Collaboration, Shadow IT and App Overload Are the Key Challenges Facing Digital Workplace Leaders

A woman stands in a security command center.


Cybersecurity and data security remain top priorities for 67% of companies, and businesses plan to increase investments in connectivity (63%) and collaboration (49%) to enable their increasingly hybrid workplaces.

Those are some of the findings for digital workplace leaders in Infosys’ 2021 global research report on the state of digital workplace readiness and the evolving priorities of workplace strategy. Digital workplace leaders who caught up with Reworked shared some of those digital workplace growing pains.

“Our biggest challenge right now is making sense of all the comms/collaboration tools we have available. When to use Teams vs. email vs. our intranet vs. Zoom, etc.,” said Dante Ragazzo, senior director, digital workplace for Tapestry.

Ragazzo said he’s spearheading a project to assess communications needs and current processes. Teams expect to make platform recommendations in the new calendar year.

“We’re also starting a Digital Workplace Council with leaders from across IT, HR, comms and other key constituents,” Ragazzo said. “The goal of the council is to begin governing what digital workplace tech we have, what capabilities we need, and then govern what comes in and what doesn’t going forward.”

Here are the focus areas for other digital workplace leaders who caught up with Reworked:

Chris Perrotti, Vice President of Digital Workplace, LogMeIn

Developing the Digital Workplace Team

Perrotti said he is focused on the development of LogMeIn’s digital workplace team, which the company announced earlier this year. The goal is to double down on LogMeIn’s commitment to creating an equitable hybrid working experience as the company evolves for a remote-centric future.

“As many employees now have the option of leveraging an office, it’s clear that its purpose has changed and we have much to learn from our employees to support and optimize hybrid and remote-centric work practices,” Perrotti said.

He added the company saw a need to create a team that would look not just at technology, but how employees engage with it whether they are in the office, at home or on the go.

“We also want to promote a culture that demonstrates to employees that they are equally essential, regardless of where they choose to work,” Perrotti said. “We want to level the playing field.”

Related Article: Is Your Company Ready for Hybrid Work?

Making Equitable Environments for All Employees

You can’t just enable your employees with technology. You have to work to make sure that the environment created through the technology is equitable for all, Perrotti said, and that employees are armed with the freedom and best practices to fully benefit from the flexibility that a hybrid environment offers. “Wherever an employee works we need to support them in order to allow them to do the best work of their career,” he added.

The digital workplace team is working to optimize existing systems and processes to better enable productivity and collaboration across LogMeIn’s remote-centric employee base, regardless of their roles — with a particular focus on simplification and automation.

“Our efforts extend to customer and partner support team, product engineers, sales, marketing and more, helping them to get their work done, share knowledge, measure progress and highlight their accomplishments just as we would in an in-office environment,” Perrotti added.

Brenda Luterbach, Digital Workplace and Intranet Manager, Cloudera

Defining the Digital Workplace

Brenda Luterbach, digital workplace and intranet manager at Cloudera, said her team recently launched a new modern and highly flexible intranet via Simpplr and are now defining the digital workplace, focusing on enterprise productivity and collaboration tools with a focus on the onboarding experience and hybrid work best practices and education. They use Google Workspace, Slack and Zoom.

“Like many companies, especially in the tech industry, we have a lot of tools, many brought in by shadow IT, and because of that, we lack a clear strategy or consistent, timely support on how to use them effectively,” Luterbach said. “As a newer hire myself, even though I consider myself tech-savvy compared to most, I could easily see and feel some challenges when I joined for knowing when to use which tool, which tool I even had access to and why and how to quickly get up to speed on how our company was using them.”

Luterbach added she wanted to address those challenges as soon as possible after arriving in her new role. “Once we launched the new intranet,” she said, “we have quickly pivoted to mapping out this part of the larger program.”

Christy Punch, Vice President, Enterprise Portal and Collaboration, Wells Fargo

Quest for the Holistic Digital Employee Experience

Christy Punch, teamworks digital consultant and vice president of enterprise portal and collaboration at Wells Fargo, said her focus is looking at and understanding the overall holistic digital experience for employees. She also wants to identify opportunities to simplify or enhance the experience through strategic approaches and an employee digital layer solution, like the “front door” for a work digital experience.

Punch spends time building internal partnerships across the organization to influence alignment on a digital employee experience vision using a common approach:

  • Making task completion intuitive and easy through familiar patterns and verbiage.
  • Connecting systems, data and process behind-the-scenes so employees don’t have to.
  • Making it easier to work by removing acute pain-points, such as system sign-ons.
  • Reduce need to customize proprietary systems.

Related Article: Your Digital Workplace Can Be a Cause — and Antidote — to Burnout

Taming Digital Workplace App Overload

Punch said she’s learned that employees use at least four to five different applications or systems a day to perform administrative tasks or job-related work. The digital workplace will always include a variety of different applications, platforms and digital experiences, she added, and there will never be one tool that does it all.

“With a company of our size, the number of tools — and disjointed experiences — is magnified,” Punch said. “With an enterprise digital layer solution, we look to surface high-volume, transactional functions in a primary enterprise portal to allow employees to easily complete tasks, without a lot of steps or brain power, so they can get back to their day jobs faster. Then, employees are guided into proprietary systems — exactly where they need to go — for complex processes, exploratory tasks and power usage.”

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