There’s been a dramatic shift to remote work in the last few years. Most companies weren’t ready for it and were left scrambling to set up VPNs to protect company data or devise ways for employees to collaborate online. Some companies were ready. They’d already set up a digital workspace to support their employees by offering the same working experience and access to applications and data as if they were still in the office.
They had a cohesive set of software tools and backend infrastructure that unified their data and systems to provide employees with a secure way to work on any device, from any location. Even if it was just a partial digital workspace, employees could still do most of their work. And the IT team was able to put in the additional tech pieces easily and efficiently without disrupting operations.
Digital workspaces are a flexible technology setup that is becoming necessary for today’s modern businesses. Keep reading to learn more about them and how they can transform your business.
What is a digital workspace?
Defining the digital workspace
Before we get into things, let’s take a quick look at the difference between a digital workspace and digital workspace. The terms are often used interchangeably but have subtle differences.
What is a digital workplace?
A digital workplace is the concept of a business using digital transformation to align its technology, employees, and business processes. The transformation is meant to improve the company’s operational efficiency and help it meet organisational objectives. It’s more of a broad term that encompasses the people, technology, services, and physical space (if relevant.)
What is a digital workspace?
A digital workspace is the technology framework or strategy designed to deliver and manage application, data, and desktop delivery to a company and its employees. The workspace allows employees to access their applications and data in real-time, on any device, from any location, and no matter where the data or application is located.
The digital workplace is more conceptual, while the digital workspace is the tangible or usable representation of the workplace that provides a unified, contextual, and secure experience for IT teams and end-users.
So, strictly speaking, a digital workplace initiative would lay out the plan to replace paper processes with digital workflows. The digital workspace takes that idea and implements it with a combination of records management software to manage the ingestion of the data and the database connected on the backend to handle the storage for it. Other examples include efficient information management tools like cloud file sharing, single-sign on (SSO) options, digital team collaboration tools like instant messaging to increase productivity, and more.
In this article, we’ll use the term digital workspace.
What is digital workplace transformation?
More than just introducing new technology or replacing technology in your business, digital workplace transformation is the process of integrating technology into every part of your business. It revolutionises how your company and its employees deliver value to customers by adapting processes to new technologies, replacing outdated technology with new, and shifting your company culture to be more customer-focused.
How does a digital workspace transform a business?
Digging deeper, a digital workspace can transform both the technology supporting a business and the people using it every day. A well-planned digital workspace strategy integrates the technologies employees use daily to break down communication, information, and collaboration barriers between employees and teams. These technologies deliver a better work experience aligned to the expectations of the modern employee who wants to work in non-traditional ways, like fully remote or hybrid. No matter their choice, a digital workspace allows them to work efficiently and effectively because they’ve got the right technology infrastructure to support them along the way.
The benefits of a digital workspace
Digital workspaces can benefit today’s companies in several key areas.
A better employee experience
The digital workspace transforms the employee experience because it enables the flexible work styles today’s employees expect. Remote knowledge workers can get access to every application they need, from legacy company-specific ones to cloud apps like Microsoft 365, whether they’re working on a laptop at home or in a coworking space, or on an IoT device inside a corporate warehouse. For example, the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (NCL CCG) uses a digital workspace to give healthcare workers secure access to critical NHS applications and offer remote working capabilities for General Practitioners.
Shifting tasks from paper or manual to digital processes is another way to improve the employee experience with a digital workspace. People will spend less time on administrative or labour-intensive tasks, lean on automation or machine learning to optimise processes, and spend more time on high-value tasks that are more relevant to their role and the company.
The flexibility to choose the technology your company needs
A digital workspace strategy makes it easy for companies to integrate new technologies and approaches without worrying about security, a compromised user experience, or breaking a process. RIBA Enterprises upgraded its digital workspace to unify its existing infrastructure, telephony, and business applications with more modern offerings.
Their old setup was unable to cope with the increased demands of their expanding company as they dealt with degraded quality of service, increased rental costs, and too much administrative work. Moving to the newer technologies also future-proofed RIBA’s tech stack by giving them the confidence to scale it up for future growth and development as needed.
Reduced operational effort and costs
The flexibility of the digital workspace also helps companies downsize their physical footprint by enabling more cloud-based and collocated applications and solutions. Downsizing also reduces operational costs and maintenance effort since these solutions often offer per licence or usage billing and the staff to maintain it all.
Enhanced security and data protection
Digital workspaces improve company security through transparent views of network traffic, users, files, endpoints, devices, etc. Machine learning and AI features built into the digital workspace solutions offer additional protection by identifying threats and risks long before they become an issue. The newer applications and solutions of a digital workspace make it easier for IT teams to stay ahead of internal and external threats and keep you safe from hacks, malware, and end-user threats.
A digital workspace makes it easy to automatically manage user groups and access privileges while protecting your data. For example, the IT team could automatically manage access to necessary applications for contractors or temporary workers through predefined parameters set up in their user profiles. That way, they’re automatically restricted from sensitive data without unnecessary work by the IT team, and they’re able to work on Day 1. Your IT team can be confident about letting all employees use the apps they know and love but in a controlled, secure work environment.
What does a digital workspace look like?
Each business will have a custom set of software applications and supporting infrastructure to offer a cohesive and secure digital workspace. Your choices should enable high productivity, communication, and collaboration while being flexible enough to allow for future growth and expansion. You can outline your requirements in a digital workspace strategy before implementing it to ensure you cover every use case you may encounter.
- Virtual desktops provide employees with a familiar computing environment, on any device, in a secure way. Perfect for legacy applications that are still deployed on-premise or in a colocated data centre.
- Multiple connectivity options give employees access to the applications and data they need to work no matter through secure remote access or single sign-on (SSO.) Even if they’re using a cloud app, they’ll know they’re accessing it through a secure, encrypted connection, giving them the confidence that they’re protecting sensitive data from hackers and outside influence.
- Collaboration tools help teams meet, interact, and share work and information with each other and customers if needed. These tools are designed for the digital workspace and make it easy for people to share information, chat, and talk in a way that suits your business and employees.
- Cloud-based productivity tools like Microsoft 365 empower employees with everything they need to do their work, from email to cloud storage, information sharing and video conferencing tools. They’re easy to integrate into a digital workspace securely and are accessible in multiple ways so employees can always use them.
- Cybersecurity is easier because of the unified endpoint security management options a digital workspace offers. It brings together all devices, systems, identities, and accounts into one management console for proactive detection, analysis, and response to cyber threats.
The original digital workspace began by providing remote or unified access to applications and data. But modern business has moved beyond that. Today’s workers and employees are constantly toggling between apps and tasks, data sources, and connected devices.
Supporting their needs is challenging for businesses if they’re not prepared to deploy a digital workspace that can handle your past, enable your present, and prepare for your future. When implemented correctly, your business can harness the benefits of the digital workspace to grow faster and more efficiently while creating a great work environment for employees.
If you’re wondering how to implement a digital workspace for your business, contact us today. We’ll improve your business efficiency and productivity today while setting you up for success in the future with a custom digital workspace.