It’s an unavoidable truth – today’s world, and workplace, is digital in nature. Changes have happened so rapidly within the last 10 years, that many of us have seemingly sleepwalked into the current digital era; smartphones are in our hands, we’re streaming our entertainment, ordering our groceries online via our voice-activated home assistants, and working remotely from shared working spaces, with nothing more than a tablet or laptop (and that all-important charger).
Technology is ingrained in our lives more than ever before, particularly as it has evolved to be more user-friendly, intuitive and subtle, fitting around the way we want to live our lives, rather than dictating the rules. The same thing is happening in the workplace – we’re no longer sitting down to our classic PC’s and firing them before we go grab a coffee. There is improved agility in the workplace, and the technology we use, from digital booking systems to touch screens to internal social media networks, reflects that.
Condeco surveyed a range of global business leaders for the 2019/20 Workplace Report, finding that 90% of them felt that transforming the digital infrastructure of their organisation was important to achieving success. Clearly, everyone is aware of how prosperity in today’s market relies on a digital approach. Despite this, 21% of businesses surveyed felt that they were not prepared for a digital transformation in the workplace; an interesting juxtaposition, but perhaps not an uncommon one.
Digital transformations take planning, and will often involve a financial outlay; even if a business stands to make that money back in cost-savings, it’s easy to understand why some may be unprepared to make big changes. However, making those changes ultimately proves to be worth it.
Here are five examples of digital transformation success stories in the workplace, to provide a little inspiration for the more hesitant among us:
1. DHL and smart glasses
Logistics and shipping giant DHL faced a unique challenge – even with an already automated system and supply chain, employees still had to use manual techniques, like the classic pen and paper, to keep on top of everything. This lost them valuable time, at a period when rates of shipping and delivery were soaring.
To combat the issue, DHL looked to Ricoh and Ubimax to help develop smart glasses that could eliminate the use of pen and paper, and allow employees to use their hands far less in general, speeding up the entire process. The glasses can read bar codes and instantly provide information, therefore also leaving far less margin for human error – a win-win.
2. Zipcar and remote working
Car hire firm Zipcar created a unique, digital approach short-term car hire, so it makes sense that they happily embraced a workplace digital transformation too. As trailblazers of the share economy, the business felt their classic (and dated) approach to working did not fit into their company ethos; out went the traditional office and desktop computers, and in came remote working, with a flexible approach.
Zipcar employees were empowered to work via mobile devices, in a way that suited them, in a time pattern that benefited them, and were even encouraged to smash up the old desktop computers as a symbolic start to their digital transformation journey! Unsurprisingly, employee stress levels lowered, and company loyalty improved, as a result of the change.
3. The DWP and gamification
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found themselves in a predicament – despite asking for employee feedback on how to improve internal processes, they had reached a stalemate, with a disengaged workforce. The DWP decided to broaden their approach, and took to gamification to motivate and engage staff. Now, if an employee has an idea or suggestion, they are rewarded with points, or ‘DWPeas’.
Points can also be earned by helping develop ideas suggested by colleagues, and can be spent on ‘investing’ in proposals that they feel show promise, and will help improve operations. Communication is key – weekly roundup emails are sent internally, and a ‘buzz index’ highlights which suggestions are gaining the most chatter. Employees are more switched on, and experience greater incentive to get involved.
4. ASICS and mobile access
The European branch of sportswear brand ASICS found that employees struggled with over-complicated attempts at accessing company data when outside the office. Wanting to embrace a more flexible, agile approach to working, ASICS found it necessary to empower employees with easier access to data sharing, introducing mobile as the new standard.
Now, employees can connect to important info from wherever they are, with simple single sign-on authentication, or conditional access, utilising Azure Active Directory. The ease of use means that ASICS employees feel more confident in working flexibly, with far less hassle.
5. Vodafone and millennials
Mobile organisation Vodafone were the recipients of the 2017 Digital Workplace of the Year Award, and for good reason. Among their numerous digital initiatives, they recognised just how much of their workforce were millennials (49%) and how much could potentially be millennials by 2025 (a whopping 76%!). With this in mind, Vodafone embraced social media as a sharing and collaboration tool, incorporating Microsoft’s Yammer and Skype into office life.
Seeing millennials as ‘digital natives’, Vodafone recognised that they possess their own unique approach to communication, and are often more comfortable with informal chat situations, particularly when it comes to sharing ideas. The change wasn’t just for millennials, either, with all staff, of all ages, embracing the digital chat tools as a new way to collaborate.