A brief look back: from the enterprise portal to the Digital Workplace
Do you remember company portals, also called intranets? These are static pages whose purpose is to share specific information with the company's employees.
For the most novice, it is necessary to differentiate an intranet from an internet page. The difference lies in the accessibility of the page. Indeed, the particularity of the intranet is that it is only accessible internally, i.e. by the employees of the company.
From the static intranet to the Digital Workplace, a few evolutions have taken place. So how did the Digital Workplace come about?
Several years ago, an intranet was a simple static page whose purpose was to share information with the company's employees. Communication and Human Resources departments circulated documents and/or information to employees in a top-down communication approach. The first intranets were born in the late 1990s, and more specifically in 1996: that's when "Intranet Genie" was released, a product developed by Frontier Technologies that was also the first intranet-type software specifically designed for communication and collaboration between employees.
The intranet has evolved by becoming more dynamic and by integrating new features. After a period of strong development in the 2000s, we can now find corporate social networks with (among others) Yammer and Facebook Workplace, instant messaging (Teams, Slack...), and links to business tools. These developments allow employees to benefit from a unique and fluid digital work environment, accessible from a computer, and also from a smartphone or tablet for mobile employees.
In summary, the difference between an intranet and a Digital Workplace is as follows: the former is a relatively compartmentalized internal tool with limited functionality, while the latter is a versatile, seamless digital workspace. In other words, the Digital Workplace is a digital toolbox that employees use every day. The intranet is therefore a part of the Digital Workplace.
What is a Digital Workplace?
The term Digital Workplace has been used for several years, and more precisely since the end of the 2000s. Although it does not have an official definition (yet?), it can be said that it is a digital (or digitized) work environment that :
In other words, it is a set of technologies and digital tools that are useful to employees in performing their daily tasks and that are adapted to the specific needs of an organization. It is a holistic approach that centralizes existing tools and fully integrates with business applications. Thus, the Digital Workplace generally includes the following tools (the list is not exhaustive):
Cloud storage spaces;
Project management and agenda sharing tools;
Video conferencing applications;
Electronic document management tools.
The beauty of a Digital Workplace is that it can be used by everyone in a company, including field employees. This allows all users to be engaged, whether they are on site or not. Furthermore, the Digital Workplace gives all employees the ability to work from anywhere, in a fully secure manner. By making work possible and accessible in a wide range of situations, it enables the digital transformation of companies.
Benefits of the Digital Workplace
The benefits of implementing a Digital Workplace are numerous. We will mention here the three main ones: the improvement of internal communication, the reinforcement of teamwork (collaboration), and the simplification of knowledge sharing. However, it is important to keep in mind that these benefits are not exhaustive, and that each company can find many different interests in the implementation of a Digital Workplace.
Many communications end up archived in an e-mail box, without having been read by the employees. This can be very frustrating for the communication department, which may feel that it is working for nothing and/or that it is not able to circulate the necessary information. Beyond the feeling, the negative impact is important for companies: for example, it can result in a loss of adhesion to the organization's projects and values, as well as a decrease in the overall commitment of employees. This generally leads to an increase in turnover...
That's where the Digital Workplace comes in!
The Digital Workplace facilitates access to information thanks to advanced targeting that allows the right information to be communicated to the right person at the right time. Furthermore, apart from this communication strategy, tags allow employees to select the information that interests them to stay informed on a relevant topic. This significantly increases the engagement rate of shared content, and offers employees a real time saving in the search for information.
2- Improve the employee experience and foster collaboration
The Digital Workplace provides a positive and fluid digital experience for employees by facilitating many of their daily tasks. As an ecosystem, it simplifies collaborative work thanks to numerous features: document and agenda sharing, video conferencing, instant messaging, document management, Teams (in the case of a Microsoft Digital Workplace)... And this is all the more important as current work methods combine telecommuting and face-to-face work, and make geographically distant teams collaborate.
The lack of access to relevant information can waste a lot of time for employees and ultimately, a lot of money for companies. Thanks to knowledge management tools, the Digital Workplace is becoming a major asset in the daily life of employees. Thus, knowledge is not lost when an expert leaves the company, and the search for information is simplified.
How do you do it? It's very simple:
Thanks to the availability of information on the Cloud ;
By doing versioning, which consists in working on the same document by saving several versions of it, as it is modified;
By making employees actors in the creation of content and by encouraging them to contribute;
By providing a Knowledge Management library and avoiding complex documentation trees;
By providing procedures and product sheets accessible in 2 clicks thanks to an advanced search engine.
How to use generative AI within the Digital Workplace?
Definition of generative AI
Generative Artificial Intelligence (Generative AI) represents a branch of artificial intelligence used to create new and relevant content, ranging from text to images to videos. In the context of the Digital Workplace, it mainly focuses on generating textual content to facilitate internal communications.
Use of Generative AI in the Digital Workplace
1. Eliminating blocks and accelerating Creativity
Generative AI becomes an invaluable tool for overcoming creative blockages by providing a diverse array of creative inputs. Rather than solely depending on brainstorming sessions, it continuously offers a stream of innovative ideas, content suggestions, and creative prompts, liberating employees from the constraints of conventional creative methods and alleviating the pressures of generating original concepts.
2. Accelerating understanding and research
In an ever-evolving environment demanding rapid adaptation, internal communicators are frequently tasked with swiftly comprehending novel subjects. Generative AI serves as an agile research companion, swiftly scanning extensive datasets and summarizing intricate information into digestible insights. By condensing complex concepts into accessible summaries, it not only expedites the learning process but also empowers communicators to effectively disseminate this knowledge across the organization, fostering clearer and more informed communication channels.
3. Optimizing content creation and distribution
Generative AI accelerates the content creation process by streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity. By automating various aspects of content generation, it facilitates a consistent delivery of engaging and pertinent information across internal platforms. It streamlines the production of diverse content formats such as impactful blog posts, timely announcements, informative newsletters, and other essential materials. This swift and efficient content creation mechanism not only maintains a regular stream of updates but also ensures their relevance and resonance within the organizational context, catering to the evolving needs of the audience.
Concrete examples of generative AI for enhanced digital experience
Automation of writing important documents :
Imagine an advanced tool seamlessly integrated within the Digital Workplace infrastructure, equipped with natural language processing capabilities, capable of meticulously analyzing meeting transcripts or extensive reports. This tool proficiently distills and summarizes key insights, action points, and critical information, aligning with provided inputs. By automating this labor-intensive task, it liberates employees from the time-consuming process of manually synthesizing voluminous data, allowing them to redirect their focus towards strategic initiatives and more value-added tasks.
Assistance in creating personalized content
An advanced AI system embedded within the Digital Workplace, equipped with machine learning algorithms, proficiently tailors messages and content for distinct employee segments, ensuring maximum engagement and relevance. This AI-driven system meticulously analyzes user behavior, preferences, and historical interactions to craft personalized and targeted communication. By dynamically adapting language, tone, and content structure, it optimizes the resonance of messages for diverse employee groups, ultimately enhancing their receptiveness and fostering stronger engagement with the information conveyed. This personalized approach empowers organizations to deliver content that is not only highly relevant but also resonates deeply with each employee, thereby augmenting overall communication effectiveness.
Speed in creating communication materials
Generative AI serves as a powerful ally in the rapid development of varied communication materials, encompassing newsletters, presentations, and more. By leveraging machine learning and natural language processing capabilities, it expedites the creation process by automating several steps involved in content production. This includes generating initial drafts, suggesting layouts, and even incorporating visual elements. This acceleration significantly truncates the time typically required for the development of such materials, allowing employees to efficiently produce polished newsletters and presentations without the labor-intensive manual effort. As a result, the integration of Generative AI streamlines the content creation workflow, enabling the swift delivery of professional-grade communication materials tailored to specific needs or events within the organization.
How to create a Digital Workplace?
1. Identify your own needs
The implementation of a Digital Workplace must meet a company's concrete needs. First of all, ask yourself what your specific needs are and what objectives are associated with them. Do you want to improve the flow of information? Strengthen your employees' sense of belonging? Improve document retrieval and information sharing among employees? This identification phase should allow you to focus on the processes to be put in place, and thus create a relevant and efficient Digital Workplace that can evolve with your company.
2. Define a Digital Workplace Manager
It is out of the question to launch a Digital Workplace project without appointing a manager! Whatever the title (HR manager, IT manager, etc.), this person will have to ensure that the project runs smoothly: implementation of tools, employee training, support for change, etc. He or she will also have to be available to answer any questions employees may have, and provide after-sales service.
3. Remember to train your employees
Changing work methods and/or tools overnight, without preparing employees, is often counterproductive. If you want the implementation of your Digital Workplace to go as smoothly as possible, and for it to be massively adopted, you need to prepare your employees beforehand by explaining to them why these changes are taking place and why they are useful. This can be done by creating a user guide with all the relevant information, or by organizing remote training sessions. The better prepared employees are for the upcoming changes, the faster they will adopt them!
No company today can afford to neglect its digital transition. It is indeed a necessary step to promote the adoption of a digital culture in the company, and the tools that accompany it. In concrete terms, this means making digital technology not only accessible, but also advantageous for employees. This implies multiplying communication and training actions. In this way, the adoption of the Digital Workplace will be stronger and faster.
5. Measure the performance of your Digital Workplace
Measuring the performance of a Digital Workplace is important. And, contrary to what one might think, this phase must be thought out before the project is developed! Indeed, defining the KPIs of your Digital Workplace allows you to set up precise objectives and the means to reach them. These objectives can be the following: improving employee satisfaction, or increasing the number of leads. And if you find that the results are not up to your expectations, this gives you the opportunity to make changes to your Digital Workplace, with a view to continuous improvement.
SharePoint, which is the Digital Workplace for creating internal sites for companies.
Many other tools are included in Microsoft 365: Outlook, the office suite (which includes Word and Powerpoint), Planner, Delve, etc.
Since the arrival of Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), the publisher is providing more and more efforts to break the silos of its application base in order to provide a seamless experience for the end user. The arrival of Microsoft Viva in 2021 is a perfect example.
However, the functional scope of the Microsoft suite does not allow for a fluid and engaging experience without the use of specific developments or integrated software.
Should you leave Microsoft to set up your Digital Workplace?
This solution, although attractive, poses many problems. Indeed, leaving Microsoft means :
Doubling of features: some features will overlap, making companies pay twice;
Security flaws, as the data is kept in two places;
A loss of sense of the IT Roadmap, because leaving Microsoft does not allow to rationalize the applications it has in stock;
Users bogged down by too many applications.
So what is the solution to using Microsoft as a fully-fledged Digital Workplace?
There is an alternative solution that does not require specific development. Indeed, Microsoft's strategy is based on partnerships that complement of its solutions' features.
Mozzaik365 is one of these partners. We propose a fluid and complete solution to allow companies to implement their Digital Workplace from their Microsoft environment. It's easy and fast: our solution allows to create a fully customized space in less than 3 weeks!