I’ve recently done a review of Jane McConnell’s new digital workplace trends report for the Digital Workplace Group report which covers the value of the report and also looks at some of the trends which the report reveals relating to leadership and roles. I also wrote similar reviews for the 2013and 2014 reports.
Jane McConnell’s digital workplace trends series has now been running for nearly a decade. That continuity as well as the quality and number of the organisations (nearly 300) who contribute data each year means that she is working with a high quality data set, making it the most authoritative annual survey on the digital workplace. It’s contribution to our understanding of the collective “digital workplace journey” is considerable.
As usual the 2015 report titled “The organisation in the digital age” has real value and provides a whole stack of takeaways covering everything from organisational mindset to open leadership. The report is very detailed and the analysis is grouped on various different themes which are far too numerous to mention here. It’s something which you can read from cover to cover or dip into on what is of interest to you.
Having read some sections in detail and skimmed through others here are five takeaways which I found particularly interesting.
The extension of enterprise mobility to the frontline is still slow
For me one of the biggest mysteries of the digital workplace for me is the mismatch between the potential of enterprise mobility to deliver digital services to those across the entire organisation (particularly to non-deskbound workers), and the enterprise’s tortoise-like speed to exploit that potential.
Depressingly McConnell’s new report shows that enterprise mobility has not extended as quickly as she had predicted, and for the “floor-field workforce” (those without access to desktop computers as part of their role), the growth of shared computers and kiosks has is faster than access to mobile services.
The digital workplace supports the freedom to experiment
I’m currently part of a team working on an academic article about how digital tools contribute to processes around open strategy. I was interested to see that McConnell found a strong correlation between those organisations with digital workplace maturity and those where employees felt free to experiment with initiatives and contribute ideas.
There was also a correlation between the “freedom to experiment” and high performance in different business scenarios including learning, serving customers and being agile in responding to changes.
Performance management is starting to become socialised
Social tools are already starting to change key organisational processes such as internal communications and learning, and eventually I think they will transform the way we do HR. It was interesting to see that we are starting to see the socialisation of performance management, particularly where performance reviews are partly based on continuous and lightweight feedback rather than the heavy (and generally unpopular) annual review process. In fact just under half of early adopters (and just under a quarter of the majority) have performance management socialised “somewhat” or more.
A mature digital workplace means new ways of working
Instinctively I’ve always thought those organisations with a more advanced digital workplace also tend to have a more enlightened view of flexible working and office design. McConnell’s latest report supports this by showing that early adopters are far more likely to allow working from home than the majority of companies.
Similarly early adopters are more likely to have a physical workplace design which takes in areas which are optimised for collaborative work and less likely to have “territorial spaces” dominated by individually owned desks and spaces.
Early adopters do far more with video
Use of video was an area of interest three years ago or so among digital workplace and intranet folk, and seems to have raised its head again with more instances of user-generated video and video conferencing.
Jane McConnell’s report show that early adopters are ahead of the majority in all aspects of the use of video. This covers everything from training through to news through to broadcasts from leadership through to interaction with customers.
Lots more insights
The above are just five insights that piqued my interest. McConnell’s report has many more which will be pertinent to any organisation. I would definitely recommend it if you are planning a digital workplace strategy, want to compare aspects of your digital workplace to where others are or want to raise awareness of the digital workplace among senior stakeholders. And do consider participating in 2016 as you then get the report for free.