Key themes Day 1, Wizdom Conference 2018
Four digital workplace themes from day one of the Wizdom Conference
The 2018 Wizdom Conference on “The value of the digital workplace” is being held in the beautiful setting of Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. With some incredible sunshine and a friendly crowd of 140 digital workplace professionals, our opening day was both inspiring and highly enjoyable.
This year we have many international speakers and visitors, and the whole conference has been conducted in English rather than Danish. Here are some of the key themes from the day.
The digital workplace is all about “human to human”
The day started with a warm welcome from Wizdom’s CEO, John Wainer. John reflected on how the digital workplace should be about making the working day easier, making employees more productive and making our colleagues happier. If the digital workplace can deliver this – even just a little – then we have succeeded.
This idea about the digital workplace being focused on people rather than technology was also touched upon in a fascinating and lively opening keynote session from Morten Albæk, Creator and Executive Director of Voluntas A/S.
Morten is a frequent and well-known international speaker and author. His powerful presentation delivered a strong message about how work must be meaningful. So many people say they regret spending too much time on work, but Morten’s personal management KPI is to make sure that anybody who works under his leadership does not regret their time working. Morten also reminded us that too many people are feeling stressed or anxious from work and this is on the increase.
Morten dwelled on the importance of “meaningfulness” and how organisations can help employees find meaning in their work. Delivering a sense of purpose, receiving guidance from strong leadership and a strong sense of community can all support employees feeling differently about their work. In turn, having more meaningful work can lead to a more innovative, creative, loyal and productive workforce. Morten’s observation that B2B and B2C approaches were in the past, and it was all about H2H – Human to Human – resonated with the audience.
Security and compliance are critical in the digital workplace
One of the great things about this years’ conference agenda is the variety of different topics being covered. One key theme was the importance of security and compliance in the digital workplace.
Rory Fitzpatrick, Senior Communications Manager at pharmaceutical company Acino International, told us how a virus attack had impacted virtually all the company’s computers, temporarily preventing access to operational files. Although the business recovered quickly due to our excellent IT team, this incident was the catalyst for the company’s move to Office 365 and the cloud where all the files would be backed up and accessible. It also kick-started an intense twelve-week project to build a new intranet.
It was great that Acino International now has a robust, secure and compliant digital workplace, but it was also inspiring to hear how the new intranet is also helping employees to communicate and collaborate and feel part of one company. This is extremely important for a company where there are often acquisitions.
We also had another excellent (and very timely) presentation from Ole Kjeldsen, Director of Technology and Security for Microsoft in Denmark. Ole gave us a very level-headed view of GDPR which comes into full effect in a few days time. While explaining we don’t need to panic, organisations do need to do some work to achieve compliance, and Ole’s presentation was full of resources and useful tips. It was also a warning not to be complacent. No product can deliver GDPR compliance, but platforms like Office 365 can help you get closer to it. Another interesting observation was that GDPR was all about good data governance – something which we all should have been doing for years anyway!
We’re moving from the digital workplace to the integrated, intelligent workplace
Another key theme of the conference was the digital workplace’s potential to become a truly intelligent workplace, with data and insights which help employees find things, get things done and make decisions.
Implement Consulting Group is already on that journey. We heard from Morten Rye Christensen, CIO, about how the company has built a data-driven, integrated digital workplace with different elements including Office 365, a Wizdom-based intranet and a learning portal. Perhaps most impressive was a project portal where critical client and project information from the company’s ERP systems is readily available. Whenever a new project is set up a project site or an MS Teams site can be created to drive collaboration and document sharing. Bringing all this information and content together through the digital workplace and via a mobile app was helping consultants to deliver great outcomes for clients.
The integrated digital workplace is also set to become ever-more intelligent. Jess Lassen, Wizdom’s CTO, delivered an exciting presentation on AI and bots. Jess established that AI is already a big part of our lives through using Amazon and Netflix. He also admitted that when he says good night to Siri on his iPhone it turns all the lights off in his house! Jess also painted a brighter picture of the impact of AI than some believe, arguing it will create more jobs than losses and will transform every aspect of our lives.
Organisations need to start acting now to gain advantage from AI. Jess gave the audience some tips including the importance of having the data to power AI, thinking about security and assembling the right team. The potential for AI is huge and could be a “secret weapon to success”, truly disrupting businesses and allowing smaller players to compete with much bigger companies.
The digital workplace needs both robust foundations and delightful touches
In the last presentation of the day John Scott, User Experience Director at Content Formula, walked us through some of the ways you can delight users of your digital workplace. John introduced concepts such as “Surface Delight” (smaller flourishes and design touches which impress users), and “Deep Delight” where more fundamental user needs are met.
John also talked about a hierarchy of user experience needs where ‘functional’ needs sit at the base of a pyramid, with further layers ensuring the digital workplace is ‘reliable’, then ‘usable’ and finally ‘delightful’. Citing a series of examples inspired by movies from the eighties and nineties (and giving us a hint of John’s taste in movies!) John’s presentation was a salient reminder that to deliver a great user experience we need to focus on some digital workplace foundations such as performance and governance and that we need to have a deep understanding of users. But we can also add delightful touches such as using tasteful animations, and beautiful images.
John’s session echoed some of the other themes of the day. Yes, we need to worry about fundamentals like security and compliance, but the digital workplace is also about smaller, everyday things and about being human.
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