Users, IT managers and CxO alike all need to fight for the same cause, i.e. that of the digital workspace and the competitive edge it can deliver. The digital age, mobility, business applications and new working methods all imply a new, employee and client-oriented organisation. But companies still have a long way to go yet –  if the results of two surveys by Forbes Insights and BPIfrance Le Lab are anything to go by.    

Attracting and retaining the connected generation (or C-Generation), the need for ever-faster technology refreshes, BYOD policies, supplying mobile apps, empowering users, more extensive, flexible support services and security are among the challenges IT organisations are faced with, according to Benjamin Dreux, mobility expert at Econocom. But in addition to these technological parameters, it is essential for Management to be involved in order to create a truly digital workspace, which is focused on employees and end-clients and conducive to all forms of collaboration.

Digital workplace: where are companies at?

A survey called “The Impact of the Digital Workforce’’ conducted by Forbes Insights with over 2,000 employees lends some interesting insights into companies’ progress in terms of digital transformation. The survey identified three types of company:

  • Traditional workspace: companies that do not (in the opinions of their end-users) provide employees with the technology they need to do their jobs effectively
  • Transitioning workspace: companies that provide the applications employees want and need but don’t yet make them easily accessible.
  • Digital workspace: companies that provide the applications employees want and need, and make them readily accessible anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

Empowering users: the key to a successful workspace

So what are the effects of digital transformation on the company culture? What impact does it have on employees and the company’s competitiveness? Are employees and IT departments on the same wavelength?

Based on the three categories of working environment identified (traditional, transitional and digital), this is what the report revealed:

  • Digital transformation is bringing about a new management environment and culture: “The empowerment of employees—by granting them greater access to the apps they prefer and need to do their job—can create a new equilibrium between IT and users. By empowering employees, companies self-identified as digital leaders are migrating to a business powered by employee initiative and management trust.”
  • Easy access to apps has a significant impact on performance: “companies that make apps available to employees outperform those who don’t. Even more important: companies that make apps available, and highly accessible, significantly outperform.
  • Empowered employees mean improved performance at the enterprise level. “With empowered employees come increases in revenue, cost savings and support of global expansion for the enterprise.”

“There is a misalignment between employees and CIOs on the availability, utility and freedom to use employee technologies in the workplace. This creates a dangerous disconnect that can impact the firm’s performance.”

Read all the findings of the report: ‘’The Impact of the Digital Workforce’’

Company heads are lagging behind in digital transformation

The vast majority of company heads in France are barely midway between traditional and transitional workspace: this is the conclusion of a survey by BPIfrance Le Lab on the digital maturity of managers of small and mid-size (250 - 5,000 employees) companies.

Called “Lack of understanding: managers of small & mid-size companies and digital” (“Histoire d’incompréhension, les dirigeants de PME et ETI face au digital’’), the report identified three manager profiles where digital transformation is concerned: sceptics, beginners and conquerors.

The results of the survey are somewhat alarming: only 10% of managers are conquerors, whilst 52% are beginners and a staggering 38% are sceptics. BPIfrance warns that if something isn’t done soon, a fifth of these companies will go under by 2020.

It therefore includes a series of recommendations in terms of strategy, skills management, change management and collaboration within the ecosystem, using technology as a means and not just an end. For example:

  • Focusing digital transformation on three areas: creating value for the client, making the organisation more agile and working with partners
  • Bringing in new skills to trigger transformation
  • Providing training and support for employees and managers
  • Involving operational teams in decisions, decompartmentalising the organisation
  • Creating a dynamic in the ecosystem in a spirit of co-building with partners, suppliers and clients.

Sources :  Forbes Insights/VMware, BPIfrance Le Lab (In French)