Letting staff work productively from home or anywhere is important, but you need additional humanistic and digitalization strategies for sustainability.

Remote-working is not a new idea and it has been in practice for a number of years.

However, the current pandemic has pushed the need for a seamless, secure digital workspace in order for the world’s remote workforce to work from anywhere, any time and on any device, safely.

At this critical juncture, organizations need to make the employee digital experience a priority,  because it has a direct impact on their bottom line. A Forbes study found that when companies provide employees seamless access to critical applications anytime and anywhere, they reported a 17% savings in time, ultimately freeing staff to focus on more important tasks, improving personal productivity and organizational efficiency.

Despite all the conversations around the digital workspace, IT leaders still find it challenging to plan for the changes required to make a seamless, secure digital workspace a reality. Many of the skills, tools, and processes used today are based on 20-year-old, PC-based technology. A new approach is needed to ensure a successful digital workspace strategy: here are 5 critical requirements for employers and IT leaders to take note of.

  1. Putting employee experience first
    Putting employee experience as the first requirement for a digital workspace is not a simple nod to keeping employees in mind as you go about the business of delivering IT. Instead, building a strong design culture around the employee experience is critical to meet the demands of the business, as is the mandate to secure sensitive corporate data at a time when the workforce is largely remote.

    IT must put themselves in a position to design and deliver the productivity experiences employees will use. This takes into account the devices and form factors employees use throughout the day, the locations from which they need to work, as well as providing a level of flexibility and choice that will keep up with the demands of employees and departments. In many cases, this takes a shift in skills and culture, but it also represents growth opportunities across IT.
  2. Delivery of applications anytime, anywhere
    The next critical requirement is the ability to deliver any application through the digital workspace experience. Supporting all apps—mobile, cloud-based, web-based, task-based, Windows legacy, etc. —is a must. Not only is it necessary to support all apps, but they also need to be supported from any device, anywhere your employees are located. Businesses cannot deliver an employee experience if they are not able to deliver the applications needed.

    Making applications highly accessible is crucial in boosting employee performance and productivity, two extremely important factors that determine business success and profitability. In a Forbes study of 2,000 executives and frontline employees worldwide, the executive CIOs who had already made applications readily accessible to employees estimated an 18% increase in revenue due to these applications.

    By definition, a digital workspace that does not include all of the applications employees needs to do their job when and wherever they need them, is not a true digital workspace. The platform must be equipped to deal with the hundreds of Windows applications you may already have with the new and existing web, SaaS, and native mobile applications.
  3. Modern device management
    PC lifecycle management is now the way of the past. Modern device management allows IT to manage with a cloud-based, on-demand approach, anywhere and on any device to deliver drastic time and cost savings. Not only does this provide organizations with immense scalability, but IT can also manage devices with zero-touch provisioning, seamless software distribution, and intrinsic security. There is no question that, in the near future, every enterprise-managed or personal device accessing corporate data will be connected to a modern device management platform.

    The question is, when? Many organizations have heavily invested in years of tools, skills, and processes revolving around domain-based management of PCs and Macs. We believe modern device management is the only way to deliver consistent experiences in a borderless work environment by having a real-time context of the devices used to access the apps and data employees need to do their best work. Device management helps secure access management so there is only one app and one place to go. It also ensures unified endpoint management for a consistently great user experience that is also highly secure.
  4. Managing with real-time data and insights
    With the digital workspace in place, IT is in an ideal position to proactively drive successful experiences through measuring and tracking adoption and usage of applications across devices. Instead of reacting to historical data, IT now has the ability to access real-time insights from data that provides the ability to spot trends, identify gaps in experience and security, and make recommendations for change. IT needs to ensure that their device management platforms provide them with complete visibility into their digital workspace in order to gain the deep insights required that in turn enable data-driven decisions across the entire digital environment.
  5. Automate to succeed at any scale
    In the end, having visibility and even control of this new digital workspace environment is fantastic, but with more devices, more apps, and more threats, the digital workspace becomes increasingly complex. To handle the massive scale and complexity of a digital workspace, automation is critical for onboarding, deploying apps, serving up patches and updates, as well as automating remediation steps for policy compliance based on intelligence.

    IT needs to be proactive in security instead of reacting to malicious threats after the fact. A proactive approach helps to eliminate the need for users to generate tickets requiring IT administrators to take manual action. Ultimately, automation keeps operational costs low and removes inconsistencies across devices.

The Digital Workspace is here to stay

As we find ourselves in this new paradigm where a remote workforce is the norm, organizations must harness technology to ensure business continuity. This means building a digital foundation that enables the architecting and delivery of digital products and services to employees and customers alike.

Implementing and maintaining an employee-focused digital workspace is critical towards achieving business success. IT leaders need to lead the charge toward a more efficient, user-friendly, seamless and secure digital environment. Taking the right steps now—examining and incorporating the five requirements discussed here—will help to ensure the likelihood that employees will adopt new apps and adhere to new IT policies now and in the future. This will thereby secure success for the organization in the increasingly competitive, digitalized business environment.