Every organisation is constantly seeking to enable their users. At Computacenter it is our mission (to “enable users and their business”), but how do we practically make this happen? Do we and can we achieve user enablement and effectiveness by delivering new technology or do we need to look deeper and more holistically to affect the changes we need to be more effective?
Whilst it’s critical to understand the business outcomes we are trying to achieve, we must also take time to understand what the users need (and want!) from their working experience. It is the people (users) that drive the business processes and deliver innovation, not the technology that we deploy to support and enable them.
A key part of the shift towards a Contemporary Workplace is a change to workplace culture, but perhaps the component we speak of least. Technology is an enabler for how people work, but isn’t alone an answer to many specific problems. The culture is an inherent part of what will make a modern business successful. Culture sets the tone and outlook for how an organisation thinks, how they deliver services, compete in the market, innovate and service their customers and their employees. When you think about those organisations that we know do this really well, often we learn that a modern culture, breeding more flexible working approaches is at the heart of what drives their success.
So the question perhaps becomes how do you adapt towards a working culture that supports and enables business development and growth. They are, by their nature intangible and deep rooted to the very fabric of the organisation, the unwritten code that largely dictate how and why things get done, and how people behave. This becomes increasingly important in the modern world; a global war for talent drives a need to provide the right kind of workplace experiences (environments, technology and cultures) to attract the best of the new labour force. And these things also reflect in the way our organisations are regarded by, and the way our customers interact with, our organisation and staff which influences our relevance and success in the market.
In our mission to move towards our vision of the Contemporary Workplace, how do we balance the culture vs technical enablement?
Collaboration is very much in vogue as a way of enhancing engagement of employees, with social networks tools starting to emerge in enterprise. These largely informal modes of communicating within and across teams and departments enable new levels of engagement, and provide access to information and knowledge that was previously locked within the enterprise. But these tools are only effective if they are adopted and used, and maintaining that isn’t a technical answer. On the other hand the increasing move towards mobility serves to empower users to work more intelligently and flexibly. This should bring about some changes to the organisation culture as the workspace spans the constrained walls of the office. We need to support and embrace this to capitalise on the opportunity of a collaborative and mobile world.
As the technical world continues to evolve, opportunities present themselves and promise significant benefits. With so much innovation and so much potential ahead, the real problem is in fulfilling and meeting all of these high expectations. Our world is mobile, social, and online by default, and gives us more technical capability and tools than we perhaps ever imagined was possible. But do we understand how best to make use of them and exploit the opportunity? How do we inspire users and encourage adoption of new attitudes and approaches so that we can exploit technology to deliver the solutions that are key to our business outcomes.