Intranet and Digital Workplace– Two terms that we often get confused about. Are both the same? Or is digital workplace something new? Or is it a packaging? People often get stuck at these terms.
The intranet or the ‘traditional’ intranet is nothing more or nothing less than an internal website which is accessible to anyone inside the company’s walls. Whenever employee opens his browser it will start with an intranet homepage. We are now living in the digital era where the workplace is not space just to be occupied by the employees during the office hours. Instead, it is converted to a connected environment where employees can collaborate, communicate and instantly access anything they require. The bridge between the physical office and the place where the work actually happens are almost blurred.
Many business organizations and government are now implementing the digital workplace to manage industry changes. Slowly integrations were added to this where collaboration and activity started playing a bigger role but did not replace the basic purposes of content and communication, which was the first step towards designing a digital workplace.
Understanding the Digital Workplace
The concept of the “digital workplace” is still emerging and we need to collectively build a clear, shared understanding. Reading this will give you crystal overview of a digital workplace. A digital workplace is not a replacement of an intranet. It is a workplace of digitally interconnected tools to get the work done. Some horrific consultants speak differently of a digital workplace with the new age terms. But without making it up, we can easily define a digital workplace as “how people get their work done using the sum of all digital tools used in the workplace which includes intranet enterprise portals team sites etc.
By innovatively combining technologies the boundaries of the digital workplace have broken down the communication barriers and transform employee experience to one promoting efficiency. The role of an intranet is more limited than a digital workplace. A typical intranet contains corporate news, documents etc. and use content and document management systems. But a digital workplace uses collaboration tools, microblogging tools, application tools, processes etc. Somewhere in between traditional intranet and an integrated digital workplace lies the advanced, hybrid intranets. This shift from the traditional intranet to a digital workplace has allowed employees to be more productive.
How to get started and break the boundaries?
To get started on your digital workplace:
- Create and communicate a clear vision how you need to design your digital workplace
- Plan a clear strategy and roadmap for the future
- Steadily deliver enhancements and improvements
If the moving this way to digital workplace goes well, the following benefits between IT talent and business are expected to happen:
- Consumer grade technology that lives up to employee expectations
- Facilitating an engaged workforce with an emphasis on mobility, user-experience, and choice.
- A community-oriented social network/collaboration platform that promotes innovation and knowledge sharing.
- A focus on iterative, shorter development cycles and design simplicity, improving the ability to exploit accelerating business cycles
Does this mean your intranet is dead?
The intranet which was traditionally a place for internal communication, news and policies have undergone a transformation. Rather than insisting that everything must fit onto your intranet, another platform is introduced which centralizes all your digital systems, tools, apps and content in one place which is similar to a central hub that links together all the various apps but with a deeper level of integration with the tools and processes. So your intranet is not dead but it is breaking the boundaries of a traditional intranet. In this age of having various tools, processes, apps, and contents for choosing, not having a centrally managed platform you will lose the skill and will of your staff wasting time finding the right tool and document.
Your intranet is not a fixed publishing tool, rather a platform that will aggregate everything i.e. Collaboration, communication, services, tolls, links to business apps, etc. in one place. So with Office 365 and platforms like Yammer, Chatter, Jive etc. intranet should be made flexible with essentially a common language every business needs in order to survive. It must be a go-to place with easy access to all tools you need to work with no fuss.
Creating a truly digital workplace is a significant challenge. The only businesses that will be successful in future are those that will tear down the barrier of the divide between people, technologies and the workplace. If there is no such barrier to divide the workforce, everyone will be empowered to do their job on time, to be productive and creative wherever they are working. In addition, a digital workplace approach will help them attract the talent to stay competitive and keep up with the social and business transformations that take place around us.
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