunately, the problem is that strategy and aligned consensus (aka requirements) need to be mapped to a solution, real-world numbers and a plan on a page to understand if you have a business case to change. This will get you the budget to provide a solution that will change things for the better. This is what we mean by modeling success.

Financial modeling example: CapEx vs. Hybrid (OpEx/CapEx)
Financial modeling example: CapEx vs. Hybrid (OpEx/CapEx)

Typically, we start with mapping solutions to the identified outcomes in the first step: the requirements, vision and strategy. Because the data is already gathered, you can use that as a starting point to feed into your numbers. Here is where you might need a partner.  

WWT can help you translate your data into numbers. Those numbers should be mapped to all solutions in the running, the TCO (total cost of ownership) and ROI (return on investment) to each other over a period of time, such as three or five years. Even in the case where there really is one path, these numbers will still need to be mapped as there are usually different paths to take within a solution. 

At this point, we often see hiccups. It's not always so clear cut on all the costs and there is always different ROI depending on options. Some options offer better ROI, but there might be tradeoffs, such as reduced efficiency or not as many bells-and-whistles. You will often need to make concessions, such as incremental upgrades or including legacy systems as part of the solution. The key here is understanding what places to pull your costs from as well as ensuring you are capturing all the major "gotchas."  These are the top areas that should be considered (and ensure you look at both existing and new):

  • Hardware – Infrastructure, Endpoints
  • Staffing – Administration, Support
  • Training – Admin, Support, Users
  • Software – Licenses, Subscriptions,
  • Professional Services – Design, Integration, Program Management, Change Management, Ongoing Services
  • Other – Remediation, Integrations, Miscellaneous

Keep in mind all of these areas are not costs. Some of them will involve savings or often shifting resources to more meaningful, impactful investments. To capture all the numbers, consider the benefits and added overhead to the various areas of the solution as well as its options. 

For example, combining your voice and collaboration platforms into a Modern Collaboration platform will provide efficiencies across people, processes, and technologies as long as the new solution reduces complexity and provides an engaging experience. Another example is transitioning from CapEx to OpEx, or outright purchases to a subscription model. Depending on your organization's capabilities, one might make more sense. The common sense path is to keep all options on the table that meet requirements where we move as much as possible to the new solution to realize ROI while keeping TCO low. 

As a note, please don't assume these are the only areas you will need to model. Depending on technologies, other modeling may need to be done such as a BIA, or business impact analysis where risk is the primary driver.

Now it's time to move onto building a business case … except you already have. Your business case is really just about communicating your model in a simplified message that surfaces the highlights and benefits, as well as the decisions that need to be made to key decision makers. Target a 10-minute pitch, showing a summary of the numbers. There will be questions asked by the different personalities, such as the details behind your ROI. Don't let that derail your message. If you and your team did your homework, you can take that offline and dig into the details. The important part is to gain buy-in to your case for change and, again, gain alignment and consensus on getting the budget to move things forward.

Step 3: Execute change

We are finally here. Rest assured this part is much simpler now because of the due diligence you've gone through and partnerships you have created.  It's time to build a detailed scope of work with your partners, both internal and external to your organization. This scope of work should include the areas detailed earlier (hardware, staffing, training, software, professional services, etc.).  

Typically, there's a balancing act between how much the work will remain in house versus an outside partner. Many of these workstreams can be consolidated; however, if you are like most organizations, this was needed yesterday, so partnering with an experienced transformation partner like WWT is key to moving quickly. 

How WWT's Digital Workspace Advisors can help

It's common for initiatives to go through various stages, only to be stuck and unable to make meaningful forward progress. WWT's Digital Workspace Advisory team can help.  

Our team's advisors are experienced digital workplace leaders with both technical experience and business acumen. We partner with you from strategy to execution to see through your end-user technology initiatives, providing workshops, executive engagement, strategy, resource and financial models, persona analytics, and coaching advisory services. If you're unsure where to begin, start with our our Envisioning Digital Workspace Workshop.


WWT can help bridge the gap between strategy and execution, business and technology, and physical and digital environments.


Reach out to the Digital Workspace Advisory team for assistance.