Highlights from The Digital Workplace Summit

The Digital Workplace Summit came to Melbourne this week and I was pleased to not only a speaker, but chairperson for the event. While technology was central it is clear from the content of the day that experience, change and governance are the key challenges.

Held in Docklands on Wednesday February 13 The Digital Workplace Summit (and it’s sister event Digital Workplace Strategy) brought together senior leaders and practitioners from a variety of organisations. The day included a few, more interactive sessions which gave the delegates an opportunity to network and speak with each other

Themes of the day

Throughout the day there were some common threads and handy insights.

Shared challenges

A ‘delegate spotlight’ where at our tables we discussed the challenges that are facing us, common themes emerged. At our own table and across the room

  • Having to wait for other projects
  • Taking to long and not realising value
  • Unrealistic scopes
  • Tools that don’t work together
  • Not actually knowing what ‘We’ want
  • Risk averse organisations
  • Security concerns
  • Governance
  • Too many applications, too many choice

User experience design

The success stories in the room all had a common thread. Taking the time to understand their organisation. Investing in use experience design to focus on the employee experience is allowing organisations to either select/build the right solutions, or at least understand how they can make the solutions they have work for them.

Personas are frequently being used not just to design technology solutions, but also for provisioning and induction. The old, standard persona of office worker and remote worker have begun to blend. One of my favourite insights of the day was from ANZ who went through an exercise of consolidating the personas from across the organisation, but also realised that it is not so much about the current employee persona set.

“We should be planning for the persona of the future” – ANZ

Employee experience

A user experience design approach goes hand-in-hand with creating the ultimate employee experience. But why? Productivity gains certainly, cost-savings absolutely, but what about happiness.

Happy employees has the benefit of increasing retention which we know saves organisations money. But what about giving back to employees to ensure they are experiencing the career growth they want.

“Ensuring the employability of our people” – ANZ

And furthermore, having an experience that makes you an employer of choice.

“We’re in the market for top talent” – TabCorp

Giving a face to technology

IT’s role in the technology space has always been clear, but IT is often criticised for not understanding business needs. Frictionless IT and proactive IT are the goal. When IT can harness technology to be able to know when employees are having issues, and reach out to them BEFORE they raise a ticket they will have the edge. Bluescope have been making great headway in this space.

“Employee experience is not just driven by HR”

It’s not just about technology with IT though, actually putting a face to the technology team and getting them out into the workforce to meet people and understand their needs is important.


‘Bring your own’ device has been trending for years now. Organisations setting up their environments so that staff can use their own technology to access business tools and work. ‘Choose your own’ device was discussed a few times throughout the day, with organisations such as NAB and ANZ discovering that their teams actually don’t want to bring their own, they just want to be able to choose the device that they use.

A useful insight for IT procurement and Heads of IT when thinking about their device approach.

Navigating all of the tools

The ‘problem’ of too many tools came up frequently. Delegates looking for technology solutions to bring the tools together, ways to reduce the tools to the most simple approach, or methodologies.

Despite the fact that people will often have numerous applications on their personal devices, it is not something that they seem to readily engage in the current working environment. The call is for less tools, or an answer to what tool when.

While some recent thought pieces I have read posit that ‘The single pane of glass’ is not something which is useful or even attainable, speakers and panellists during the event were still working towards this goal.

“The one place to go” is really important

A framework for technology adoption

In the early afternoon session I gave my own presentation about our work at NEXTDC to engage the business in our digital workplace using a framework which we call ‘The Building Blocks of our Digital Workplace’.

If you have any questions about my presentation feel free to use the comments below. I am planning a more detailed blog post (perhaps a few) to go into the details of the framework and the project we delivered.



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