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Digital workspace growth is being hampered by a lack of clear strategy, says new research from SoftwareONE

Benefits of digital technology are well-known, but a distinct lack of cohesion around how to effectively adopt it remains

A new research report produced by SoftwareONE, a global leader in software and cloud portfolio management, has revealed that the majority of organisations (58 per cent) do not have a clearly defined strategy in place when it comes to adopting and integrating digital workspace technology. This indicates how, in many organisations, implementing and making use of such technology is still being carried out in something of a haphazard manner, meaning that they will struggle to truly maximise its potential unless they take steps to overhaul their strategic approach.

The findings of the research are summarised in SoftwareONE’s Building a Lean, Mean, Digital Machine report, which has been released today. The report also found that, despite the fact that almost all organisations (99 per cent) employ some form of digital workspace technology, respondents have encountered a host of challenges when it comes to using them. These include higher security risks (cited by 47 per cent) and a lack of employee knowledge in how best to use the solutions (45 per cent).

For Zak Virdi, UK Managing Director at SoftwareONE, these figures should serve as a wake-up call to businesses who want to make the most of digital workspace technologies, but have not given enough thought to how to implement them in a way that maximises productivity while minimising any potential issues.

Virdi said:

“It’s clear that our working lives have been made easier in many ways by digital technology – cloud apps like Office 365 and Dropbox have become very much the norm, and online collaboration tools like Smartsheet are being gratefully adopted by workers the world over.

“But bringing new digital solutions into the business without a unified, cohesive strategy in place is likely to lead to problems in the long run. These tools are designed to connect employees more effectively, but they can have the opposite effect if, for instance, one department is using a particular tool but another one is completely unaware of its existence. Moreover, introducing new technologies that are not sanctioned for use by senior leaders – frequently known as Shadow IT – can lead to security issues that can be difficult to remedy.”

This need for more clearly defined strategies is supported by the fact that digitalisation is being pushed not just by senior management, but by rank-and-file employees too. Almost two-thirds of respondents (63 per cent) believe that digital evolution is being promoted by the most senior personnel, while 30 per cent said that it is being driven by regular employees. With so many different needs to meet, a well-functioning digital workspace can only be created if there is a structured plan put in place by senior management.

Virdi added:

“Employees are pushing hard for change, and it’s not just those at the top who are demanding it. There’s clear evidence that this appetite for new tech is present throughout the business, which means organisations have to work out how to cater to a very large cross-section of the workforce. With this in mind, it’s paramount that the drive to digital is built on the bedrock of a well-planned strategy.

“This should take into account the requirements of everyone at the business: senior managers and board members might seem to be the ones pushing hard for digitalisation, but this is often due to the pressure they are getting from their employees anyway.”

He concluded:

“Building the digital workspace is not simply a process of introducing technologies and hoping that they take hold; it’s about having a specific lifecycle plan for every new tool that is introduced. If businesses adopt and maintain this mindset, the long-term benefits will be significant.”