The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has caused upheaval for businesses as they have had to fast-track digital transformation plans. A move towards remote working has been on the cards for many companies, but Covid-19 has forced action much earlier than anticipated – and before many were ready.
At this point in time, it’s clear that home-working is here to stay, even if part of a hybrid working model, incorporating part-time office-based work. The implementation of a digital platform versatile enough to handle a wide variety of tasks whilst satisfying user expectations is a challenge, but one that needs to be faced in light of the ‘new normal.’
There are a number of factors to be taken into consideration; not least the financial implications of procuring new tech, developing new processes and providing staff with sufficient training.
Technological discussions are needed to define requirements and understand if – and how – all necessary functions can exist within one universal solution, as opposed to multiple specialist applications.
In addition, there are cultural implications. Ensuring changes are received positively by your employees is fundamental to successful digital transformation.
Any significant changes to processes and procedures will come with challenges. So how are businesses able to achieve the right balance with digital workspaces when such decisions have been forced upon them unwittingly?
The right tools for the job.
A move towards a predominantly remote, digital workspace requires new technology solutions. The level of usability and functionality is key to the success of new digital platforms and the difference between a profitable transition and one that drains time, resources and money.
When merging current applications into one unifying platform, there’s a need to understand why current systems are being used, what problems may arise when consolidating current methods; and how resistant to change people are likely to be.
There is a tendency for employees to be brought into the transformation process at the point the new platform is rolled out when they should be included from the beginning in a meaningful fashion.
Understanding the needs of people.
The successful implementation of new tools and processes benefits greatly from including the intended users in discussions and trials from the start of the process.
You run the risk of choosing an unsuitable solution that makes the job more difficult (or gets rejected completely) when you do not collaborate with your workforce. This is costly in terms of finance, productivity and employee morale.
Trends suggest that a hybrid model of remote and on-site working is the preferred direction for many companies moving forwards. Trying to standardise processes and synchronise remote working practices with on-site working will be much simpler if all parties can participate in the development.
Getting the balance.
There will be challenges that arise throughout the journey towards digitalisation. Overcoming those challenges is crucial, but rushing the process will be more detrimental than beneficial to the cause.
Successful digital transformation requires a solid strategy and collaboration from all stakeholders. Launching the right software and procedures from the start will save time, money and avoid potential issues in the future.
Many organisations focus too much on choosing and integrating new technology and do not pay enough attention to the user experience. Getting the right balance between the needs of the business and the needs of its people is paramount.
Andrew Machin, Director & Founder of Lion+Mason adds “Operational leaders of organisations should conduct user research within their workforce in order to create a bed of insight understanding the needs, motivations, and pain-points. The outcome would help inform the creation or procurement of effective tools for the new normal way of working.”