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Digital Workplace

10 Key Takeaways From The State of Digital Workplace 2019 Report


To digitize internal business processes, improve employee experience, and support the growing remote workforce, organizations have begun to implement a whole new work environment — the digital workplace. By integrating all the technologies that employees need to manage their work (like instant messaging, project management, knowledge management, and enterprise social media network) into one unified platform, the digital workplace effectively breaks down communication barriers, transforms employee experiences, and fosters growth.

But to implement a successful digital workplace, you need a targeted digital workplace strategy that aligns with market trends and your organization’s unique needs.

Before establishing your digital marketing strategy, take a look at the key takeaways from the State of Digital Workplace 2019 Report[1] to understand industry trends, and learn from the mistakes of other organizations.

key takeaways from the State of Digital Workplace 2019 Report

1. The digital workplace is constantly evolving

Over 42 percent of organizations are in the early stage of setting up their digital workplace, 25 percent claim to be mid-way through it and 14 percent are at a mature stage. Moreover, only 16 percent of the organizations haven’t started with their digital workplace planning yet.

That means the majority of the organizations are already in the process of setting up a digital workplace. Though it is interesting to note that these numbers are pretty similar to the 2017 and 2018 report, thus proving that the digital workplace is continuously evolving and a work in progress. It’s not something that you can get done within a few weeks or months.

2. Technological advancements are at an all-time high

In 2017, only 46 percent of organizations had a strategy or program for implementing digital workplaces. By 2018, this number had risen to 54 percent and in 2019, it was 65 percent.

While the numbers for 2020 aren’t out yet, we can expect them to be much higher than the past years as companies had to suddenly switch to remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic and introduce digital workplaces to help employees work from home seamlessly. Progress is continuously being made as more and more businesses put digital workplace strategies in place as part of their digital transformation initiatives.

3. Customer experience is coming to the forefront

According to the report, the top digital workplace priorities for organizations include:

  • Digitization and process management (45.5 percent)
  • Cultural change (34.9 percent)
  • Digitization and process management (45.5 percent)
  • Knowledge management (37.1 percent)
  • Improved customer experience (28.4 percent)

While the first three priorities seem obvious when we consider the fact that most companies implement digital workplaces to improve employee experience and make it easier for their employees to manage their everyday work, the fourth priority is definitely a surprise. It goes to show that organizations are finally realizing the connection between employee and customer experience. Good customer experiences can only come from good employee experiences. Digital workplaces help improve overall employee experience and when employees are happy, it directly reflects in the way they handle customers which, in turn, leads to better customer experience.

4. Leaders need to be more involved in digital transformations

The top digital workplace challenges faced by organizations include:

  • Budget constraints (37.5 percent)
  • Competitive departments and initiatives (26.5 percent)
  • Lack of a strategic direction for the implementation (25.4 percent)
  • Company culture (22.7 percent)
  • No cross-departmental collaboration (18.6 percent)

It’s clear that at least four out of the five top challenges above can be resolved with the right leadership. Without the right leaders paving the way towards digital transformation, each team might end up pursuing their own individual paths which can undermine the overall implementation of the digital workplace within the organization.

5. Efficiency is a problem with many digital workplace platforms

While organizations rate most digital workplace tools as important or very important, very few consider them effective and working well for the employees. For instance, 95 percent of organizations consider group chat and collaboration to be very important or somewhat important, but only 19.9 percent believe it to be working well.

Similarly, 93.5 percent of organizations agree that enterprise search is important, but only 10.5 percent consider it to be effective.

There is a similar pattern to be noted for almost every tool proving that achieving efficiency is a huge challenge for many digital workplace platforms. For organizations, that means, just implementing digital workplace platforms is not enough. They need to make sure that the tools can actually help improve employee and organizational efficiency.

6. Effective digital tools demand effective digital strategies

When comparing the importance of digital workplace tools with their effectiveness, an interesting pattern was noted in the report — Organizations with more mature digital workplace strategies found their tools to be more effective. It directly suggests that when organizations have an established digital workplace strategy in place, it can positively improve the efficiency of tools used by the employees.

Over 44.2 percent of organizations with a mature digital workplace strategy considered their collaboration tools to be working well as compared to 17.6 percent with a strategy in progress and 13 percent with no strategy at all.

It also indicates that just giving employees new digital tools and expecting them to be effective is not enough. Employees need the right direction with a targeted digital workplace strategy to know how to best use those tools in order to improve efficiency and productivity.

7. Emerging tech like AI is still in the background

While new and emerging technologies may get the most attention and buzz, most organizations are focused on core technologies like document management and enterprise search to streamline their internal business operations.

Document management is considered to be the most important technology by 73.1 percent of the organizations followed by enterprise search (66.3 percent). On the contrary, emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (42.9 percent) and microservices (22.8 percent) are considered to be some of the least important.

Though, it doesn’t mean organizations are completely ignoring emerging technologies. It just goes to show that organizations are more focused on investing in key technologies that employees use every day. After all, implementing sophisticated technologies like AI without getting the core technologies right will only lead to more problems for the organization in the future.

8. Metrics and analytics are still not used effectively by teams

Measuring the success of a digital workplace can be just as difficult as implementing one. Digital workplaces are diverse in nature and as a result, organizations need diverse metrics to measure their performance. The most popular metrics include:

  • Employee engagement (40.4 percent)
  • ROI-related metrics (34.9 percent)
  • Employee satisfaction (31.5 percent)
  • Customer satisfaction (30 percent)
  • Technology adoption rate (27.8 percent)
  • Analytics and reporting metrics (24.8 percent)
  • Application active users (20.5 percent)

Even with all of these varying metrics, the majority of organizations (68.5 percent) use only three metrics or fewer. Moreover, up to 7 percent of organizations don’t use any metrics at all just. But without the right metrics in place, there is no way to know whether a digital workplace platform is helping your company improve efficiency or not.

9. A digital workplace has to be agile for it to work

According to the report, organizations implementing digital workplace platforms all use different methodologies including agile, semi-agile, and waterfall. But when compared, organizations in the advanced stages of their digital workplace maturity majorly use agile methodologies, as compared to organizations in the early phases.

Out of organizations that use agile methodology at least sometimes, 37.1 are in mid-way or mature stages of their digital workplace implementation, whereas only 13 percent of them are in the early stages.

Moreover, 57 percent of organizations in the early stage of the digital workplace implementation either use traditional waterfall methods or take an interactive approach which is not strictly agile.

10. Digital employee experience responsibilities are undefined

Employee experience has been consistently linked to the digital workplace over the years but there is still no clear answer as to who is responsible for it. The ownership and direction of employee experience is still undefined. While 20 percent of organizations believe C-suite executives own employee experience, another 20 percent believe it is the responsibility of the HR, and over 12 percent feel it’s owned by the IT department.

It is also interesting to note that 10 percent of the organizations believe that no one owns employee experience, at least not yet.

Kissflow can help lead your digital workplace strategy

Kissflow is a unified digital workplace platform that streamlines all the internal business processes within your organization. It offers features like project management, task management, document management, instant messaging, and dedicated communication channels. By integrating all the necessary digital tools that your employees need to collaborate and communicate, Kissflow improves efficiency, transparency, and employee experience. More importantly, Kissflow can grow and evolve to meet your organization’s constantly changing needs.

Ready to take Kissflow on a test spin? Sign up today to see how Kissflow can help.