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What is the Modern Workplace – Developing a Strategy

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The all-too-familiar SharePoint experiences mentioned in the first part of this two part series are great examples of how many organizations are struggling with change. The challenge for most companies who want to move toward the modern workplace is finding a balance between flexibility and control.

Developing Your Digital Workplace Strategy

Having a strategy in place for a rapidly evolving IT landscape is just one piece of your plan, and it should include details on how to better align your core technology platforms (SharePoint, Office 365, CRM, ERP, etc) with your business processes, how people will access and use the platform, the life-cycles of critical content types and how they are stored as the volume and complexity of data created by your business grows — among other considerations. You’ll need governance policies in place (the boundaries of your system), as well as the tools and processes to manage expected (and unexpected) changes.

Your plans must also account for all of the features and capabilities that Microsoft is releasing on a regular basis. As the SharePoint market has matured and organizations have started to look to the cloud or to hybrid solutions, your plans must also encompass other workloads, such as OneDrive, Teams, Planner, PowerBI, PowerApps, Flow and more.

On top of these Microsoft offerings, end users are also demanding IT support for third-party solutions and services, most of which can be purchased and somewhat integrated with your other enterprise applications outside of the purview of your IT team. There is much to consider.

Making a Real Transformative Change

One key message that definitely carries over from the SharePoint world into the modern workplace is the answer to the question “What tool, platform, or best practice should I use?”

The answer, of course, is “It depends.”  There is no single system, tool, or platform that is “the” answer, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. Unfortunately, figuring out the answer for your own organization is really, really hard. That’s why so many organizations opt for the incremental improvement over the transformative change. As the saying goes, “Change is hard.” But I would argue that transformational change is even harder. It requires you to get a handle on what is available, what your organization needs, and what your culture requires to be successful.

It also requires a strong change management process — because change management is the key to identifying where integrations can and should happen between tools and systems and people, how they should happen, and the benefits of these changes.

Successful change requires active communication. Make it crystal clear to your end users the priority, expected delivery, and ongoing status of their feature and solution requests. Communicate to them that no platform is ever static — but an ongoing list of priorities and discussions that continually moves forward. Have a process defined and in place to capture their feedback and requests. Transparency and communication are key. When people are communicating, needs and priorities become clearer, gaps are more quickly identified and solutions built, and productivity is optimized.

One lesson I’ve learned again and again throughout my career is that the more you involve people in the process, the more likely they are to accept the end result. Building a successful modern workplace all comes down to culture, and specifically, a culture of trust between management, IT, and end users. When people can see and participate first-hand in the change process, they’re better able to recognize the value of granular improvements — and are then more willing to work toward your renewed focus on not just individual needs, but enterprise-wide transformation.

Over to you

Implementing automated tools into your workplace is a big step towards modernizing your work environment. Rencore’s automated SharePoint customization solutions secure, modernize and govern your SharePoint environment. browse our products to find out more!

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Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, consulting CMO and researcher, and the Founder and CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent analyst and technical marketing services company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.