Workplace digitalisation driving office innovation

The work office is increasingly adopting mainstream digital solutions to enhance staff communication and productivity, which is creating fertile ground for start-ups able to deliver solutions in this space. With the UK’s capital city especially open to pioneering technologies, London corporate finance is set to play a major role in developing the migration of the workplace towards greater internal interconnectivity.

Telecom services popular among consumers and technological strategies typically utilised by businesses externally are increasingly entering the office environment, helping to nurture a revolution in the digital workplace. Both large and small businesses are turning to platforms such as crowdsourcing, social media and mobile applications to broaden internal collaboration, improve access to information and ultimately expand productivity. In essence, the workplace is becoming a digital organism that benefits from a freer flow of information and better-connected employees.

A challenge for businesses, especially large corporations, is often an organic process that divides departments into stand-alone silos with limited strategic and creative collaboration. Indeed, skills that can crossover job titles can be underused due to poor communications or limited platforms for company-wide initiatives. Having recognised this, chief executives are increasingly adopting internal digital communities. German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom, for example, utilised a crowdsourcing tool to derive key performance indicators from its global staff network in early 2013.

The enhanced affordability and processing capability of wireless handheld devices, as well as growing access to high-speed mobile broadband, are factors that are rapidly increasing the appeal of mobile devices as fully integrated data-accessible work tools. This has been most reflected by the surging bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market, set to reach $181 billion in value globally by 2017, according to trade sources. Enterprises integrating employees’ devices into company IT infrastructure can benefit from out-of-work-hours staff productivity and their ability to perform sales or similar transactions while working remotely. Globalisation has largely decentralised corporate functions and mobile data is set to activate the next phase of business flexibility.

However, some challenges remain for digitalising the workplace.

Inherent traditionalism and distrust of employees among some chief executives, who can be anxious in releasing their control levers over communications and feedback, can post a barrier to liberal workplace tools such as crowdsourcing and social media. While progressive telecom companies have typically been the first to initiate internal digital processes, traditional segments such as finance and the public sector are fearful of security breaches and public relations leaks that online communities and work devices can cause. The cost of wholesale digital processes during a period of global economic uncertainty is another potential factor that can disrupt the implementation of internal telecom tools. Especially since the cost benefits of digital internal interaction can be difficult to quantify.




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