By integrating all the tools and technologies that employees use to get their work done, IT leaders that are making the move to the digital workplace are gaining unprecedented advantages over their competitors. Those that are embracing the next-generation workplace are reporting increases in employee satisfaction and productivity, are attracting top, new talent to their teams, and are finding the benefits extend beyond the workplace to help with customer acquisition and retention.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Forward-thinking organizations are investing in the digital workplace to help them transform to keep pace with the market. As the complexity grows, many IT teams are scrambling to provide the right experience leaving CIOs to wonder: Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Technology can certainly have a positive impact on a company, but as organizations increase their reliance on it for these applications, the potential for unintended consequences also increases. Technology is the toolbox of the digital workplace, but technological glitches happen. Opportunities for failure are numerous: service outages, performance issues, inefficient processing, heavy traffic, etc. A report from Gartner states that systemic downtime can cost a large company up to $300k/hour per incident. A failure can immediately lead to a major crisis. Employees get frustrated. IT teams, running to the rescue, are overwhelmed by a long list of tickets.  Not only does this seriously threaten the integrity of the entire process but it also affect the end-user’s perception. At this stage, all the golden promises of modernizing the workplace fizzle out.

Why is this happening?

Implementing a new digital workplace is a complex process and represents a big challenge for any organization. A digital workplace signifies, by definition, a complex work environment. Therefore, it requires a shift in the company’s IT management and also requires a governance model that supports connectivity. By offering employees more digital services and flexibility, unprepared organizations may open Pandora’s box. To avoid chaos, IT services need to work in concert across departments and in harmony with end users to produce a symphony rather than a cacophony. This approach results in continuous optimization across the workplace and will help IT become a contributor to workplace productivity versus a detractor.

Traditional IT Service desks are not designed to support a modern workplace. To keep up with the pace, IT must break away from the service desk paradigm that only enables agents to react to the flood of incidents and requests. It needs to be dynamic and user-centric. It needs to predict the needs of employees and encourage end users to be self-sufficient. The issues have to be anticipated,  and prevented rather than fixed in an emergency. Too often surprise glitches can have a detrimental impact on critical business processes. These are the great risks of the digital economy.

The solution

The solution lies in end-user experience management. To meet the demands of the modern workplace, organizations need to measure the experience of real users, directly from the endpoint across the workplace. First, technical metrics like performance, usage, availability, stability, reliability need to be monitored. Second, the direct feedback of the end users needs to be collected in context of their issues to create insight into issues. IT is shifting from an emphasis on deployment and maintenance to focus on the end user. A 2015 Gartner survey pointed out that the majority of CIOs believe end-user employee satisfaction should be used as a performance metric for IT. In short, IT needs to grow into an ‘intelligent and mature’ service that is proactive and efficient rather than reactive and fragmented. By taking this dynamic approach to IT services, the real advantages of the digital workplace can be realized.

Creating an effective digital workplace is a challenge but companies that are embracing it and making change will gain a clear advantage in productivity, innovation, collaboration and overall employee satisfaction.