The digital, connected workplace is the future of business. It’s not just about cutting-edge technologies that promise a future-proof environment, though, it’s about the benefits to your people. A more flexible workplace with unified communication tools means your staff can work together better, feel motivated when they manage projects effectively and rewarded with the flexibility that remote working provides. When your people are happy, your business thrives. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
It’s not always as straightforward as that, however. A connected workplace needs to be unified from the inside, out. You can empower your people to work together seamlessly across continents with high-end business mobility, you can instil a positive culture that promotes teamwork not silos, but the infrastructure that sits behind your workplace practices and your business data needs be just as well connected.
So, how do businesses connect their data as well as their workforce and their communications? The answer is in managed cloud services.
What is a connected workplace?
From consolidated communication technology that connects people across multiple devices, intelligent IT to manage and improve workflows and productivity, through to a secure and robust Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy, the connected workplace is a product of the cloud, and the Internet of Things ecosystem.
Some companies use smart technology to collect workplace data. This can help them establish which work spaces are underused or understand how staff are managing their time. While it can cause controversy, this valuable data provides a deeper understanding of operations, processes, systems and helps optimise workplace budgets and real estate.
Everyone is the IT department
Transforming the office into a connected workplace has a profound effect on the IT department, moving it up the food chain from operational to strategic. The most forward-thinking, digitally successful enterprises have a CTO or CIO that sits on the board, influencing high-level decisions on how technology will enable a more productive business and a healthier bottom line.
“The IT department has to get out of the basement and into the boardroom.”
We discussed the concept of the digital workplace with Martyn Croft — former CIO of the Salvation Army. “The whole organisation has to be much more technologically aware,” He explained. “But what it the role of the IT department, then? You don’t need one anymore. My favourite phrase is we have to be device agnostic. The IT department has to get out of the basement and into the boardroom.”
Technology investment, innovation and strategic planning needs to happen throughout the business, so ensure you involve key decision makers across the organisation.
From on-premises to the cloud
How do digitally connected businesses manage their data, then? Traditionally this involves physical servers that demand office space, costly racks, power supplies, cooling systems and manpower to manage them. For some businesses with unique data compliance challenges, this solution works best. On-premises data centres are tangible, you can reach out and touch them. You are wholly responsible for your critical information. Your data doesn’t leave the four walls of your business.
But what happens when your business scales outside of those four walls? In an increasingly global landscape, more enterprises are expanding their workforce across multiple locations, giving their staff more remote capabilities and freeing them to work from their choice of location. As the world becomes smaller – technically and economically – more people work together globally than ever before.
The cloud offers a streamlined means of centralising your data and information. It gives all your workforce access to the same data and systems, so information sharing and collaboration isn’t just a mindset, it’s a process.
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The right information at the right time
So, why does a connected workplace need connected data? Unified communication tools ensure your people are talking to each other, collaborating more effectively on projects, and providing an enhanced worker experience. Isn’t that enough?
If your back-end infrastructure is static or manually-heavy, your business can never be as agile as it needs to be. If your data storage is disjointed, what happens if there is an outage or failure? Disaster recovery planning is futile if your information is insufficiently audited and managed. Your people need access to the right information at the right time.
Deploying a managed cloud service or infrastructure ensures your information transmission is always seamless. From sharing basic files to mission-critical backup, your data is connected no matter where your people are located. To present yourself as digitally transformed, innovative enterprise that attracts the best people for the job, you’ve got to be connected on the inside, as well as out.