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Collaboration: Workplace and Technology: The Integration Challenge

Integration Challenge: Harmonizing Workplace and Technology for Seamless Collaboration

In today’s day and age, technology allows for more interconnectivity than ever. Wi-Fi is available nearly everywhere, whether we are sitting in a coffee shop or aboard an airplane. We can remotely monitor our homes camera systems, and change the thermostat while away. We can even have face-to-face chats with family members across the ocean with a touch of a button. So why, with all of the modern technology available today, do we still have so many technical issues in the corporate setting? Why does IT staff need to be involved almost every time you want to start a meeting and use video conferencing or online collaboration tools? Why do our corporate systems “go down” at the worst times? Why do we need to call IT to make sure the tech in the boardroom is working and set up before you enter the meeting?

The natural expectation is to want the same kind of simple and elegant user experience in the boardroom as you enjoy in your living room. Of course, your corporate technology infrastructure is significantly more complicated than your home’s and the demands on technology can change with each new initiative or strategy set in place. This is the ever-changing challenge which leadership must acknowledge and be ready to solve at every turn. Planning for the future must include understanding how technology will support the people, how it will perform in the workplace and how will it will contribute to the overall performance of the organization.

Creating a new workplace is an opportunity to begin with a fresh technology canvas. Just as you would hire an Architect and an Engineer to design your workplace, the team should also include a Lead IT Architect for upfront visioning and programming. Don’t think of technology as part of the final fit and finish, rather consider it part of the integrated workplace solution. As with the workplace, you will want to understand which problems technology will be meant to solve, what new behaviors are required of the users, what kind of technology user experience you will have, and how the technology will remain flexible and future-proof.

This integrated approach to workplace and technology can help the businesses who are dealing with a number of universal challenges: Attraction and retention of top talent, providing autonomy and mobility to its valued staff, increasing collaboration, and even working for bigger transformational culture changes. If a technology plan is part of the workplace vision and strategy from the very beginning, it enables organizations to create a complete plan of the behavioral and cultural shifts required for building the ideal, optimized workplace.

Along with a solid implementation plan that ensures a flawless day one experience, there should also be an integrated change management plan in order to fully handle all the complexities involved with adaptation. Flexibility and future-proofing both the workplace and its technology require forethought and planning during the design phase, and the investment is well-worthwhile when the transformations are absorbed and accommodated with ease.

Today our clients experience the power of highly integrated workplace and technology solutions to meet their organizational objectives. Can corporate workplace ever achieve the efficiency, simplicity and responsiveness of the consumer experience at home? With thoughtful planning, clearly defined goals, and the right team – absolutely.

Authors: Mike Gleason & Kelly Baughman

Mike Gleason

Mike Gleason is a Partner at Netrix and Director of the IT Real Estate practice. Netrix is an IT consulting firm that helps clients bridge the gap between construction and technology. Netrix advises clients on projects ranging from 20,000sq ft. and above during all phases of a new build-out; from initial accurate IT budgeting, design, migration planning as well as ensuring the technologies deployed are seamless to the end user in the consumption model that fits their business. Mike’s group recently acted as the lead IT architect for Zurich Insurance’s 783,000sq ft. corporate HQ in Chicago, IL as well as many other corporate relocations across the country.

Kelly Baughman

As a Principal with PDR, Kelly leads the Business Consulting team. She studies the current needs and future forecasts of an organization, investigates desired workplace performance objectives, and delivers strategic solutions to clients to ensure that the real estate portfolio is delivering its highest value. In addition to being the Director of Marketing for the ACMP Texas Chapter, she is also a founding member of the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Global organization. Kelly is certified in Prosci’s Change Management methodology and Prosci’s Train-the-Trainer Program.