Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A week in the digital workplace by @s2d_jamesr


What’s it like in the digital workplace? James Robertson recently published a report to answer this question. He took a storytelling approach and gave us insight in what working in a digital workplace looks like.

In this way he hopes to make the digital workplace more concrete. This is necessary because James there's lots theoretical and abstract talk about it. James’ report wants to bring the digital workplace closer to us.

I enjoyed reading the report. In several steps James takes us through the digital workplace. He shows how a new employee would use the workplace during the week using all kinds of concrete examples. Like a personal welcome message, a pre-populated tasklist, information about working methods, mobile intranet, accessing operational information about e.g. hotel bookings, an overview of company numbers and real-time performance data.

James rounds up his report by listing 6 keys to the digital workplace (Identity, Awareness, Trust, etc) and also points to organizations that show the digital workplace is happening now.
I do think one important key is missing though. Clearly the digital workplace can only come to be if there is an integrated backend. Shouldn’t 'integration' be a 7th key? Or is integration tackled in the keys 'Access' and 'Design'?

The sub-title of this nice report points to the future. For many this is the future. And still, the examples of the week in the digital workplace aren’t futuristic. Maybe a next report should address the futuristic digital workplace. For instance, extend the mobile intranet with a location-sensitive expertise locator. Or automatic, real-time updates on any devices based on where you are?

Finally, what is the digital workplace? Shouldn’t the report contain a short definition? Or don’t we know what it is yet? James seems to have a broad view of the digital workplace. It’s not only digital but also hardware, like laptops and other devices. To me the digital workplace is the sum of all the digital, web-based tools a knowledge workers need to get his/her work done. And if this implies some information should be accessible via mobile devices (hardware), we’ll have to get that done as well.
If the definition is broader than my definition I agree with Efraim Freed on the ThoughtFarmer blog, we should then also extend to other hardware, like sensors, GPS etc.

I hope you read the report! Let’s continue the discussion here or on James’ blog. What’s your definition of the digital workplace? What are the challenges and where do you see it happening?

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