Ask The Expert: How do I get started on modernising my workplace?

As we fast approach the two-year mark since Covid first hit the headlines, for many businesses the enforced wave of digital transformation signals only the start of their IT modernisation journey.

Reliance on technology sky-rocketed during the lockdown months and there has undoubtedly been a fundamental shift in the role of technology within organisations.

Now businesses have a taste for the potential and capabilities technology offers, they’re hungry for more.

But modernising the workplace is not solely about IT, it’s also about people.

After all, technology is implemented to improve people’s experience (namely customers, and employees) and how they perceive and embrace technology is the key to unlocking success.

What do we mean by modernising the workplace?

Modernising is essentially a form of problem-solving, whereby every process and experience in your organisation is reviewed and improved to adapt to the modern era.

This includes everything from how your business operates to how you store data; how you communicate with customers to how productive your workforce is.

Given that there is so much ground to cover, the prospect of modernising your workplace can seem overwhelming, and many business leaders don’t know how or where to start.

As with any large-scale project, you need to first identify the priorities, pain points and goals.

This can only be achieved by asking the right questions and the most important ones tend to start with “why”.

Why ask why?

Business leaders need to identify why they are looking to adopt technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or automation.

Too often, leaders fall into the trap of chasing the latest trends or cut corners to make cost savings.

First, you should consider how your organisation is already providing value to customers and then address how technology can help to optimise that value.

It’s all in the embrace

It’s important to acknowledge that often the reason many young and powerful companies find success is often because they are not afraid to fully embrace technology.

Unburdened by legacy systems and historic processes, they are arguably in a better position to adopt new technologies.

Meanwhile, existing industry leaders fall privy to the attitude of “this is how things have always been done”.

In order to truly reimagine their business and modernise their workplace, leaders must first be willing to embrace change.

Find the gaps

Assessing the current IT strategy, technologies and security will help you identify any gaps and space for improvements.

Business leaders should be asking questions with the overall strategy, productivity, and people in mind.

The first question leaders should address is, “what is the potential loss, risk or cost of not modernising your workplace?”.

Are your employees spending time carrying out time-consuming tasks that could be automated?

What are the areas of your business that employees feel could be improved? Perhaps staff have frustrations about communication methods, difficulty in finding data or the most recent version of a document?

Are there opportunities to improve your levels of customer engagement and service? If so, what are they and how could technology improve this?

Are you maximising the capabilities of your existing technology stack or subscription services?

These are just a handful of questions that business leaders should be asking themselves and their teams, answer these and you have the foundation of your IT roadmap.

What is an IT roadmap?

Typically, an IT roadmap includes details of the desired technologies, timeframes per project, and estimated costs.

The most effective roadmaps are those that are detailed, flexible, scalable, and well communicated.

The beauty of a roadmap is that it gives clear guidance for your IT team to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to advancing your organisation’s technology and software suite, so the more attention to detail, the better.

However, you must also ensure that the roadmap and technologies being implemented are scalable and flexible enough to be reformed based on changes in a dynamic business environment.

There’s the ideal (the way you’d like to see things progress) and then there’s reality, so it’s important to draft a plan A and plan B as pathways to reach your milestones.

Fill the gaps

All too often we hear of instances where IT and “the business” are perceived as separate entities.

Aligning the two shouldn’t involve an action plan of brute-force, as they are part of the same business.

From top to bottom, employees must be engaged and committed to the modernisation efforts.

The only way to achieve this is by involving them in the conversation, communicating the goals and educating teams on how the technology is going to bring business success and how this will positively impact their role within the organisation.

Your IT roadmap forms part of your overall strategy and should be promoted across the organisation as a trusted extension of the business.

Getting started

One of the most undervalued skills is the ability to execute.

It’s all good and well having a roadmap, but this provides little value without actionable tasks and timeframes.

We work closely with clients to identify their priorities and build a project plan with timeframes and costs that fit budgets and business goals.

Using our extensive knowledge and industry insights, your Account Manager will make suggestions on the best-suited technologies.

We are well-versed in building and executing IT roadmaps, but we need the support and buy-in from colleagues across your business to drive forward and maximise on the benefits modernisation offers.

After all, modernisation is fundamental to lasting success.