Through time and space: How to work smart

  • Published: August 30, 2016
  • Categories: Smart working, MagentaOne Business
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Do you work smart? This is one of the most important questions that companies have to ask themselves. A smart working concept not only appeals strongly to applicants, it is also one of the main strategies to prepare your company for the challenges of the digital world.

Let’s have a look at some facts:

  • Nearly 40 percent of organizations don’t have a well-defined unified communication and collaboration (UCC) strategy.[1]
  • Nearly one in three IT departments sees moving UCC to the cloud as the most important technology trend affecting its collaboration strategy.[2]
  • IT service providers are the main driving force in the conception of new workplace and mobility concepts.[3]

Higher revenues and lower costs: These are the main business goals of almost every company. Ways to accomplish this include greater agility, more productive employees, better relationships with partners, and increased customer loyalty. The key to achieving at least some of these goals is a digital transformation strategy with a strong collaboration aspect.

It is well known that employee motivation is the driving force behind a company’s success and power of innovation – and one thing that hugely motivates employees is a pleasant and modern workplace. This is one of the reasons why smart working is on the rise. With task-centered technologies, innovative workspaces, and flexible worktime models, a new working world is emerging.

Break with the centralist office culture
This new working world represents a shift away from the traditional workstation and towards more open and versatile workspaces. Flexibility with regard to a job’s location and work hours goes hand in hand with this development. The office of the future is therefore no longer a closed space but can incorporate participants all over the world. Flexibility and greater distances between employees make excellent communication the most important tool of collaboration.

Corporate culture needs to change
Smart working helps to bridge these greater distances. To use it efficiently, however, certain conditions must be fulfilled. These can be divided into strategic, organizational, and technical requirements. In most companies, a radical shift in corporate culture is needed so that employees become more willing to share their knowledge and resources. The management must set a good example and show that “turf wars” are neither necessary nor appropriate for each individual’s success.

Additionally, reluctance towards the new collaboration tools must be overcome. The management must raise awareness for the new techniques and offer regular training sessions. Unified communications, videoconferencing, and group collaboration tools are just a few examples of the many smart tools that need to be introduced to employees. Letting employees contribute to the decisions on which tools to use can also be a smart move.

Cloud-based collaboration
One of the cloud’s unique selling points is its ability to grant any person anywhere access to it, as long as they have a working Internet connection. No wonder, then, that clouds are considered a huge trend in smart working concepts. The “Connected Enterprise Report” by Dimension Data shows that moving collaboration into the cloud via hosted services, adopting collaboration-as-a-service, and transferring communication and collaboration into the cloud using private data centers are the three most popular collaboration strategy trends. Sustainability, costs, and low administrative burdens are the main reasons for this.

A joint effort between business and IT experts
The selection, purchase, and implementation of collaboration and communication technology are traditionally tasks for the IT department. After all, they have the technical expertise to support the software and the budget to buy it. Increasingly, however, the management also wants to have a say in the decisions made. This is not a bad idea, as managers are much more familiar with how workers in their departments interact with each other. Therefore, they can identify which collaboration tools would most improve their workflow. Ideally, IT departments and managers of companies’ different business areas should work hand in hand to identify the best collaboration instruments and to implement them efficiently.

Step-by-step improvements
Even small businesses without large IT departments or special know-how in workplace and mobility concepts can make their way of working smarter. Instead of deploying a holistic smart working strategy that affects all areas of the company, they can optimize and digitize certain areas or units one step at a time. Find out where to start and how to do this in our upcoming articles.

[1] 2016 Connected Enterprise Report, Dimension Data
[2] 2016 Connected Enterprise Report, Dimension Data
[3] The Adaptive Workplace, Crisp Research

Author: Janusz Figurski Deutsche Telekom, Business Marketing Europe, Communication and Collaboration Deutsche Telekom
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