Adam Preset

Senior Director Analyst and Conference Chair

What is a digital workplace? Why is it important? Gartner’s Adam Preset answers these questions and more.

Question 1: What is a digital workplace?

A digital workplace is a business strategy to boost workforce digital dexterity through an engaging and intuitive work environment. To say you have a strategy means two things: You have a formal program and a rational portfolio of applications. Digital workplace applications support the most popular horizontal services, such as email, file sharing, content creation and management, meeting solutions, workstream collaboration and social software. All with the aim of enabling employee collaboration and efficiencies.

Question 2: Why is it important to have a digital workplace program?

A digital workplace program is a key component of organizations’ digital strategies and HR IT investments. Without a program, the right internal priorities and relationships don’t exist, so you can’t execute on the strategy. You need it because employees typically use digital workplace applications more than any other software in the enterprise.

Question 3: What are the biggest challenges facing those within the digital workplace space?

There are three key areas that we see digital workplace leaders and those who are leading digital workplace programs facing challenges in:

  • Strategy planning and business alignment. Identifying, defining, prioritizing and communicating business-relevant digital workplace capabilities. In addition, establishing a digital workplace program management organization to engage business stakeholders and oversee program strategy.
  • Employee experience and governance. Being equipped with frameworks and toolkits with which to plan your digital workplace roadmaps. This includes governance, change management practices and methods to improve the employee experience in order to maximize engagement and digital dexterity.
  • Change management, metrics and operations. Transitioning to responsive, agile and metrics-driven continuous delivery operating models, digital workplace leaders often need guidance as they move into a product management model.

Question 4: Why is digital workplace a C-suite initiative?

There are two main reasons why digital workplace is important to C-suite executives — importance and scope:

  • Importance. You cannot have a digital business without a digital workplace. IT and business leaders are increasingly committed to drive greater engagement, agility, innovation and collaboration in the workforce. A digital workforce initiative is the best way to create an environment where employees can work and collaborate effectively. C-suite executives are deeply involved in their organizations’ digital transformation initiatives.
  • Scope. Digital workplace technology is unique in that every employee of every company potentially uses it every day. The broad scope of these capabilities means that digital workplace directly involves HR, legal, operations, facilities, end-user support, security as well as IT. An initiative with impact this wide needs senior executive buy-in and involvement.

Question 5: What will the future of work look like in five years?

Large-scale, long-term changes in technology, diversity and culture are transforming more than just jobs. They are transforming the meaning and value of work and the reasons we work. These trends intersect with a key organizational dynamic: changing work environments and flexible working arrangements. This dynamic has been named as the biggest demographic and socioeconomic driver of change across industries. AI promises to both automate and augment jobs. It is already sparking anxieties, debates and distrust about society’s proper role in this disruption. Further geopolitical and societal pressures add complexity. Meanwhile, organizations face mounting pressure to invest in the platforms, emerging technologies, talent practices and skills that will position them to survive and thrive.

Defining the “future of work” involves, first, assessing the key technological, social and cultural forces acting on workers (both employees and contingent workers). Second, it involves exploring the interplay of technology and people to find new ways of working.

Question 6: How can organizations prepare for the future of work?

Digital workplace leaders must bring together technology and people to build tomorrow's businesses, platforms and ecosystems, and ready employees to thrive in them. They should and can shape the future of work with a technology-people interrelationship in mind. One example is the use of AI, which will automate and augment an array of human jobs both existing and new. The interplay of people and AI is where leaders can create most value. And the future of work comes whether you’re ready for it or not, so part of readiness entails a willingness to change and leave old ways of working behind.

Question 7: What will attendees learn when they attend Gartner Digital Workplace Summit 2020?

We designed the content for the conference to provide both pragmatic guidance on specific topics (such as how to choose between vendors, best practices for deployment and adoption, dealing with issues like security and governance, and leadership and culture building) as well as forward-looking topics like AI, skills for tomorrow and workforce diversity. For a more complete view of the topics, check out the complete conference agenda.

Join us at Gartner Digital Workplace Summit this March as we explore how to advance your digital workplace strategy, accelerate progress on new capabilities and transform the way your organization works, alongside other digital workplace leaders.