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5 questions to pivot your digital workplace strategy for the future of work

The world as we knew it is no more. In the face of rapid change, the era of experimentation and agility is firmly upon us. The new world requires a new mindset when it comes to business strategy. In this guest post, Unily's Principal Consultant Mario Fantozzi shares his ideas on how businesses can reroute to find their North Star, and how age-old principles on strategy can be adapted to navigate uncertainty and build a better future of work.

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What is strategy: How to reach your North Star?

Monday morning wakes you, and you wonder what is in store for the day? You quickly reach for your phone, to see a notification that you are 30 minutes away from attending an off site workshop (well ok, these days it is likely to be a virtual workshop, but you still need to get out of bed) to develop your organization's 5-year digital workplace plan.

You scratch your head. Why? Because the world is changing faster than you think! It is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. What worked yesterday, is not working today. So how can we possibly plan for the next 5 years? But if our world is changing, then so should our plans. Organizations that develop rigid plans, and do not allow themselves to pivot from the plan, will fail. Your North Star will point you in the right direction, but there are many paths that will take you there. Your strategic plans need to be agile enough, so that you can pivot, and course-correct your path, should you find bumps in the road ahead. Strategy is not complex. But it is hard. However, if we remember that strategy is all about choices, well the process becomes a little less daunting.

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Rethinking strategy: What choice do we have?

We make choices every day. We are constantly evaluating our possibilities, making decisions, and course-correcting when things are not going quite as we planned.  To win, a company must choose to do some things and not others, accept that there is no such thing as a perfect strategy, and understand that strategy is part art and part science!

We also must remember, that to make intelligent choices, we must know where we are going. A vision tells us where we want to go but does not tell us how to get there.

That is where strategy kicks in.

One of my favorite strategic playbooks created by Roger L Martin, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, co-authors of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works. Their research has taught us that strategy is the answer to five essential strategic choices that, that when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors.

Are you ready?

5 questions to pivot your digital workplace strategy

Digital workplace strategy

Here are the 5 questions Lafley and Martin pose, and how we can apply them to digital workplace strategy:

#1. What is our winning aspiration?

A winning aspiration is all about a happy story about a potential future – what it means to win with our employees and build a winning culture.​ If we are truly playing to win, a winning aspiration starts with people, not financial returns.

#2. Where will ​we play?​

Our where to play choices helps to determine the playing field – what does the sandbox look like?​

  • Customer Segments: What employee groups could we serve?​
  • Channel: How will we reach our employees?​
  • Product: What kinds of products or services will we offer them?​
  • Geography: In what countries or regions will we choose to play?​

#3. How will we win?

Our how to win choices are all about determining what we will do on the playing field – our value proposition. ​

  • What problems do we solve for our employees?​
  • How might we win differently than we do today?​
  • Think about these choices as our competitive advantage.​

#4. What capabilities must we have?

Our capabilities are all about homing in on the 4-5 key core capabilities that our digital workplace must deliver exceptionally well to deliver on our where to play and how to win choices.​

Think about these as the activities that a Digital Workplace must be good at to win.​

#5. What management systems do we need?

Our management systems are all about the governing rules, norms, processes, and measures that must exist in order for our strategy to be successful.

Cool right? 

Now, if we apply this framework in terms of your organization’s digital workplace strategy, here is what it could look like:

#1. What is our winning aspiration?

We aspire to create a digital workplace destination that inspires confidence and empowers employees to connect, communicate, and collaborate across the globe. We believe that our digital workplace has the power to unite us by creating humanized experiences that give our employees better tools, so that they do better things.

#2. Where will ​we play?

  • Customers: All Employees – estimated to reach approximately 50k employees across the globe​
  • Channel: Desktop, Tablet, Mobile, Broadcast Centre, Push Notifications​, Digital Signage, including targeted and personalized content.
  • Product: Leveraging the Unily platform to centralize communications and digital workplace strategy​ with native integration into O365

Geography: NAM, APAC, EMEA​

#3. How will we win?

Differentiation through:​

  • Connectivity – access anywhere, anytime, any device; cloud first platform​
  • Usability – simple UX experience, information architecture, and robust search​
  • Content Publishing – simplified and streamlined rich publishing back end -capabilities​.
  • Social & Knowledge share – humanize the social experience and enable community knowledge-share​.

#4. What capabilities must we have?

  • Communication – curate the right information, to the right audience, at the right time​
  • Finding Expertise– build a people culture and elevate our expert community​.
  • Collaboration – work together anywhere, anytime​, on any device.
  • Access to Knowledge– promote continuous lifelong self-learning​.
  • Productivity – deliver digital tools that increase employee productivity and capacity.

#5. What management systems do we need?

  • Governance – Guiding principles, intranet & content governance strategy, roles, and responsibilities, & training​
  • Risk and Compliance – Information monitoring, collection, and analysis; policy training​

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The choice is yours

Those organizations that are able to thrive, are those that use their digital workplace capabilities to solve real business problems. Value is created when you can mine these strengths to solve a problem your employees and customers want solving. By understanding your organizational digital workplace capabilities, and the gaps within, you will begin to illuminate the strategic choices that must be made. You will begin to illuminate the investments in people, process, and technology, that will drive your business forward. And you will begin to illuminate your digital workplace strategic path, bringing you one step closer to your organization’s North Star.

About the author

As a Principal Digital Workplace Consultant at Unily, Mario Fantozzi helps leading brands define and deliver their very own best-in-class digital workplace. In the business of empowering employees and customers to do their best work, Mario works to provide enterprises with better tools so they can do better things. Previously, Mario worked client-side, leading the delivery of one of Nielsen Norman's 10 Best Intranets of 2020.

Is your digital workplace strategy fit for the future?

The insights shared in this blog form part of our onboarding workshops for new clients starting their digital workplace journey. If you're reconsidering your digital workplace strategy, get in touch with our expert consultants who can help you unpick your vision and establish a strategy for future success. 

Get started. Get your free demo.

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