What Are the Requirements of Today’s Digital Workspace and How Do You Make It Happen?
Building a digital foundation is more important than ever and you may have found that your organisation has been forced to accelerate its digital journey, to overcome the challenges COVID-19 has presented. But, it’s important to ask yourself what has been done and what still needs to be considered?
In the following blog, we’ll be looking at the challenges and requirements of a digital workspace, as well as questions you should be asking yourself to help build your digital workspace strategy.
Building a Digital Workspace
As the digital workspace continues to transform entire industries, organisations can adapt to new ways of connecting to both employees and information.
Despite all the conversations about the digital workspace, it remains challenging for IT leaders to plan for the changes required to make it a reality. Many of the skills, tools, and processes used today are based on 20-year-old, PC-based technology. A new approach is needed to make a digital workspace strategy successful.
The requirements for a digital workspace solution start with the employees as adoption is most likely the end goal. This is the most fundamental shift in IT planning. Although it may sound simple, it requires a different way of thinking and the development of new skills. While yesterday’s tools and processes revolved around devices, they missed the critical connection of how an individual employee moves between devices throughout their workday. To capture the complete experience, IT must consider:
- How do employees learn about new applications?
- How intuitive is the process when using the app for the first time?
- Is the process different depending on the device or location?
- Does the app require access to other apps or services, like cameras or local files?
- When changes are made to the app, does it improve or hurt its usage and adoption?
- Is the application or its data stored in a public cloud or on-premise?
The Requirements for a Digital Workspace
The increased use of company-owned and personally owned devices to access information and conduct business has led to the development of a set of requirements that will help organisations plan and implement their digital workspaces. The details underlying each requirement will be unique to your organisation, but each requirement must be met.
Putting employee experience as the first requirement for a digital workspace is not a simple nod to keeping employees in mind as you go about the business of delivering IT. Instead, building a strong design culture around the employee experience is critical to meet the demands of your organisation, as well as the ability to secure data. If lines of business, teams and individuals believe that IT gets in the way and slows them down, employees will avoid adopting the tools and services designed to protect them.
The next critical requirement is the ability to deliver any application through the digital workspace experience.
“Any application, anytime, anywhere” is a big ask. It doesn’t just mean the latest mobile app on an Android or Apple device, but the 12-year-old Windows app, internally developed Java-based apps that no longer have an internal owner, or the old Excel app with macros that don’t work in recent versions of the program. It also means web apps delivered internally through complex and ever-changing VPN tools, or SaaS apps accessible from anywhere, but with passwords no one can remember.
You can’t deliver an employee experience if you can’t deliver all of the applications they need to get their job done. As soon as you begin to have caveats about what works some of the time, depending on how you are trying to connect, employees will go back to fending for themselves and avoiding IT for new apps.
Device management is based on the now universal trend that modern operating systems need to be updated on demand, anywhere, from the cloud. This is in an effort to manage billions of devices at scale and ensure application compatibility for developers.
There is no question that, soon, every enterprise-managed or personally owned device accessing corporate data will be connected to a management platform. The question is, when?
Many organisations have heavily invested in years of tools, skills and processes revolving around domain and image-based management of PCs and Macs. We believe device management is a necessary requirement for the digital workspace; it’s the only way to deliver consistent experiences in a perimeter-less work environment by having real-time context of the devices used to access the apps and data employees need to do their best work. Device management helps secure access management so there is only one app and one place to go. It also ensures unified endpoint management for a consistently great user experience that is also highly secure.
Next, ensure that all their apps are accounted for, and leverage modern device management to make sure you can deliver and protect those apps across all endpoints and locations. However, IT can’t proactively drive successful experiences if they can’t measure the adoption of these experiences. This is where insights come in.
IT has never been in an ideal position to track the adoption and usage of applications across devices. Sure, you can run reports and try to look back through historical data, but these tend to be one-off efforts that look at the past with a hit-or-miss approach based on what information is available across disparate platforms. True insights from data are gained from the ability to spot patterns and trends, identify potential gaps in experience or security and make recommendations for change.
Having visibility and even control of this new digital workspace environment is fantastic, but with more devices, more apps and more threats, the digital workspace becomes increasingly complex.
To handle the scale of a digital workspace, automation is critical, whether onboarding a new employee or device, deploying apps, serving up patches and updates, or automating remediation steps to assure an employee’s device is compliant with policy. These all must be achieved without generating tickets that require administrators or application owners to take manual actions. Automation assures that operational costs are minimised and removes gaps that could result from inconsistently applying security policies or leaving devices in noncompliant states for too long.
IT leaders need to lead the charge toward a more efficient, user friendly and secure digital environment. Taking the right steps now — examining and incorporating the five requirements discussed here — will help to ensure the likelihood that employees will adopt new apps and adhere to new IT policies that are put in place now and in the future.