The Digital Workplace?

Leading intranets

The digital workplace is nothing new — it’s been around for several decades. As long as you use at least one app or digital tool (most of us use dozens), you have a digital workplace.

Don’t let the consultants and sales reps fool you: the digital workplace is not an intranet on steroids, or a replacement of an intranet; or the next great enterprise portal, nor is it SharePoint. The digital workplace describes a workplace of digitally interconnected tools used to get work done. It’s that simple. And yet, that complex.

Digital Workplace Definition

Many will claim to be the first to use or define the “digital workplace.” Consultants love to clamor to be the “first” to coin a phrase or a combination of words that have been in existence for dozens of years. The reality is the digital workplace has existed for dozens of years; it’s present at all of our respective workplaces. I first heard the phrase in 2002 when IBM referred to their internal, online environment as the digital workplace.

The digital workplace is not a piece of software or a platform, or a replacement for the intranet. It includes the intranet and all your digital tools. We’ve all had a digital workplace for decades, the label however is new.

“The digital workplace is how people get work done these days – using the sum total of all digital tools used in the workplace, including the intranet.”

Sadly, there are some horrific consultant-speak definitions of the digital workplace that are, in fact, not a definition but rather marketing. One dreadful consultant definition actually says the digital workplace is an ‘approach’ to “a consumer-like computing environment that is better able to facilitate innovative and flexible working…”

Super consultant speak.

Another vendor defines the digital workplace as a “… disruptive value-added differentiating element in a highly competitive market…”

Yikes.

The word “definition” is defined in the dictionary as:

“A statement that explains the meaning of a word or phrase” and is “definite, distinct, or clear.” 

This is not always the case with sales reps and consultants looking to sell you software or a service.

Needless to say, the definition varies depending on the consultant or salesperson. I was quoted recently at a conference presentation: “the digital workplace is how people get work done these days – using the sum total of all digital tools used in the workplace, including the intranet, enterprise portals, team sites, email, CRM, ERP, and any other acronym relating to the digital environment.”

Continue reading: Digital Workplace or Intranet?

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