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New Report: Digital Workplace Trends 2013

02.19.2013
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Each year Jane McConnell produces a report looking at Digital Workplace Trends.  The 2013 edition was released recently and provides an interesting insight into the state of social business today.  The report highlights a number of key areas impacting upon the digital workplace this year.

Key drivers

The report found that the key drivers for starting out on a social business journey are improving organisational intelligence and becoming more efficient/increasing cost savings.  In very large organisations (50,000+ employees), increasing employee engagement and belonging was also an important factor.

Slightly worryingly though the report also found that just over 1/3 organisations align their social strategy with high-level strategic goals.  It's a finding that chimes with research released last year by Deloitte, where they reported that doing this was critical to social business success.

What is clear however is that the digital workplace is not something that's up for debate.  86% of large organisations either have one already or are in the process of building in the tools neccessary.

Despite this however there were interesting findings around senior management involvement (yes that old chestnut again!).  The report found that whilst many senior managers provide vocal support, significantly fewer actually walk the walk.  The picture was much better in early adopter organisations, with managers more likely to participate than watch from the sidelines.

Mobile

As with most of the digital world, the report predicts that mobile will play a big part in social business in 2013.  60% of organisations believed it to be a key investment this year.  The main outcome of this investment was in facilitating bring your own device.

Interestingly however, the BYOD philosophy has not extended throughout the enterprise yet.  Instead it has mostly been offered to field staff and executives, with just 20% of companies offering full access to work tools from mobile devices.  A primary concern in this area is over data security, which echoes the finding of the Altimeter report last year into social media usage.

Social collaboration

The report highlights the different tools used by early adopters and the majority.  Whilst early adopters regularly use instant messaging, video conferencing, co-created content, expertise directories and internal communities, the majority lag some way behind.  Whilst many have utilised video conferencing, the primary social collaboration tool remains pretty old school, with instant messaging coming out on top.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority also express a considerable dissatisfaction with how successful these tools have been, thus emphasising the significant gap that remains betweet deployment and adoption of social business tools.  It has proved a particularly tough sell when the social tools being suggested disrupt the traditional ways of operating within the enterprise.  These difficulties are reflected in the poor evidence of success, even amongst the early adopters.

Process improvement

I wrote recently about how to use social business to improve internal processes, but the report reveals how uncommon this remains, even amongst early adopters.  Typical uptake in this area is under 10%, with a drop in board level management groups for social business and digital workplaces.  The report suggests this might be due to a lack of clear ROI from the efforts made in this direction thus far.

As if to emphasise this point, the report highlights that despite executive involvement rising, measurement of success at executive level has fallen.  It underlines the importance of getting metrics in place early that really matter.

Investment

It's interesting that around 50% of all deployments are funded centrally, with another 25% funded centrally with departments then charged for usage.  The message is clear that thus far, central control remains very strong.

Another telling finding is that by far the biggest chunk of spending is on software development and implementation.  Training and change management make up just 15% of overall expenditure (18% of the early adopters and 13% of the majority).  Whilst the report doesn't link this with overall success and satisfaction, it does raise obvious questions over priorities.  What's more, this picture doesn't look likely to change, with all future investment options focuses on tools rather than behaviours.

Measurement of success

It is perhaps telling that most measurements reflect those found in external social communities.  By far the most popular metric was user activity, followed by satisfaction and adoption.  In other words, they're measuring inputs rather than outputs.

This is reflected in the resisters to change.  The report found that in early adopters, resitence came from middle managers, whereas in the majority, the resistence came from the boardroom.

It is noticeable that most early adopters had a strong culture of trust, with employees free to express themselves and a history of sharing information.  This tied in nicely with the main reasons for not going social, with the main objections being that people would waste time, and there was little business benefit.

The report goes on to say that the most influential people in spreading positive social behaviours were our colleagues.  This underlined the importance of establishing a strong team of champions and advocates that can spread the word.  It is also interesting to note that community management was a shared responsibility in many early adopters.

It's certainly an interesting look at the state of the industry.  You can purchase the full report below.

Purchase the NetJMC Digital Workplace report