Digital Workplace: if you build it they will come……

As a kid growing up, I had many rainy movie days with my brother, which usually included the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams. In a key scene, Kevin Costner hears a voice in the cornfields saying “If you build it, he will come” and this became the punch line to many of my adolescent jokes. Years later; I found myself leading a discussion about Digital Workplace strategy with our consultants which reminded me of this phrase. We were discussing why digital workplace projects fail and found a common reoccurring theme, the business was not involved and these projects were driven by IT.

 Technology is not the issue

IT Departments have the ability to build amazingly technical, Digital Workplace solutions with rigid security that provide a safe place for people to communicate and collaborate. Although these are great systems, they can be difficult to use or do not provide access to the right business tools, resulting in a lack of uptake from the business and limited adoption. What is the benefit of building a Digital Workplace if its developers have not spoken to the people that will be using it, understanding their pain points, how they work and the areas where there should be improvement?

Catering for the new “Always On” generation

Not only have we seen dramatic changes in technology in recent times, but in many cases it is the employees who are driving change within your organisation. As baby boomers retire we welcome a young workforce with advanced technical skillsets and high expectations of the organisations and workplaces they join. Therefore your staff’s experience should be the focal point of your Digital Workplace. The only way we can truly answer the “What’s in it for me?” question, is to involve employees in every aspect of the project and take them on a journey. Our customer journey usually looks a lot like this

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Do you understand your users?

In discovery we (Darrel the Donkey) speak to the business to understand the challenges they are facing, pain points in the way they are working and overall culture of your business. This is where the strategy of your Digital Workplace is built. Identifying some quick wins and medium to long term feature releases, is built into the roadmap that will lay the platform for a new user centric solution.

Understanding where you are and where you want to go is great, but how do you get there? With advances in technology and innovation our partners at LiveTiles have truly changed the way we plan and deliver our projects. Leveraging LiveTiles Design & Build we can rapidly produce prototypes and visualistions of the initial phase in the proposed digital workplace. This process ensures that we are all on the right track and there are no surprises.

Communication & Change Management is key

Some consultants think that the business should not be engaged through development and deployment of a solution, however I challenge this perception. Change Management is key to the success of a digital workplace project and a strong communications and change strategy is needed. This ensures that a good level of excitement is flowing through the business and staff feel as though they are a part of the project and those violent ‘winds of discontent’ are avoided. Phew…….

It’s not over yet. Change is inevitable, how do you stay ahead?

A digital workplace is not a set and forget project. Successful Digital Workplace deployments are constantly benchmarked and measured. Gathering quantitative and qualitative data ensures that the tools which make up the Digital Workplace remain relevant. These solutions are dynamic in nature and are constantly evolving, planned adoption activities are key to the longevity of the solution and your businesses investment.

 Sorry Kevin

Sadly Kevin Costner was wrong; if you build it, he won’t come. We build these solutions for our employees and our customers, not involving the key business stakeholders in your Digital Workplace project will be detrimental to its success. As your business evolves and your digital workplace grows we need to continually ask if the “What’s in it for me?” question is being answered by the solution.


Alain White

Northern Practice Lead, rhipe Solutions