Today, we recognize that technology is helping us achieve a workplace transformation. But we’re all too guilty of installing technology in silos, each element responding to a specific business challenge but with little integration.
It builds walls and ties knots in efficiency, as Pearl might say.
And for businesses seeking to build a modern, Shared Workspace with all its benefits of improved wellbeing and productivity, breaking down those silos is one of the greatest challenges.
It’s worth getting it right. For starters, workers really do want more flexibility; as Forbes says:
“This conversation is happening all over America and in many parts of the world. If it hasn’t happened in your organization yet, it probably will.”
- reduce operating costs
- create a better working environment
- deliver a great experience for clients and visitors.
A badly-connected workplace, on the other hand, can suffer high costs, redundant technology, poor ROI and worst of all, create a bad user experience that means the technology is not even used as planned.
So how do you smash the silos?
You need to put connected technology ( see these videos ) firmly at the centre of your business requirements when starting any new workplace project.
Here’s an example.
Busy and Successful Inc decide to deploy best in class meeting room booking technology at their headquarters, complete with advanced room panels that display room occupancy.
- For future meetings, they can now easily find and book space online via an app.
- For last-minute meetings, the room panels show them at a glance what space is available right now.
- Meetings start without delay, because the meeting room booking technology integrates with the in-room control/management system – particularly useful for video conferences.
- It’s easy to identify who’s checked into a room and when – if the room is not occupied within an agreed time slot, it can be automatically be made available again.
- They can track the number of people in the room, to make sure the right space is being used. This has a significant impact on space availability.
This shows the real value in connecting key systems; scheduling and meeting room booking technology, digital signage, in-room control, video conference management and occupancy sensors.
Launching a workspace project is powerful, but it is also complicated. So, how do you do so without creating chaos in your company?
- What are the main space types I need for my employees to work well and engage with colleagues and clients?
- What technologies does each type of space need, so workers can locate the space and work effectively?
- How can I integrate the technology to deliver an end-to-end user experience such as finding a workplace, being able to book it and having collaboration tools available?
- What flexibility do I need to cater for unforeseen future requirements and changes in work activity?
- Do I want my users be able to book resources such as catering, AV and VC in a single transaction?
- What user groups do I need to engage, and which tool set best supports their work? They may need access from a mobile device for successful collaboration.
- What management reports will I get to monitor what’s happening all the way from space utilization to service delivery and visitor handling?
Pick the right partners
Your workplace project can take some valuable tips from other successful technology deployments such as these.
So once you’ve identified your business and operational drivers, the next important task is to choose technology suppliers with a strong commitment to partnership and open systems integration.
This is critical to building your connected workplace today, but even more important to when it comes to future proofing your investment.
Technology is evolving fast to meet the fast pace of change in the workplace – we’re talking mobility, desk booking, home-based working and a recognition that work is now about outputs rather than location.
So what does it look like when you get it wrong?
Confused and Stressed Inc. purchase a workplace management solution that uses a proprietary architecture for everything from its meeting room booking technology and expensive room panels to sensors and wayfinding kit.
Now move ahead in time.
With a strategy that integrates digital signage with the in-room management system, Confused and Stressed Inc. could eventually get rid of desk-based sensors and room panels.
But because they’re locked into a proprietary workplace management solution, they are forced to start again.
It costs a lot – in investment and in disruption to the business.
A solution based on open Application Programming Interface (API) technology would enable Confused and Stressed Inc. to replace elements of their technology solution and create a new fit-for-purpose solution.
It could be half the price of starting again.
So how does an open technology make a difference?
- To respond to trends, today’s sophisticated workplace requires many different types of technology to work together.
- Open API-based technology gives you the opportunity to select and integrate software that’s right for your company.
Consider these 5 critical points when choosing partners:
Avoid closed architectures where critical elements of the solution are
controlled by a single vendor
Ensure the technology provider has a robust API and is willing to make
this available to partners involved in the project
Make sure all partners are committed to enhance the API if necessary for current and future business and operational requirements — this may need to be funded
To future proof the overall solution, make sure key parties in the solution have a partner-centric reputation – ask for proof
Don’t be swayed by: “This could be done in the future”. If there’s no “gateway” into the solution or data, it will simply not happen.
Above all, make sure you select a provider who embraces the consultative
approach – in fact, a trusted advisor rather than just a provider.
A consultant of this kind is able to ask the deep, functional, non-functional, cultural and sometimes confronting questions, that ACTUALLY identify your genuine client needs – and those that will need addressing in the longer term.
Connecting your workplace will always be an evolving process, continuing to change as the needs of your business and your employees develop. Make sure your chosen technology advisor is every bit as flexible.
* Find your trusted advisor and begin connecting your workplace today – request a demo today!