The first step is knowing where you are
If you’ve ever gone through a major home renovation, you know it’s not as easy as it seems on television. Major transformations require careful planning and specialized expertise, and sometimes it’s difficult to say, “Out with the old and in with the new.” Rethinking your digital workplace, intranet, or the tools you currently use is a similar exercise. It’s about rewiring the way you work in pursuit of a more comfortable, productive, and secure place to spend your days. Like houses built before the digital age, most solutions weren’t designed for the way we work today.
Our jobs are no longer tied to a place. We work from home, during our commutes, and while travelling for business – across all kinds of devices. All this mobility gives us much-needed flexibility to get work done. But if your intranet can’t keep up, it can have a crippling effect on communication, engagement, and innovation. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. With the right partner, modernizing your intranet or creating a digital workplace from scratch can be easy and cost effective – and can pay you back in short order.
In order to know where you're going, it’s important to know where you’ve come from, where you currently are, and where you want to be on the digital maturity scale.
Surprisingly, many organizations today don’t have an intranet or digital workplace solution. Instead, they have a collection of apps that they use to replicate the most basic functions (e.g. file sharing, messaging, social, workflow, approvals). The challenge with this approach is all information remains in silos, and there's no consistent destination where employees can go to get key information about their business, engage with other employees, and build a relationship with the leadership team.
The apps strategy
This stage is focused on making information available. It’s top-down, fairly static, and news-based. In essence, it’s a file repository: a place where employees go to consume information.
The basic intranet
While still top-down, this stage includes some form of personalization and customization. There's basic collaboration and interaction between people, with spaces where teams can share information and files. The extended intranet is still the industry average.
The extended intranet
This stage facilitates communication with senior leaders, ensuring that strategic intentions are clear and on-the-ground difficulties are understood. Collaboration is a key focus for knowledge workers, and the tools of the modern intranet enable file sharing and instant messaging. Deploying and developing a modern intranet can be a big change for some companies. Moving collaboration online and out of email allows people to be more involved in their departmental and project work. The intranet becomes the place to create and share information, to talk to teammates, and even to automate some business tasks. The modern intranet is the productivity phase of the digital workplace transformation.
The modern intranet
This most mature phase sees the emergence of a comprehensive business transformation. It’s the ultimate business transformation phase. We no longer talk about the intranet, but rather about a digital destination. It’s the place where employees start their day and where they go to communicate, collaborate, and share knowledge – as they get their work done. The digital workplace supports cross-functional collaboration, pre-defined workflows, BYOA (bring your own apps), and mobile access. Further, it’s a real part of your employee brand and company culture, enabling engaging communications and direct involvement with company matters.
The digital workplace
Time for a reno?
Companies look very different today than they did 10 years ago. Whether it’s the ubiquity of the telecommuter or the shifting generational demographics of the workforce, it’s harder than ever to foster corporate identity and culture. The rise of Bring-Your-Own-Everything has been great for productivity, but it has also created new issues for IT, challenged traditional communication models, and increased the risk of data loss and security breaches.
Most IT decision-makers imagined that the intranet they invested in some time ago – whether it was SharePoint, a homegrown solution, or something else altogether – would be enough to meet their company’s needs for years to come. Chances are, that’s not the case. In fact, that aging solution may have been impeding productivity for a while now.
As a general guideline, if employees aren’t using it, or see it as a nuisance, it’s not working for you. The crux of the problem is this: you’ve already made investments in your intranet or collaboration technology. You’re hesitant to flush it away, but your “solution” isn’t helping anyone work smarter, faster, or better. So are you really saving money, or are you wasting it? It’s time to make some decisions.
What are the options?
Replace and migrateSome houses are simply too outdated to justify fixing. Just as you would put your house on the market, buy a new home, and move all your belongings, you can make the tough decision to close down your old intranet, migrate the important data, and start fresh with a smarter, more modern solution.
Other homes have “good bones,” so you renovate the bigger areas and simply maintain the rest. In this scenario, merging your legacy intranet with the clean interface of a modern intranet makes it easy for employees to securely search, access, and download information that continues to be stored where you’ve always kept it.
Ignore, do nothing, and hope it goes awayOf course, some homeowners opt to do nothing. They simply cross their fingers that there are no costly catastrophes down the road. But when it comes to your intranet, trouble can start to brew in the background, and the cost of small fixes and setbacks can start to accumulate. Not to mention the potential costs you might incur if you don’t adapt your tools to keep up with the “Joneses" -- your competitors.
Your decision on what to do next in your digital transformation comes down to where you are, where you want to be, and what time frame you have. Many organizations today that are in Stage 0-2 on the digital workplace maturity scale are electing to skip to Stage 3 and jump right to the robust digital workplace that we see in Stage 4.
Skipping a stage is easy with the right digital workplace platform and the right partner.