The second day of the summit went back to a little more traditional Gartner agenda with focus on pure IT and more technical sessions. However, they still managed to keep it at a strategic level most of the time.
The first interesting session worth mentioning was about creating a so called “Bimodal digital workplace strategy”. The purpose is to create and maintain digital solutions at two levels and two speeds, to increase relevance and pace of digital business development. To do this the IT-department will have to be capable of handling two different modes of development:
- Mode 1: traditional – keeping existing business critical solutions alive
- Mode 2: exploratory – innovating and delivering new types of digital workplace solutions focused on business models, digital leadership to create new kind of value
According to Gartner the challenge is that many new digital initiatives often get buried under legacy systems; a lack of fit with current legacy systems. This makes it difficult to move ahead.
Bimodal should however not be confused with agile development, shadow IT or simply regarded as just another IT capability. It is difficult but necessary to start moving at two parallel speeds and it requires several factors to succeed:
- Cross-business collaboration
- High level management attention from CFO and CEO
- Flexible funding models
- Adaptive sourcing
- Efficient scaling process
Gartner compared Mode 2 to having an internal start-up incubator.
HR digital makeover
The other interesting session of day 2 was about making the HR function more digital and engage actively in shaping the digital workplace. This was part of the message from day 2 but more angled from HRs point of view. According to the speaker most HR departments are very analogue with an agenda set in the past. In other words the key message of this session was that it is time for “digital makeover” for the HR department.
This would seem like a marriage in heaven to get the digital thinking of IT and allow HR to bring the best thinking from human behavioural science into IT’s ways of working. It is an interesting thought and strategy to try and make “digital” a key leverage factor for HR. An example was to take e-learning to the next level and actually engage and inspire people through digital learning. Furthermore HR could engage in leveraging social networks internally to communicate and stay in touch with employees.
If you get it right this could be a catalyser for how to engage and excite employees of the digital workplace. However, to succeed you need both IT and HR to be forward thinking and innovative, a situation which is currently far from reality in most organisations.
The rest of sessions during day 2 of the summit zoomed in on more traditional Gartner subjects like mobility, magic quadrants, intranets and vendor briefings. Interesting but not really in line with the first day which was more interesting and relevant in my opinion.
Overall it was a good summit with many relevant lessons and take-aways. It is clear that the digital workplace must become more interesting and relevant to engage employees and add value to the business. Just giving people a standard laptop with Office, access to an intranet and the Internet, is not enough! Employees want more and they want to become engaged.
The digital workplace of forward-looking organisations will have to be:
- Strategic: to create an attractive and engaging workplace,
- Inspired: by consumer digital services,
- A natural collaboration with the business side (and especially HR),
- Build together with employees for relevance
- Agile to respond to ever changing needs and technology
Long term this will hopefully replace existing legacy IT systems and principles to create a digital workplace which is in tune and at pace with digital consumer solutions. This is something we truly believe in at UClarity: an agile requirements-driven digital workplace with relevance and clear business benefits.