Taking a holistic approach for maximum ROI

Written By Workspace Transformation Lead, Mark Ferguson

London 04 May 2021

Cutting-edge technology offers huge scope to create frictionless workspaces which simultaneously offer operational benefits and cost reduction – but there’s a trick to making sure it delivers on expectation.

With an almost dizzying array of digital tools and platforms available to streamline operational practices in the workspace (including both generic and specialist applications, as well as bespoke solutions), you’d be forgiven for assuming that these days it would be easy to achieve meaningful improvements in efficiency and productivity, as well as cost control.

But while it’s highly possible to achieve significantly better efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability with application of tech solutions, it doesn’t always work out that way; technology isn’t a silver bullet, and it frequently seems that the perceived potential for organisations to use it optimally – for maximum benefit and minimum cost – ends up being greater than the results that are actually delivered. Much to the frustration of C-suite decision makers and other stakeholders alike. It doesn’t have to be this way, however. The solution isn’t expectation management, but a closer look at the procurement process.

Traditional procurement routes need to be reinvented

Historically, the world of workspace technology has typically been procured through multiple suppliers. Whilst this is fine from an individual point solution perspective, it misses a key point that is becoming ever more important to end users – a ‘connected’ experience (both in terms of employees’ use of systems, as well as the sort of joined-up thinking that ensures best value and maximum operational efficiency).

Typically, workspace technology is procured via CapEx. Often this way of investing in tech offers minimal support, and the end user organisation ends up having to manage multiple suppliers with no guarantee of interoperability between the different solutions.

This is clearly a sub-optimal state of affairs for an increasingly demanding and tech-savvy user – whether that be the staff having to support the multiple technologies, or the stakeholders who have to navigate multiple disparate technologies that are not integrated in any real sense.

Taking a holistic view for maximum positive impact

Rationalising the workspace tech estate during a digital transformation process, to align both the physical and virtual with an organisation’s key objectives, is the surest way to achieve best value and efficiency (both in financial and operational terms). Representing a cultural shift to a better way of working, this kind of strategy can unlock business potential through superior connectivity, improved agility, greater resilience, an improved staff experience, more effective customer engagement, and enhanced sustainability.

Such an undertaking requires a holistic view of the organisation, which can only be achieved through a structured process of assessment and discovery, before using the information gleaned for a solution development phase.

Putting key business objectives front and centre

Our well-honed process begins with a high-level assessment of the organisation’s current operational environment, working one-on-one with senior stakeholders from people, places, technology and real estate. Looking at both long- and short-term goals, to make sure there are some ‘quick wins’ as well as a strategy with a far-reaching view, we identify the factors that will have the most bearing on the integrated systems to be specified.

Once the project’s parameters have been clarified, we mobilise our discovery phase, which drills down into current workspace experiences through a programme of information-gathering. Using staff surveys and user interviews, workspace audits and space utilization studies, and technology and cost analyses, we can confirm which systems and workflows are working effectively, and which could offer room for improvement.

Defining the optimal connected workspace solution

Our development stage then sets out a blueprint for the optimal solution, based on the information gleaned during assessment and discovery, which might include aspects such as workspace design, IT infrastructure, visual communications solutions and augmented print and workflow – depending on the business need and desired future state operating model. In addition, we create a roadmap for rolling out the new solution, including key milestones and timescales, as well as issues and risks (and the corresponding mitigation measures), plus rigorous organisational change management planning.

As the final stage of our development phase, we also explain and evidence the business case for the workspace transformation, including costings, a defined ROI with associated costs and benefits highlighted, relative illustrations of as-a-service and managed service offerings, plus an overview of non-tangible organizational benefits.

It’s only by taking this holistic, organisation-wide approach, that a comprehensive picture of needs can be built, on which the ideal solution can be based. By avoiding procuring workspace tech solutions in silos, you can do more with less budget, and ensure that over time your workspace tech estate is easier and more affordable to maintain and upgrade appropriately – plus the data gleaned over time can be utilised in a continuous improvement process, to track and support business needs whatever turn the market conditions may take.

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