Successful digital transformation requires more than innovative, technology-based offerings and solutions. Oliver Schorer, CIO at CHG-MERIDIAN, talks to us about the digital workplace and its benefits.
Oliver Schorer: A digital strategy should enable employees to work more productively and flexibly. They should be able to work from home or on the move, for example, and have fast and secure access to business information and apps. That last point is crucial, as digital transformation requires shorter reaction times and innovation cycles. A greater level of agility is only achievable if a company's workplaces are designed with this in mind.
Schorer: Our experiences vary from sector to sector, and even within the same company. In some companies and sectors, the desktop PC is still highly valued. Except when you look at it from the perspectives of different generations – younger employees in almost all companies are more likely to prefer working with a smartphone and a laptop. But it is not just about the IT devices. Efficient, digital processes and service models are equally important. They must allow employees to process information quickly and efficiently, ideally in a way that they are familiar with through personal use. That is why each employee should have a say in the design of their mobile workplace and which apps and devices it includes.
Oliver Schorer, Chief Information Officer of CHG-MERIDIAN, a technology service provider, knows what companies need to look out for in the digital workplace.
Schorer: Outside of work, employees use online platforms to select and order products and services. A similar process should be available at work too. For example, we have developed a solution whereby the employee can order end devices and matching apps and services via a self-service portal, a process they are familiar with outside of work.
Schorer: No, quite the opposite. Departments can specify which hardware – laptops, smartphones, tablets – is made available to employees based on their position and field of work. This ensures that rollout, usability, and service processes, such as applying software updates, are based on standard procedures, thus reducing administrative effort and issues caused by differing hardware and software versions.
Schorer: Yes. We see the combination of business and personal use as an integral element of the digital workplace. This is what we call COPE: Corporate Owned – Personally Enabled. A concept such as COPE allows companies to approve end devices for personal use. These days, personal and business data can easily be kept separate on a smartphone or laptop. When the employer makes an attractive selection of end devices available as part of COPE, users no longer have any incentive to use personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets for work. Shadow IT becomes a thing of the past.
Schorer: You're right; they don't. Many IT specialists are increasingly busy with their company's current digital projects. The obvious solution is to delegate the management of digital workplaces and the self-service portals to an external provider. Such a specialist can take over the entire process if required – from selecting and procuring the devices and software, rolling out the system and operating the self-service portal, to handling the rollback and the certified data deletion at the end of the lifecycle.
Schorer: No. The systems and services offered can be adapted to the user's specific requirements; the user can also add their own requirements to the equation. This increases productivity, as each user will have access to the devices and applications that they need to do their job.
Schorer: It is important to have the management team on board, i.e. the executive board and the departmental heads, but also the HR department. It also requires an approach that involves the employees more. They often already have valuable skills from using such end devices outside of work, and companies should be taking advantage of this. This is where the benefits of the mobile, digital workplace come into play.
Schorer: There are the cost savings in the double-digit percentage range, for example. Employees are more productive and motivated when they can design their workplace according to their requirements. Further benefits include greater flexibility and a better work-life balance. These are important factors when it comes to attracting skilled workers and, more importantly, keeping them.