9 Components of a Digital Platform for Workflow Automation
Gartner projects businesses will spend an eye-popping 3.85 trillion dollars on IT this year. That’s because so many companies are embracing automation and digital technology tools.
So it makes sense to ask: Does your workplace have an effective digital platform to automate your workflows?
Here’s why the digital workplace matters. First, it affects every system and role within the company. Second, digital workplaces give employees the ability to work from any device, access the information they need in a timely manner, and make collaboration easier with quality conferencing, document sharing, and communication.
An effective platform will meet the specific needs of your team and organization. It will also change any of your processes that are outdated or simply aren’t working. When businesses provide their employees with the right tools, more than 63% of employees say it makes them feel more productive.
But how can you choose that platform?
Here are the nine components necessary to establish a successful digital platform.
Businesses often have an overall vision statement or a strategy. When implementing digital workplace platforms, strategy becomes even more important.
Companies and departments have access to a technology solution for every problem, but implementing new tools or software can backfire without a clear direction that matches the technology to the needs of the business, employees, and all stakeholders.
Develop a digital workflow vision statement. This should describe the technology your business needs and how it will benefit all involved. Think about how you will pull the technology together with your employees and business goals to make your business more productive. An effective strategy and clear vision can be a motivator for your workforce and empower them to be a part of the process.
Your vision should be a clear road map that consists not only of technology but also the best way to implement it along with measurable goals. Each part of your strategy should have a positive impact on at least one aspect of your business, or else it is not valuable to you or your employees.
A good guiding principle is to identify the business goals you need to achieve and align your technology to meet these needs. A good technology workplace platform strategy will address technology as an optimal way to:
- be productive,
- conduct business,
- collect ideas,
- be connected, and
- be mobile when needed.
Finally, don’t forget to take risk, compliance, and legal into consideration.
A digital workforce platform needs effective management to succeed. Key stakeholders, including executives, should be identified and made a part of the process. Explain to executives how the new tools will benefit them and the entire organization, and outline the results you expect to see.
You will also need support on the ground level. Communicate clearly with employees how new tools and procedures will make their jobs and lives easier. Also, the management of any digital workplace platform should have clear implementation process. It should be clear to everyone involved what technology is being implemented, how it is being implemented, and how success will be measured. It should also ensure good user experiences, proper adoption policies, and adequate resources to run a business smoothly.
Even with an endless technology budget, you need some form of measurement and analytics to know if your digital initiative is truly working. Automatically capturing employee input data, by using automated tracking tools, can greatly simplify this process.
Don’t implement technology without establishing measurable outcomes and creating a process to oversee your progress and results. Ask, “Will this tool make the workforce more effective, make employees more efficient, or help employee retention?”
Technology goals and measurements should align with your overall business goals. \As part of the oversight process, make an inventory of your technology and remove any duplicate or redundant tools.
#4 Employee Experience
Employees are the backbone of your business. Understanding the digital workplace from an employee’s perspective can reap great rewards. Is there something they must deal with on a daily basis that could be improved? Do they have the right tools to do their work? Are they working in a supportive environment that values collaboration and learning?
Asking questions like these can uncover valuable information that can help guide your strategies and goals. Create a culture of learning. One best practice is to offer opportunities for employees to pursue training and certifications so they can learn to use digital tools to their best advantage. According to the Wall Street Journal, 54% of executives polled saying they saw “major improvements” in their business after they implemented such policies.
Creating an exceptional employee experience must involve technology. When a workforce is engaged, creative and motivated, they can outperform the competition by providing superior service and execution. An easy way to do this is to invite your employees to share ideas. What do they see as an important technology need?
By communicating with their employees effectively with a workforce communications platform, for example, Ciox Health was able to improve how Human Resources reached and engaged their workers. They created new HR communications channels, a new onboarding process, and a system of record for HR documents. Also, with the enhanced communications, open enrollment was greatly improved, “roughly doubled the number of employees year over year who responded and enrolled by the end of Day One, Day Two and Week One of the enrollment period,” according to Joey Nord, Director of Corporate Communications & PR for Ciox Health.
Collaborative tools offer huge benefits for today’s workforce, especially considering how many employees enjoy and thrive when they’re allowed to create flexible working schedules and work from remote locations. If you want to keep your employees highly productive and connected, they need ways to collaborate effectively and easily with one another.
Beware that some collaboration tools can actually create a drag on productivity. Often, it’s all in how workers use digital tools. Whatever solution you introduce to your workforce, be sure to discuss, disseminate, and reinforce best practices for using the tools, and stress that effective collaboration is the goal. If the tools are not working, tweak your approach until you get the results you want.
For an organization to thrive, they must work well together. Increased productivity is a key factor. For productivity to be at its highest, the digital workplace must remove duplication, resolve errors quickly, and have a streamlined process.
DHL is a good example. The company has a real-time process that enables teams to know exactly where a package is and the best way to route it in real time. This technology enables them to work effectively, thus increasing productivity. Again, technology can hurt productivity if the technology is not matched to the needs of the employees and monitored regularly. Make sure your digital workflow tools simplify tasks and let employees be more productive.
An effective digital workplace platform will free up an employee to work from anywhere, at any time. Businesses should analyze which technology, devices, and skills help maximize the positive impacts of working on a mobile platform.
These tools should allow an employee to access the content and information they need, wherever they might be. Mobility should also give employees the ability to share information across a platform for teams, colleagues, and partners by way of social channels.
Security is always paramount but often neglected until a major problem occurs. Increased network traffic and larger amounts of data require a need for strong security in the technology infrastructure. Multi-factor authentication, firewalls for on-premises and clouds, “distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation and end-to-end encryption should all be considered.
Yes, a workforce platform is a wise investment. But it must be bolstered by multiple other tools as well.
It’s not likely you’ll find one, single software that meets every one of your business needs. Instead, think of how many tools you’ll need, because most companies use a suite of tools. With more than 150,000 SaaS applications available, it might be beneficial to be selective and find exactly what technology serves your organization the best, even if it is multiple platforms. These software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) tend to be more flexible and scalable. They also offer visibility, better control, and improved analytics.
Any tool you use should free your employees to do strategic, valuable work rather than repetitive tasks. Your technology platform should also be adaptable and have the ability to integrate and grow with existing technology.
Today’s digital workplaces offer employees the ability to work anywhere and on the device of their choice. Yet to ensure your workforce has the technology tools they need, organizations must have the best platforms to meet their employees’ needs and help them be more productive and collaborative.
The nine components for a successful digital workplace platform include:
- Employee experience,
- And more.