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The year of the cloud: The enterprise digital workplace in 2019


In 2019, enterprises are doing more than just migrating to the cloud. For many, this is the year they adopt a fully digital workplace.

According to Gartner, 47% of CEOs said they are being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business—and this enterprise-wide focus on digital is being felt by CIOs across industries. But for these leaders, it can be difficult to pinpoint what fully realized digital transformation looks like in the immediate future.

Although a fundamental change to operations has far-reaching applications, there are several specific digital workplace efficiencies worth noting in greater detail. As enterprises increase investments in digital workplace technologies, they can expect several important transformations in 2019:

Ability to scale

As organizations grow, their technology needs evolve. A fully digital workplace allows businesses to grow and scale with a pay-as-you-go model that puts the enterprise in control. Installing stronger, cloud-based software will encourage manageable enterprise growth at every level in 2019.

In terms of storage, performance and information management, legacy software cannot compete with the cloud. Beyond the increased efficiencies that come with a fully digital workplace, cloud solutions enable organizations to scale quickly. Cloud solution providers automatically scale the number of servers required (up or down), giving enterprises the flexibility to grow and evolve while continuing to provide first-rate support to customers.

Cloud computing offers slowly transitioning or high-security enterprises scalable space for certain data processing tasks, while keeping control of data on-premises with an internal IT team. The space and services are available when needed, meaning enterprises only pay for what they use depending on seasons, demand, projects, etc. In this way, significant investments in new processing hardware are avoided and the organization takes a critical step into the digital workplace. As key stakeholders become comfortable with the technology, a fully digital workplace can be more easily achieved.

Mobility

A recent study revealed that 70% of professionals work remotely at least once a week. Whether or not enterprises encourage off-premise workers, remote work is a trend that will continue to increase. For employees that work remotely, travel frequently or operate from global satellite offices, access to company assets presents a critical requirement.

A fully digital workplace facilitates remote workflows. Regardless of where an employee sits, an open environment that provides easy access to information and assets is necessary to improve efficiencies as the business grows—and it is only possible with a transition to the cloud. A centralized, web-accessible repository for assets allows information to be shared and stored with minimal effort. Employees no longer spend valuable time searching through outdated and disconnected document management systems. Instead, assets are organized and optimized for specific locations, titles and projects.

As enterprises grow and expand geographically, a digital workplace with digital asset management makes onboarding simpler. Instant access to company-wide standards, branded documents and other necessary assets are available on an employee’s first day, no matter where they are located.

Fully digital cloud architecture also untethers access from enterprise infrastructure. Assets in the cloud can be found and shared from any device and in any location. This significantly widens the hiring pool and allows for the recruitment of top-tier talent from any location with internet access.

Employee experience

Mobile, modern employees require a fully digital employee experience that extends from their day-to-day tasks to their IT problems. Cloud-based systems fix broken communication processes that lead to employees feeling unheard by their internal IT departments. When employees encounter pain points in their daily tasks that are not solved quickly and efficiently, their experience suffers. Slow response times to common IT issues is one of the main reasons employees leave—and in a candidate-driven market, retention is critical. Enterprises can’t afford to suffer from high turnover rates due to broken processes.

When IT departments modernize with the cloud, employees benefit. Cloud-based and fully connected IT service platforms allow employees and technicians to communicate seamlessly, even when away from their desks. Rather than relying on slow servers and legacy systems, the cloud-based service platform operates efficiently and is ready when needed. When employees feel heard and supported their experience is positive, their work improves and they are less likely to part ways with the enterprise.

Sustainable compliance

As the workplace evolves digitally, so does the risk of non-compliance. With legislation and data security protocols constantly changing, keeping track of compliance issues will continue to be a critical business practice in 2019.

Compliance issues mediated with ad hoc digital tools and spreadsheets are not sustainable. To keep pace with business growth and the subsequent increase in data, enterprises are pursuing cloud-based governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) software solutions. GRC software’s transition to the cloud has made it easy for customers to access all the necessary auditing and risk management capabilities at any point in time. 

Taking compliance solutions to the next level means implementing an enterprise-wide solution for dynamic changes in risk management. This includes automatic updates to compliance-related digital assets, like legal disclaimers. It also includes transforming a formerly complex task into something employees at all levels can complete. Risk management teams can create compliant text templates and tools for employees to use when creating documents and contracts, freeing up time for compliance managers to complete higher-value tasks.

With cloud-based GRC solutions, rolling out updates to specific departments or to the entire enterprise when mergers and acquisitions, major updates or new legislation are introduced is an easy task. This level of control differentiates and elevates risk management in the digital workplace from previous workplaces. Only 13% of U.S. firms believe they are fully compliant with the GDPR and over 50% are unsure what the GDPR means for their enterprises. But with cloud-based GRC solutions, not only is there limited to no external IT involvement (since templates and assets are accessible through the cloud), but access controls and permissions are understandable and customizable. Compliance teams can easily filter access to certain assets according to location, user profile or job title. Employees view content on a need-to-know basis, meaning they only see and access assets, templates and elements that are relevant to them—a major component of the GDPR.

The value of digital workplaces

A fully digital transformation can seem intimidating for enterprises at any level. And migrating to the cloud, which requires moving data from physical servers to a data center, is no small task. Digital workplace transformations involve significant change management considerations as well as the potential for unforeseen roadblocks, like data loss and workflow disruptions.

Like any major change, the digital workplace will have its challenges. But for enterprises looking to innovate in 2019, a fully digital workplace presents far more advantages than disadvantages. Beyond the potential to improve the security, scalability and mobility of the workplace and workflow, digital transformations eliminate the need for enterprises to maintain workplace platforms themselves. Letting go of this burden and allowing cloud solution providers to handle resource-heavy tasks means companies free up time to focus on more valuable business activities.

Trust in the digital future takes time. But businesses who fail to keep up with changes in 2019 risk being left behind at an accelerating pace. Technology and cloud-solutions are continually evolving, and the sooner enterprises take the next steps toward adopting them, the sooner they can implement updates and even newer technologies with ease.


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