How to build a business case for the digital workplace

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In a cost-conscious environment, how do you secure the investment you need to implement a digital workplace?

Now, more than ever, a digital workplace makes sense. The world is looking for ways to keep working safely during the pandemic and, in reply, many businesses have found themselves scrambling to quickly set up the technology to help people to work and collaborate from anywhere. It’s not a foregone conclusion though that decision makers will say yes; digital workplace plans still need to secure investment at a time when many organisations are looking to cut back on spending. Putting together an effective business plan is crucial to success.

Six focus areas for a successful digital workplace business plan

1.   Get the right people involved
Moving to a digital workplace involves fundamental change, so it’s essential to get all stakeholders committed to its success. Think beyond the IT department who will put the technology in place to the wider business interests who will be affected by the move. Consult the wider community on what they need from a digital workplace to support their business priorities so you can build a coherent, inclusive case for change.

2.   Take people on your journey

There’s a real danger that a digital workplace can be confused with ‘just putting a few functions online’, so focus on bringing the transformational aspect to life by laying out how a truly digital workplace will look for your business. It’ll be key to highlight how collaboration will improve when you introduce intuitive tools that reflect how people want and expect to work today. Users’ buy-in will be crucial to unlocking the value of your investments, so include how you’ll secure adoption and formulate a plan that addresses human behaviour as well as the practicalities of how to use the technologies.

3.   Maximise the cost reduction element

The broad cost transformation story of moving to new platforms is strong, often based on a single global price per user and the ability to only pay for what you use. With this set up, you can easily predict costs, as well as realising and demonstrating a quicker return on investment. Make sure you draw on the documented experiences of companies that have gone before you, together with robust pricing information from potential suppliers to back up your plans.

4.   Include the costs of not going digital

You can lend weight to your digital workplace plans by investigating the impact of standing still on your business and the revenue you’re losing by not moving forward. Many businesses find including the effects of low adoption rates for unified communications investment useful. Correcting a previously low return on investment with the right collaboration approach and tools is a compelling argument for the digital office.

5.   Highlight the agility story

The coronavirus pandemic and the mass move to remote working is the ultimate proof point for the agility of the digital office. Businesses that were further down the road to the digital workplace ‘bounced back’ with home working much faster than those just starting out on the journey. Establishing your workplace around the core ability of being able to work anywhere makes so much sense from a business continuity point of view. Leverage this fact to the max in your business case.

6.   Think wider to capture the full benefits picture

The benefits of a digital workplace go beyond anywhere working and improved collaboration. Businesses that have gone digital find it’s a strong plus point in attracting and retaining top talent. Being able to offer flexibility over job location as well as efficient ways of working that actively improve the work-life balance help businesses to recruit the best. Substantial sustainability benefits, too, support the case for the digital office and are a factor that investors look for. ICT solutions have the potential to help lower global carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2030 and we have helped our customers avoid 11.7 million tonnes of carbon last year — that’s the equivalent carbon emissions of nearly three million UK households.

Judging by the conversations we’re having with customers, 2020 will turn out to be the year of the digital workplace. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your business go digital, get in touch.

Ailbhe McDarby

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