The era of digital transformation has changed the way we work forever.
With the ongoing evolution of cloud-based tools that empower end-users to work anywhere, anytime and on any device, ubiquitous services like Microsoft 365 allow us to develop content, share ideas and communicate with each other in the office and outside of it – all in one platform.
In 2019, it’s clear existing IT systems no longer meet the growing need for flexibility and mobility in the we need to work. Technology now ranks ninth in the top 10 reasons Australian employees will leave their current role, according to Gartner’s 4Q18 Global Talent Monitor report. With more tech-savvy people entering the workforce, they expect to use the same advanced tools they use in their daily lives, and are frustrated to deal with complex legacy systems that are unproductive and inefficient for the work they need to do.
The past models of access and activities restricted to on-premises also continue to unnecessarily prevent employees from being able to work on devices outside of the office, stop them from accessing work and communicating effectively, and stifle future innovation.
In short, we need our IT to be enablers, not disablers in how and when we work.
What the modern workplace represents, then, is a new and more efficient future – one where technology, effective business strategies and people converge to create new processes, foster greater levels of productivity and enable true workforce agility and productivity.
What is the modern workplace?
The modern workplace, also called the digital workplace by industry leaders and technology research firms such as Gartner, is defined as a business strategy designed to boost overall employee agility and engagement through a more consumerised work environment.
In short, it is not just a technology solution, but a methodology encompassing planning, new toolsets, people, and fostering a culture for an all-new approach to work that emphasises flexibility and productivity more than anything else.
The modern workplace approach brings together business decision-makers and IT to champion workforce effectiveness and efficiency by strategically adopting digital transformation trends, changing work models, and accommodating the growing need to connect, collaborate and share growing repositories of information – rather it remain inaccessible and siloed as has in legacy IT.
What actually makes it a ‘modern’ workplace?
Just imagine the traditional workspace for a moment. First things that would come to mind are a physical, on-premise location, probably an office space, with a limited number of work devices with authorised access to the assets and information you need to do your work and meetings.
The problem with this typical setup? Your end-users can’t get what they need to do work if they’re outside of the office, causing unnecessary inefficiency and lost productivity. It also restricts the ability to collaborate with fellow staff and potentially stifles innovation.
This scenario isn’t the only option anymore. Mobile and personal devices can be set up to securely access what you need to do your work, when you need it, at any time or location.
With a larger emphasis on an all-digital way of working, there are a variety of solutions offered by leading vendors and Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Microsoft 365 Business specifically positioned to provide these capabilities. They provide the best productivity tools within one unified platform, multiple licenses to onboard that software onto multiple work devices, and enable for your end-users the level of efficiency, productivity and mobility we need to create, communicate, collaborate and share our work with others.
How does the modern workplace benefit us?
We’re long overdue for a workplace that encourages open collaboration over closed information silos, offers flexible workspaces over unnecessary on-premise restraints, and cultures that foster innovation and teamwork over inefficiency.
The rapid convergence of devices and the move towards cloud-first environments has empowered end-users to be as productive on-the-go on their mobile devices as they are on desktop computers in the office – and more companies are now realising that working anywhere, on any device, at any time is an approach that brings major long-term benefits:
- Access to chat, email, files on any device at any time at any location.
- Business apps, both in the cloud and on-premise, usable in one software platform.
- Built-in identity security through Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Corporate and personal devices with seamless connectivity and user experiences.
- Latest compliance and security tools for constant latest protection against breaches.
The best part of the new wave of modern workplace solutions is that many SaaS options such as Microsoft 365 for Business (which encompasses Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Skype, Teams and more in one software suite) offer additional future-proofing benefits. As specialists in delivering customers modern workplace solutions in the Microsoft ecosystem, here’s a brief break down of the top 4 benefits using tools such as Microsoft 365 for Business:
All-in-one: In the modern workplace, your end-users can use solutions such as Microsoft Teams to simultaneously collaborate and share work assets, schedule new tasks, store files, and edit Microsoft Word documents – all within the same software, and on multiple work devices.
Latest features: These SaaS products are also constantly and automatically updated with new features and bugfixes, without the need for IT to maintain or troubleshoot everything internally.
Future-proof security: Because these solutions are hosted by the broader cloud computing platform of Microsoft Azure, you also get the bonus of proven security that protects assets and data with the latest tech.
Optimised costs: Modern workplace solutions like M365 also offer a future-proof model that lowers total cost of ownership (TCO), eliminate complex licensing and provide more bang for buck. They’re also more accessible for small to medium businesses than ever before with the help of modern workplace partners like MODEX, who are experienced in helping SMBs transition away from legacy IT towards solutions that foster workplace agility and mobility.
Fixed office spaces with devices, apps and files bound to designated work stations or laptops are no longer the only options we have. It’s no surprise the benefits of the modern workplace has gained traction with SMBs – it presents major new opportunities.
The many roadblocks of the modern workplace in 2019
Naturally, with such a rapid shift towards cloud adoption, digitisation and a mobile workforce comes new challenges.
While onboarding all our devices and working with our data in the digital space is now easier thanks to the introduction of the cloud and SaaS software, transitioning over to the modern workplace also carries many potential risks – cost, security, resource wastage – if not done properly or without the right guidance.
Expert service providers are a recommended option for small to medium businesses that are not yet confident in their internal ability and skillset to handle the planning and implementation of their journey towards the modern workplace alone.
The team at MODEX has extensive experience in building communication and collaboration systems to enhance teamwork. Our familiarity with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams can help you build a secure platform for teamwork that makes it easier for all your employees and suppliers to work together by providing insights and tools you can use to:
- Improve teamwork and agility across your entire business
- Bring together teams and resources in one place
- Connect with customers, co-workers, and suppliers seamlessly
- Work anywhere from any device at any time.
This is part one of MODEX’s Modern Workplace series of blogs. Read more about the top 3 considerations you need in building out your Modern Workplace in Part Two here.