Digital Workplace Key Initiative Overview

Archived Published: 22 April 2014 ID: G00263392

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A digital workplace enables new and more effective ways of working, improves employee engagement and agility, and exploits consumer-oriented styles and technologies.


Figure 1. Digital Workplace Key Initiative Overview
Research image courtesy of Gartner, Inc.

Source: Gartner (April 2014)

Organizations must promote workforce effectiveness by strategically responding to a series of interconnected trends, such as digital lifestyles and changing work models.

CIOs and IT leaders must build a more social, mobile, accessible and data-driven work environment that can exploit rapidly changing business conditions.


By promoting employee engagement, digital workplaces create a workforce that makes discretionary contributions to business effectiveness.

  • Employees whose goals align with the organization's mission are more likely to be enthusiastic team contributors, resulting in better business performance.

Digital workplaces have an explicit goal of creating a consumer-like computing experience that enables teams to be more effective.

  • Most employees in their consumer lives have a growing level of digital literacy that most businesses do not exploit.

Digital workplace strategies exploit emerging smart technologies and people-centric design to support dynamic, nonroutine work.

  • The changing nature of work demands a significant degree of employee autonomy, which is not well supported by existing IT infrastructure.

Consider These Factors to Determine Your Readiness

What Establishing a Digital Workplace Means to CIOs

CIOs must take the following steps to build a digital workplace:

  • Treat mobile, social, information and cloud investments holistically.

  • Use app stores and cloud brokering to offer a rich portfolio of services to business units and employees.

  • Use behavioral and social science skills to inform organizational, cultural and employee practices.

  • Work with human resources to understand how employee competencies and roles are changing.

  • Identify how services tailored to customers can be adapted for employee use.

  • Exploit user experience design practices when delivering applications and services to employees.

  • Focus enterprise architecture efforts on ensuring that application delivery, infrastructure and operations have a more consumerized orientation.

What Establishing a Digital Workplace Means to IT Leaders

IT leaders must take the following steps to build a digital workplace:

  • Invest in a more business-centric and consumer-like employee support structure.

  • Understand the reason for, and the extent of, shadow IT and consumer tools.

  • Explore how employees view the intersection of workplace and consumer digital trends.

  • Create a portfolio of consumer-like tools and services to maximize skill and tool reuse across employees and customers.

  • Deliver identity and access management services that provide easy access to applications from anywhere at any time.

  • Invest in services (app stores, social networks, "bring your own X', and so on) that facilitate dynamic work.

Conduct Your Digital Workplace Initiative Using This Structured Approach

A multiphase approach is recommended:

  • Strategize and Plan: Draft a business-driven charter. Scope the initiative, establish resources and budget. Define measures to monitor progress and success.

  • Drive Change Management: Establish mechanisms to communicate and socialize ideas. Get buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. Establish a decision-making process. Identify and engage stakeholders. Implement feedback mechanisms.

  • Execute: Operate the initiative in accordance with business goals. Update and drive new elements of the initiative in response to changing business requirements. Measure how the initiative has affected business outcomes. Drive improvements through process changes and upgrades.

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