The heart of a digital workplace

17. January 2018 Pedro Brägger Sharepoint, Teamwork, Workspace
The most important elements of a vibrant digital workplace can be illustrated by a beating heart with two chambers: one chamber represents a lively, open corporate culture; the other a collaboration software that offers a strong user experience. User experience is therefore key, as it determines whether or not a new social collaboration software will be adopted and used within a company. 

Chamber number one: a lively, open corporate culture

Openness as a lived value is central to a digital workplace. It’s an essential quality when collaborating with other people in digital workspaces, sharing knowledge and integrating external service providers into a team.

A digital workspace brings with it a significant change in company culture for hierarchically structured companies: sole decision-makers have to get used to having copilots, while teams must learn to realize their potential more fully. The key currency of the new digital workplace is an open, cooperative attitude. Without this, the system soon comes to a standstill.

People who refuse the new system and don’t use it become visible to everyone. This can be dangerous, particularly for conservative employees who, for various reasons, don’t want to accept the digital workplace. An end customer-oriented software solution that offers a strong user experience is a major advantage in these cases, as it will enjoy greater acceptance among employees and the integration will therefore be more successful.

However, every cultural shift takes time and patience. Factors that contribute to a successful cultural shift include: a carefully-planned process, close supervision via internal communication, the introduction of super-users, collective workshops, and above all, total commitment from senior management.


Chamber number two: a software that offers a strong user experience (UX)

At the heart of every functioning ecosystem, allowing ideas and information to flow without barriers, is a software solution that offers a strong user experience. A software solution will only be used long-term if doing so is enjoyable and allows the user to forget the underlying technology. By contrast, a bad user experience makes collaboration difficult and leads employees to download their own tools from the internet for free and use these in the place of the ‘official’ software solution. This produces data silos and can cause significant security issues.

A weak user experience can be easily measured: how often do employees log into the system, and how much data do they exchange via the platform? There are also established issues that usually arise in relation to this question. We’ve identified a few of these pain points.

The following points contribute to a weak user experience and thereby decrease company productivity

  • Weak search function
  • No access to important data
  • Tools are difficult to find
  • Unimaginative design (no photos, no videos)
  • Personal account cannot be customized
  • Lack of opportunities for interaction
  • Outdated data on homepage
  • Not compatible with cellphones
  • Complicated login

If your employees regularly complain about these or other points, we recommend that you prioritize addressing these problems.

The following features contribute to a strong user experience and enable greater company productivity:

  • Quick, comprehensive search function
  • Access to data
  • A toolbox (access to all tools with a single click)
  • Simple, appealing design incl. photos and videos
  • Ability to customize personal account
  • Opportunities for interaction and contact
  • Data on homepage always up to date
  • Compatible with cellphones
  • Straightforward login

A good user experience isn’t a coincidence – it’s the result of a continuous process of development with a focus on the needs of individual target groups within the company.