Your company most likely has multiple subscriptions to tools such as Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Slack. While you may know how each tool works on an individual level, understanding how they interact with each other and provide value organization-wide can be a daunting task. Making this decision requires careful analysis, which might require the help of a team of experts.
One expert up to the task is Gartner Director of Employee Experience Joe Mariano, who recently spoke at the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit. In his presentation, Mariano laid out his philosophy and methods for companies that juggle multiple software platforms. The goal is to build and refine digital workplaces.
Take stock of your tools
When creating a digital workplace hub, the first step is to understand what you have, Mariano said.
For example, even if you think you know Microsoft 365, consider that it had 700 different updates in 2021 alone – that’s a lot to track! Also, in addition to not understanding all the inner workings of a suite like Office 365, you may not realize its limitations either. Office 365 can meet 80% to 90% of your needs, but it can’t do it all.
Mariano called multipurpose tools like Office “fundamentals.” In a pyramid diagram, these fundamental tools are found at the bottom of the pyramid. Just above the basic tools are “domain” tools like Salesforce. Like fundamental tools, domain tools have multiple uses, but they are more specialized. Finally, at the top of the pyramid are “situational” tools like Slack. Situational tools are the most advanced but also play a key role in the operation of the company.
Use the ACME Framework
Once you know what tools you have, you need to understand how best to use those tools.
To help you do that, Mariano pointed to the ACME (Activity, Context, Motivation, and Enabling Technology) framework, which he says “brings order out of chaos.” The ACME framework follows four steps:
- Identify the Activity which needs to be improved.
- Look at him The context surrounding the activity (for example, what do you hope to achieve with the activity?).
- Examine your Motivation (for example, why do you want to improve the technology option?).
- Use this information to determine the Enabling Technology that will allow you to achieve your goals.
Collect user data
To get a little more detail on this process, Mariano described how information should be collected from the bottom up of the organization.
First of all, the “everyday moments” must be tracked: those needs and frustrations that arise during an ordinary working day. Team leaders and staff should then provide insight into what is wrong with day-to-day operations and how these issues could be improved (ACME framework is helpful here). The leaders can then give their opinion.
Then, finally, a new digital work hub tool can be identified.
Examples of digital work hubs
How would this work in practice? Mariano made up a fictional company that provides corporate relocation services to illustrate his point.
This company collected the information of its staff, team leaders and leaders based on moments of daily life. This highlighted several unresolved issues. In one example, employees said they had to send customer receipts for reimbursement of travel expenses to the finance team. This problem was later solved by using Box and SharePoint for better collaboration. In another example, employees said they needed it to be easier to work with real estate specialists and coordinate with movers. The solution was to deploy the MangoApps enterprise collaboration platform.
By matching problems to solutions in this systematic way, any business can build and refine their digital work centers, Mariano said. A company can thus significantly increase its operational success.