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What is an Intelligent Digital Workplace?

Intelligent workplaces are essentially the new and improved digital workplace, or social intranet. 

Remote work has quickly become the preferred way of working over the last few years, especially for large global enterprises. This makes the need to help employees do their jobs more effectively, improve productivity, reduce costs and provide an exceptional customer experience crucial. In fact, these are common goals for organizations seeking sustainable, profitable growth and digital technology will allow you to achieve them.

Intelligent Workplace vs. Digital Workplace

History of intelligent digital workplaces 

Reshaping how employees work is becoming a key competitive advantage, underpinned by rapidly evolving technology. In a modern organization, enterprise collaboration software is at the very heart of this, and the jewel in the crown is an intelligent digital workplace. 

While an intelligent digital workplace has its origins rooted in the simple concept of a corporate intranet, it’s a far cry from the outdated tool which simply shared company information.  Instead, it has the potential to create a paradigm shift in the way people work by empowering employees through bringing together the tools, places, collaboration, culture, and skills employees need to do their best work and serve their customers more effectively.

In addition to this, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, this technology makes use of individual employee data, information and connections to create a personalized employee experience. 

The digital workplace revolution has been happening for some time. Let’s take a look at how workplace technology is changing, as well as the benefits of an intelligent digital workplace.

  • Intranets – Some twenty years ago, organizations started to invest in intranet technology to share corporate news and files. In the early days, this was a one way mechanism for leaders to cascade information, often reinforcing a ‘command and control’ style of leadership.
  • Social Intranets – As traditional hierarchies in the workplace began to break down, organizations began to unpick bureaucratic processes, moving towards developing a more innovative and agile workforce. Alongside this, technology was evolving at a rapid pace and social intranets began to emerge. These were more modern intranet platforms that incorporated social technology, search and sharing capabilities, as well as a communication and collaboration hub that could be easily accessed to get work done.
  • Digital Workplace – Fast forward to the present day, the digital workplace has become the ‘must-have’ tool for many organizations. This type of technology is unique as it can integrate all of the technologies that employees use onto a single portal, from e-mail to instant messaging, enterprise collaboration, crowdsourcing applications, sales tools, HR applications, virtual meeting tools––you name it. Employees no longer struggle with multiple passwords and screens – now, everything they need to do their job is accessible in one place.  Borrowing all the rich features of common social media tools such as liking, commenting, tagging and sharing, digital workplaces make it easy for people to connect in a business setting, cutting across traditional silos and geographies. 
  • Intelligent Digital Workplaces – As we look towards the future, the Digital Workplace is only half the story. Forward-thinking organizations are investing in intelligent digital workplace technology because of its potential to transform the world of work. Powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), the intelligent workplace builds on the digital workplace but makes better use of all of the data, information, and connections that an employee enjoys––more intelligently. 

Empowering the Workforce of the Future through Intelligent Workplace Solutions

Imagine a world where every employee has a digital assistant that is accessible through their intelligent Digital workplace, like a chatbot that they can train and delegate tasks to. The assistant will be able to perform simple work through voice recognition, including adding tasks to a calendar; providing information that would normally be searched in a web browser; making and receiving phone calls or agreeing annual leave with your manager.  It will even be able to anticipate an employee’s needs and make changes to their physical office environment by controlling and checking the status of smart home devices, including lights, cameras and thermostats.

Imagine an office workplace that is streamlined, highly automated, and efficient.  Everyone can easily find any document, which is then easy to archive or print. Every device and app is secure and safe to use at any time.

Sound far-fetched?  Using simple Artificial Intelligence technology, intelligent digital workplaces are already beginning to make this possible through voice-activated search and a connection with Internet of Things devices becoming a reality.  As technology continues to evolve at pace, Intelligent Digital Workplaces will soon include more advanced cognitive computing technologies, allowing a virtual assistant to perform more complex tasks, such as making a plane reservation.  

Benefits of an Intelligent Digital Workplace

Providing an engaging employee experience is crucial in helping companies succeed in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce who are passionate about their customers.  A digital workplace is a powerful way to enable employees to work better and faster, significantly improving their experience at work. 

Add on the ‘Intelligent’ aspect and the benefits to both employees and organizations becomes transformative. It can empower employees to tailor how they manage their work whenever and wherever they are.  For example, an Intelligent digital workplace has the potential to:

  • Deliver the right information to the right employees at the right time.  Documents, files, videos and knowledge that exists in the brains of employees all have a high value. Technology takes away the need for people to remember the information and where to find it. Intelligent digital workplaces offer a quick, efficiency and easy way to communicate and collaborate with your organization. 
  • Leverage machine learning to understand employee’s preferences and needs. In a similar way to how Google can alert you to leave earlier for work because of traffic, employees can receive relevant updates, news, and alerts based on their exact moments in the context of the work task at hand. They can also personalize their dashboards and choose what they want to be notified of. 
  •  Enable significant organizational cost saving and efficiencies.  Creating an environment where every employee has an assistant and is able to become more productive and effective with no long-term costs attached will bring a smile to the face of every corporate Finance Director. 

Conclusion

Organizations must create a work environment that mirrors the consumer-grade digital experiences we have in our personal lives. Companies want to find efficient and innovative ways to harness the power of their workforce so that they can become more productive and efficient.  Employees need to be able to make informed decisions quickly while ensuring a great customer experience.    

An intelligent digital workplace puts innovation in the hands of every worker, taking disparate and siloed applications that commonly don’t speak with each other, bringing them together to provide a simple, interconnected experience.  Using intelligent technologies, it understands the preference of every employee to share information at the right time.

As digital workplaces become “intelligent’, changes to the way people work are accelerating.  Organizations have an unparalleled opportunity to empower and enable their employees in a unique way with an intelligent digital workplace.  

Larraine Solomon

Larraine Solomon

Communications and Change Consultant