The enterprise technology landscape has never been so dynamic, or diverse. An incredible array of hardware and software is available for organisations to harness, whether for regular, day-to-day operations or highly specialist tasks.
It can be easy to think, then, that modern workplaces are those that embrace as many and as wide a variety of these technologies as possible – those which offer their employees the very latest apps and gadgets.
There is, however, another perspective. Think in terms of the behaviours and actions that a modern workplace instils and encourages in its staff, and the technology required to enable those qualities might be simpler than you expect.
Collaborative culture, collaborative technology
Above all, the modern workplace could be said to be a collaborative one. It fosters communication and information-sharing both internally and externally, creating new lines of working between previously disparate departments and organisations. This is the key to developing new ideas and product and service innovation. It is also, often, the key to fostering flexible working practices, enabling employees to contribute from multiple locations and at the times that best suit them.
In turn, then, many of the technologies which make a modern workplace are those that work hard to enable and enhance collaboration.
Let’s take a closer look at some examples.
Microsoft: Enabling collaboration
Microsoft is, of course, a core technology supplier to the vast majority of the world’s businesses. As such, it makes sense to begin the search for modern, collaboration-enabling technologies here.
Microsoft Office 365 is increasingly the go-to product for accessing the company’s suite of productivity tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and so on. This makes sense; not only does the cloud delivery model offer organisations the agility and elastic scale they need to remain competitive and cost-effective, but it also offers a centralised hub for employees to work on shared documents. Office 365 Groups have now been introduced, based on SharePoint Online and uniting Microsoft Outlook’s email, calendar and directory functions in a single centralised location. Different members of the group can collaborate on projects through a shared interface – in other words, collaboration is effortlessly enabled.
A more recent innovation still is the creation of Microsoft Teams, a group working Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) application which, as we have previously blogged, will ultimately subsume Skype for Business. Teams is already deployed as a matter of course as part of Office 365, so provides yet another incentive for businesses to make the switch. Teams offers a hub for virtual meetings, as well as bots which can be tailored to offer functions like polling groups of colleagues or creating scheduled reports from sources like Salesforce. Even the product name reminds us that it exists to foster a group, collaborative approach to working.
Then there’s mobility to consider. The modern workplace doesn’t just encourage collaboration in the office; it also recognises that employees increasingly wish to be able to work outside the office, from home and on the move. This is essential both for offering the flexible approach to working that staff increasingly expect, and for harnessing the idea generation and productivity that can occur away from the strict parameters of the office location and the 9-5. Again, a significant advantage of the products within Office 365, including Teams, is that they can be seamlessly accessed anytime, anywhere and on mobile devices.
Keeping it simple
These applications might sound less exciting than exotic new mobile apps or the latest game-changing software platform that your industry is abuzz about – and of course, depending on the sector you operate in, it might still be wise to invest in the latest headline-grabbing, industry-specific tool. But by quietly creating a workplace which, from the ground up, is founded on the sharing of ideas and clear, instant communication across a choice of channels, these really are the technologies which make a modern workplace.
Want to know more about a modern workplace and how you can improve communication & collaboration? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction.