By Jack Callaghan, Senior Vice President (Digital Technology) Enterprise Ireland
Digital Transformation of the modern workplace remains a crucial factor in preserving company culture, staying competitive, and enhancing customer connection.
The Covid-19 health crisis has resulted in extreme changes throughout the workplace which will have a lasting impact on various issues including how teams collaborate and interact, what tools and resources are available and what methods organisations engage to connect with customers.
And while there is no doubt that the pandemic posed many challenges across every sector, the mass transition to a more digital workplace has provided businesses with a taste of some of the productivity gains which can be achieved by the adoption of modern workplace applications and future workplace practices.
In this article, we will delve into the future of the workplace, the primary drivers of digital transformation and the advantages of becoming an intelligent enterprise by investing in digital modern workplace solutions.
What is a Digital Modern Workplace?
The Digital Modern Workplace consists of digital processes and platforms which address the way organisational teams interact, drive insights, automate business processes, and sell effectively.
Every company’s digital workplace is customised by a toolbox of solutions chosen to best support their employees’ work practices, to preserve company culture, and also to strengthen their connection to the customer.
And the four key pillars which must be considered when organisations first implement their internal digital strategy are as follows:
- Collaboration: This refers to the tools, software applications and systems designed to promote workplace collaboration, workflow productivity, and the sharing of project and task related information across teams
- Automation: The processes which reduce the amount of time spent handling mundane and repetitive tasks which will free employees up to work on more creative briefs. Automation includes artificial intelligence solutions, robotic process automation, bots, and virtual assistants
- Sales Enablement: These are the solutions which support sales and marketing teams to engage customers more efficiently, sell more effectively, and keep connected
- Security: This is a major consideration when it comes to digital modern workplace applications, so it is vital to have adequate controls to protect the business
The marketplace for digital modern workplace applications has also undergone significant change. Most notably, the Cloud continues to redefine the channels which connect digital modern workplace solutions to end users by making solutions more accessible (i.e. multi-cloud services & commercial cloud marketplaces) and enabling more functional integrations across applications.
This means that the process of deploying workplace software solutions has been made easier for organisations, allowing them to become more agile and flexible with the types of technologies they have in use while simultaneously saving significant expense and time – something which is necessary to onboard and scale new technologies as they become available.
Key Drivers of Digital Modern Workplace
While Covid-19 has had a severe impact on industry across all sectors globally, it is also true to say that even without it, we were heading into one of the most defining half-decade periods for major changes to the workplace.
How businesses prioritize digital transformation after the current crisis will play a major role in their ability to compete in the not-so-distant future. And a long-existing driver of this transformation has come from how we are evolving socially. So while undoubtedly, digital transformation has been accelerated by the pandemic, it hasn’t actually been the primary driver.
Currently, millennials make up less than 50% of the workplace, but by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up by this age bracket – the majority of whom believe in having the option to work from anywhere and also to focus on working intelligently rather than harder.
So as more and more millennials take over decision making roles, the direction of the workplace will change to favour digital tools and processes which facilitate remote working, improve communication, and increase both accessibility to information and digital task management for teams.
Also, the next wave of disruptive technology will be another impacting factor. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will not only improve business efficiency, it will also reduce the number of mundane tasks employees are currently having to perform, freeing them to focus on more meaningful and creative briefs, and further speeding up the innovation cycle.
We have already seen early examples of workplace AI including chatbots, virtual assistants, intelligent analytics, and robotic process automation. But over the next five years, the reliance on solutions utilising AI will become much more instrumental in all competitive workplaces.
Lastly, as customer expectations continue to rise, so too does the need for businesses to embrace solutions which more effectively connect sales and marketing teams to meet the needs of the customers.
Digital workplace applications have opened more and more channels which connect organisations to customers, and they continue to transform how we approach sales, marketing, and customer experience. Commonly known examples may include Sales Force Automation (SFA) technology and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions, which improve selling efficiency by allowing organisations to collect huge amounts of highly useful data which will continue to have an impact on future selling strategies.
Ireland as a Hub for Digital Modern Workplace Solutions
Irish companies are at the forefront of innovation in the digital workplace and are well-positioned to compete globally as companies seek new solutions to support employees digitally, preserve culture, automate process, and connect with their customer.
And below is a snapshot of some of the Irish innovators aligned to Collaboration Tech, Workplace AI Solutions, Sales Enablement and Customer Experience.
Collaboration & Workflow Management Solutions
Teamwork is a work and project management tool which helps both in-house and remote teams to improve collaboration, visibility, accountability and ultimately end results. Founded in Cork in 2007, Teamwork has continued to expand globally and currently they have seven offices worldwide, serving over 22,000 customers in 184 countries.
Workvivo is an internal communication and employee engagement platform which has been designed to connect employees with the goals and values of their organisation, build a strong culture of recognition, and promote collaboration across teams. Workvivo serves as the primary intranet for many of its customers, with companies ranging in size from 200 people to 85,000 people globally. In February 2020 it announced the opening of its first overseas office in San Francisco, and shortly afterwards closed its series A round with Tiger Global Management and Frontline Ventures.
Poppulo is a global leader in employee communications technology offering pioneering software and expert advisory services to enable organisations to plan, target, publish, and measure the impact of their communications across multiple digital channels, all in one place.
Workplace AI Solutions
Boxever is a personalisation platform which uses data and AI to help the world’s biggest brands make every customer interaction smarter and deliver game-changing customer experience. Boxever’s platform capabilities include omnichannel personalisation, customer segmentation, customer journey automation, optimisation and testing, and also analytics.
Webio, the Conversational Middleware Company, is on a mission to automate the world’s business to consumer conversations. Webio has built an interface platform which enables enterprises to automatically conduct all its existing customer interactions over any messaging platform. It is channel agnostic and is a fantastic solution which links information and services APIs to deliver the conversational interface.
Channel Mechanics transforms channel offerings through their Cloud based channel enablement PRM Platform, allowing vendors to rapidly deploy programmes with precision targeting and have real-time visibility into ROI. Ultimately this creates competitive advantage as it enables sales ideas to be quickly transformed into targeted and focused offers giving partners the offer they need, when they need them and eliminating the old ‘Spay and Pray’ approach.
Solgari is the enterprise solution for organizations with demanding, multi-channel needs, who are looking to increase efficiency and effectiveness, meet all related compliance requirements, and to delight customers. Their solution has made a global impact and is being used in over 40 countries to-date, serving customers across financial services, fintech, retail, e-commerce and many more, all on a per user per month SaaS model.