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October 14th, 2020

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5 Workplace Technology Trends for the Post-Pandemic Era

Many organizations were already undergoing some form of digital transformation in the workplace, but the global pandemic has brought greater urgency to these efforts.

At a high level, companies are offering new solutions and shifting their business models to embrace digital marketing, improve operational efficiency, and streamline the supply chain. IT leaders are feeling the pressure to implement digital technologies that make it easier for employees to work securely from anywhere. They are revisiting data management and security protocols to minimize vulnerabilities that can occur when employees use their own devices and public Wi-Fi networks. And as their offices reopen, they are increasingly tasked with maintaining tighter restrictions around building access control, room scheduling, and desk booking.

In other words, there has never been a better time to evaluate (and accelerate) your digital transformation strategy.

Why digital transformation matters

Even before the pandemic, digital transformation was a top priority for enterprises and growing companies. Of the 600 IT professionals who participated in TechTarget’s IT Priorities Survey last year, nearly 70% said their company was implementing digital transformation initiatives.

The motivations for pursuing digital transformation are both externally and internally focused. While improving customers’ experience is essential, nearly half of IT professionals felt that streamlining operations within their organization was their top priority. Similarly, corporate leaders expect digital transformation to improve internal communications and employee productivity.

Research by Deloitte revealed employees in a digital workplace are more efficient, engaged, and productive. Employees who have the flexibility to work anywhere and stay connected through technology are also more likely to stay with their company longer.

5 digital transformation examples reshaping the workplace

Digital transformation applies to nearly every aspect of your organization. Here are five digital transformation examples that are rising to the forefront today.

1. IT infrastructure transformation

As more people work remotely, they need on-demand access to documents from any location and on any device.

Cloud-based software is easy to access, manage, and maintain, which is why many enterprises have already adopted SaaS solutions. In the TechTarget survey, 41% of companies planned to increase their budgets for cloud software. Meanwhile, 29% expected to reduce funding for on-premises systems. The accelerated shift from legacy software towards cloud migration has simultaneously cut costs while increasing productivity.

While you’ve been well aware of the value of cloud-based software for years, the rest of your organization may still be catching up. You may have inherited expensive systems that are difficult to part with because they are so ingrained in your operations.

Moving to cloud-based software solutions virtually eliminates the need for maintenance and upgrades, reduces costs, and increases scalability. Public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have a vast network of servers that make them extremely reliable. These providers have also invested millions into making their solutions secure.

However, you don’t have to move everything onto the public cloud at once.

If you’re encountering resistance, start by implementing cloud-based software for employee-facing applications — like room scheduling software and project management solutions — while keeping sensitive customer data in private data centers. Hybrid cloud solutions also offer the flexibility to create workloads that run between public and private clouds while keeping the data separate.

2. Resource scheduling

Your workforce has become increasingly distributed in the past year. Some employees have returned to the office, while others are continuing to work remotely. You may also have more independent contractors working alongside full-time employees.

Many employees no longer need an assigned seat each day, but they still need access to many of the same resources. Centralized resource scheduling has simplified work requests, scenario planning, room reservations, and desk booking.

Desk booking apps are a powerful example of digital transformation in resource scheduling. Unlike hot desking, which allows people to claim an available workspace when they arrive, desk booking solutions give them the certainty of a reservation.

Desk and meeting room booking software is essential for managing a safe, productive return to work.

Employees can quickly see which desks are available and when they were last used, making it easy to ensure they’ve been sanitized. The most advanced room and desk booking systems integrate with occupancy sensors to display the most accurate, real-time data.

They also integrate with the solutions your organization already uses, like calendaring apps and communication platforms such as Slack. This allows you to improve functionality without adding complexity.

Another critical feature of these systems is the workplace data they capture.

They should give you greater transparency into how employees are using your conference rooms and workspaces, the average meeting length, and the average number of occupants.

Discover the nine types of workplace data you should be tracking.

3. Access control and visitor management

Although virtual meetings have replaced many in-person interactions this past year, PwC’s Remote Work Survey found 50% of employees still want to engage with clients and colleagues face-to-face.

Knowing who is in your building at all times has always been a concern for security reasons, but the pandemic has brought additional challenges of limiting capacity and conducting health screenings.

A visitor management system makes it easy for you to keep a digital record of everyone (including employees) which can be used for contact tracing if necessary.

You can also easily manage wellness checks and quickly notify the host to streamline the check-in process.

See how to find the best visitor management system.

4. IT help desk software

Modern IT help desks represent the integration of human empathy, top-tier technology, and robust data management. They ensure efficient and transparent interactions between your employees, suppliers, partners, and customers.

Now that the modern workforce is everywhere, IT help desks have evolved to be mobile and cloud-based. If your organization isn’t large enough to need IT help desk software yet, you can still leverage the technology on a smaller scale. For example, you can allow employees to submit work orders using conference room scheduling panels or the Teem mobile app.

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5. User permissions and cybersecurity

Remote work presents ongoing cybersecurity challenges.

The FBI’s Cyber Division is receiving up to 4,000 cybersecurity complaints each day, a nearly 400% increase since the pandemic began. User management tools act as a gatekeeper to your most sensitive data, making sure people with the right permission levels can access the information they need.

Customizable permissions protect both your organization and users by providing a balance between collaboration and control. Permission and user management software integrates with everything from content management systems to intranet portals. For example, a website might have different access levels for full-time staff, vendors, and customers.

How to lead a digital transformation strategy

Despite its name, digital transformation prioritizes people over technology. No matter how much time and money you invest in digital transformation, it will only be successful if your employees are willing to embrace it.

Here are five best practices for leading digital transformation initiatives.

Evaluate your technology landscape

Start by assessing your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. A SWOT analysis helps you evaluate your company from the perspectives of different stakeholders, including employees and customers.

Engage your leadership team

The most successful digital transformation examples support business objectives. Before you implement any new technology, be sure you have established a clear purpose and goals. For instance, do you need a better way to capture space utilization data in your workplace? A more secure system to manage access control?

Work with your leadership team to identify these objectives and ensure any new solutions meet the criteria.

Focus on the user experience

Your workforce already uses intuitive, user-friendly technology like smartphone apps and wearable devices. They expect their workplace technology to be just as simple. Look for solutions that require little to no training and integrate with the tools your workforce already uses, such as messaging and calendar apps.

Find your ‘super-users’

Your workforce includes people who are at different ends of the technology adoption spectrum. Some are early adopters, while others are laggards and need more time to adjust. Introduce new solutions to early adopters first and let them be the ambassadors for the rest of your workforce.

Be responsive

A successful digital transformation strategy is always evolving. Don’t assume you have all the answers. Be responsive to concerns from employees and other stakeholders, and be willing to adjust accordingly.

If your workforce is reluctant to use new technology as it’s intended, ask why.

They may be used to relying on other applications, or they may not fully understand how it fits into your company’s larger objectives. Be patient while continuing to make adjustments that move your company forward.

The pace of change has never been faster than it is today, and in this environment, the survival of your organization depends on your ability to adapt.

See what emerging technology will impact your workplace in the near future. Check out our latest e-book, 5 Workplace Technology Trends For the Post-Pandemic Era.

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