Do you feel like the lone ranger when it comes to building a digital environment in your workplace? Are you tired of getting the cold shoulder from the C-Suite when you propose investing in technology infrastructure for better collaboration and communication?
Take heart. You’re not alone.
Management is usually slow to support initiatives that entail costs to the enterprise — unless you can demonstrate a clear and tangible ROI.
It doesn’t help that it’s impossible for you to put hard numbers on how a digital environment, particularly new technology, will benefit your company or organization. It’s not like you could punch in some numbers and come up with an estimate of exactly how much a digital workplace will add to your bottom line.
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Fortunately, there’s help.
A recent report by the Digital Workplace Forum (DFW), “Digital Workplace Business Case” will help you present the hard numbers associated with the benefits of a digital workplace.
Written by Paul Miller, author of The Digital Workplace: How Technology is Liberating Work, the report is geared towards helping you get management support to turn your company into a digital workplace.
What Benefits Count to Management?
The study asked respondents to rank the importance their leadership would place on possible benefits of a digital workplace. Their responses were, from most important to least important:
- Improve productivity of employees
- Increase retention rates of staff
- Reduce real estate and associated costs
- Allow for disaster planning and operational continuity
- Gains for the environment
- Reduce absenteeism among employees
Among the hard benefits from a digital workplace, improving productivity among the workforce is expected to have the biggest impact on swaying senior management.
For the soft benefits, the following was the perceived ranking of importance to management:
- Attracting and retaining the best talent
- Increased employee engagement
- More innovation and generation of ideas
- Modernise or influence company culture
- Appeal to generation Y or millenials working style
- A better work/life balance for staff
Getting and keeping the best employees and increasing engagement were almost tied for the most important soft benefits.
These are the benefits to focus on when making the case for a digital environment to your C-suite.
Some Numbers to Back You Up
For me, the most valuable part of DFW’s report is the collection of facts that demonstrate the hard benefits of a digital workplace.
The report won’t show you how to estimate income increases or savings in your workplace. But it will tell you exactly how real companies have done so from their digital investments.
For example, here are some of the data on how the digital workplace increases productivity:
- After the US Air Force Central Adjudication Facility implemented its telework programme, 100% of the teleworkers said communication with their supervisors improved, and productivity increased 55.62%.
- In Cisco, 69% of employees who responded to a survey said they felt more productive when working at home and 75% said the timeliness of their work improved.
- At Sun Microsystems, it is estimated that 60% of time saved from commuting to work was spent working. Therefore, employees gave back time savings to their employers.
- Ecolab observed that work-at-home customer service representatives took 16% more calls and increased their quick call resolution by 10%.
- Fairview Health Services saw a 50% decrease in overtime work after it set up a workplace flexibility programme.
These are just a few of the hard facts from the DFW report, which will help you make the business case for investments in a digital workplace. DFW provides data for each of the hard benefits mentioned above.
Make the Report Work for You
Go over it, figure out which benefits would resonate most with your senior managers. Use the data to back up claims that investing in a digital environment will pay off in your company.
Many enterprises, including Fortune 500 companies and possibly your competitors, are already transforming themselves into digital workplaces — and reaping the rewards. DFW found that the statement, “Our direct competitors are all doing it and we aren’t,” would have the most impact on senior management teams. So find out what your competitors are doing and if you’re falling behind, let your managers know.
Over To You
Which benefits do you think are most important to your senior executives? Which numbers would be most meaningful to them? What else do you need to sway the powers that be in your company?
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