Technology has completely revolutionised the workforce; from the way employees communicate and collaborate with colleagues, partners and clients, to the tools and apps that allow people to work from anywhere in the world.
Any application, tool or software that enables a worker to get their job done better and faster is a good thing, right?
Well not always. One minute the workforce can have a structured list of approved business applications and then the next, it has 30 different products and tools that essentially do the same task.
As employees come and go or upgrade to the newest version of their favourite tech tool, it’s easy to see how businesses can accumulate dozens of products, apps and tools over time.
This saturation of products can leave organisations at risk of having multiple subscriptions to different products that all require different passwords and different user-training; leave staff confused and often frustrated over which app to use and when to use it.
Most organisations have procurement for a reason: in order to determine which tools and apps will add the most value, and source and filter throughout the business accordingly.
It also leaves the organisation vulnerable to external threats as valuable company data can be left unattended in a third-party product with staff unable to access it.
Organisations must invest time to research which workplace tools are of most value to their business and put in place a universal process in which staff are trained and aware of which workplace tools, apps and solutions they can and should be using.
While processes, procedures and people have all fallen victim to the evolution of technology, poor management and a lack of oversight is putting long-term business success in jeopardy.
To avoid succumbing to the hype and glamour of too many workplace tools, organisations need to focus on setting up staff with a truly functional workspace that allows employees to get the job done, so that they don’t feel the need to seek out other tools individually.
The workspace of the future
Unisys defines a workspace as an environment that’s fully collaborative and operational with a comprehensive suite of tools to ensure maximum productivity. This means ensuring the technology used across the business has the ability to talk to, and integrate with, other apps, anyone and any device.
To support this, it’s really important that the business has a clear understanding of the tools needed by staff in order to do their jobs successfully and looking at the business strategy in relation to what employees actually need.
For example, by defining the goal, whether it be enhancing collaboration, remote working or driving customer growth, and understanding the end-user requirements to achieve this, organisations can map out the technology solutions that go hand-in-hand with those requirements.
Only then is it possible to identify the tools and applications needed to help deliver on results and objectives.
Managing employee expectations
Along the way, it’s essential that businesses also manage employee expectations of their use of technology.
Rather than allowing the CTO and IT teams to make end-user technology decisions alone, organisations should make employees part of the process; creating collaborative groups and having a consultative approach to the technology choices and solutions means employees can buy-into or suggest preferred tech options earlier in the process.
Organisations that take this approach to streamlining technology can expect to see not only an uptick in the adoption of business preferred applications and tools, but also higher rates of productivity that can contribute to the bottom line.
About the author
Leon Sayers, lead advisory consultant for Unisys Asia Pacific