2018 – Time to make the Digital Workplace real

We’re already pretty much through January and with the volume of activity in the first month alone, we can be in no doubt that 2018 is going to be a pivotal year for the Digital Workplace.

There are a number of themes and considerations that I’m expecting to be highly prevalent this year, so I wanted to share my thoughts on them with you.

Windows 10

The Digital Workplace is a lot more than just Windows 10, and the client environment clearly has other key platforms.  However Windows 10 IS the most topical subject in the End User market today.  From the conversations I’ve had throughout the past 12 months with customers and partners, it is clear that “the market” is not where it needs to be from a deployment and adoption perspective.

I hope you won’t need reminding that there are  less than 24 months before Windows 7 goes out of support by Microsoft and all enterprises need to have moved into Windows 10 (or alternate platform) to avoid security and compliance issues.  Also key to consider that from a User Experience perspective the vast majority of enterprise users are using an Operating System released in 2009 (Windows 7).  The world has changed dramatically since then, as too has the IT landscape, user demands and security landscape!

Key to a Digital Workplace is a modern platform that is engaging to users, secure, performant and reliable.  For very large organisations, the time to act is now. You may not realise but if you’re not already well progressed in your Windows 10 programme, you’re on the critical path towards January 2020 and a potentially significant issue.  Not least you are compromising your wider Digital Workplace ambitions.  We can help and are helping many organisations with this today!

User Experience

The next area that needs attention is the “User Experience” being offered to users.  Whilst quite nebulous, User Experience transcends everything from the devices and technologies to the ‘workspace’ environments (i.e. physical environments) and the engagement and business processes that users need to follow.  We represent all of these aspects and the importance of a positive user experience throughout them through our unique Digital Workplace Vision.

We have been observing for several years a degree of “user fatigue” within the workplace. Whether it’s failing to report troublesome issues with their IT equipment, to not exploiting technical capabilities that are being provided such as mobile devices or collaboration tools, the user experience of Enterprise IT is definitely something that needs to be addressed and enhanced.

We still talk of a “Consumer like experience” for the Digital Workplace, yet our consumer (Home) experiences continue to run ahead of the enterprise solutions.  Whether it’s in the identification and selection of appropriate solutions, or ensuring the adoption of transformational technologies in 2018 we need to ensure we are driving the benefits of these investments to enhance the effectiveness and engagement of our users.

Embracing Diversity and Choice

The fundamental challenge of building a Digital Workplace, that is the diversity and choices that are available to you.  Indeed, often the Digital Workplace lacks a specific definition.  I met two customers this week, both of whom had wildly different definitions of what a Digital Workplace meant to them.  Neither was wrong, as it was their needs they were expressing.

One of the key areas we’ve helped our customers with is in setting a defined vision for the Digital Workplace that encompasses everything we see as relevant to its scope, from ‘Workspaces’ through to Technology and Supporting Services.  With our established blueprints and solutions we’ve been able to guide our customers into focusing on key areas, understanding maturity and dependencies and building relevant programmes for change.

With the rate of change in this market place, the proliferation of tools from established and new vendors, establishing a vision and a path for delivering your Digital Workplace should be a key priority for early 2018 if you do not already have it.  We’re helping lots of customers do this and can help you too

 

Hopefully this helps give you some ideas as to what to focus on in 2018.  Knowingly or not, most organisations are moving towards a Digital Workplace, but there are a number of significant events and some key topics to cover as part of that, and so 2018 is a key year to ensure you’ve  establishing a core ‘fabric’ that will underpin its success.

About Paul Bray

Paul is Computacenter’s Chief Technologist for End User Services and Digital Workplace @PSBray

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