As I wrote in the first part of this series, I recently received a review copy of Digital Workplace Trends 2013 by Jane McConnell. Jane has conducted the annual surveys since 2006 and published reports every year since 2007. My last post begin to look at some of the details in the report. The report is over 150 pages long so I will only scratch the surface. You can purchase the report through its web site, www.digital-workplace-trends.com. As I wrote, if you are serious about making the digital workplace happen in your organization, it is a good move to obtain a copy.
I was pleased to see a section on Process in the report. I think this is key to getting real value out of the digital workplace. As I wrote, it is integrating the interactions with the transactions and tying the social to business process where real change will occur. A post by Andy McAfee that made a similar point. He, in turn, quotes a post by Laurie Buczek, The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business. “Culture will change as a result of the pervasive use of social tools. Lack of cultural change is not social business’s biggest failure. The biggest failure is the lack of workflow integration to drive culture change.”
Jane found that there is much to do to solve this challenge. She reported that, “very few organizations have embedded social capabilities into enterprise processes. However anecdotal evidence suggests that social integrated into processes can successfully change the way people work.” She offers a lot of detail on to make this happen.
In the investment section, Jane reported that, “mobile is the priority area for investment for 2013-2014, with enterprise social networking and information architecture also at the top of the list.” I think that information architecture is a top priority. In addition to addressing the important people issues (so they are open to connecting and willing to step out of organizational silos), there are some essential technology ones, it is also necessary to get the applications connected so conversation do not occur in technical silos. As I wrote in Putting Social Media to Work, to be effective these systems that support interactions have to be integrated with the systems of record that support transactions. The social tools also need to be integrated with each other or companies are simply creating more silos of disconnection and benefits are not realized. Application connectors are a major key realizing the business benefits of the digital workplace.
Having said that technology is critical, so are people issues and Jane has a section on Change. She writes that, “resistance to social collaboration comes from perceptions about lack of business value and waste of time.” She also found in early adopters resistance tends to come from middle managers while in the majority it comes from senior management. I think this is because in the early adopters the senior managers have bought in so things are starting to change and hitting the middle management resistance. In the majority things have not progressed far enough for middle managers to really worry. Jane offers a lot of useful content and case examples on making change happen.
Jane appropriately concludes with a section on finding your direction. She states that no journey is the same. However, there are some common directions to take. She encourages organizations to build a digital mindset and start with a big picture and use it to bring the diverse initiatives together. You need to focus on capabilities and not tools and define governance based on “freedom within a framework.” Always think integrated. There is much more. This is a very useful report.