The Digital Workplace

Enterprise Search is part of it

2019/07/09

The advantages of the digital workplace are by now well known: When employees have all the technical support they need to carry out their work competently and independently of time and place, they are not only more motivated, but also more creative and productive.
 
If there are only advantages, why isn't the digital workplace a reality everywhere? According to a study by the industry association Bitkom, in 2018 every third company still had some catching up to do in terms of digitization. The digital transformation is progressing, but a company management must consciously make the decision for the digital workplace. After all, this decision also involves investments in hardware and software solutions. So that these expenses pay for themselves soon and that the digital workplace in a company in a company really becomes a successful project, it is important to get the employees and their needs on board right from the start.
 
Enterprise Search as cross-platform access to required data

Digital workstations provide employees with secure access to all relevant applications and data in the company - from any device. An important aspect is the topic "Enterprise Search" or "Universal Search", which massively supports the idea of centralization. The aim is to make information available to all employees quickly, comprehensively and in accordance with relevant permissions. It doesn't matter whether the information is stored on the intranet or in other company data sources such as file servers, e-mail systems, Microsoft Office 365, document management systems or the cloud. According to analysts, the keyword is "Unified Information Access”.

In everyday working life, an employee uses very different applications for communication, collaboration, knowledge management, and processes. These applications are often not connected with each other. So the pieces of information are stored in separate data silos and cannot be linked with each other. As part of the digital workplace, Enterprise Search enables cross-platform access to company information – of course only for those data for which the respective employee is authorized. It serves, so to speak, as a central information cockpit for all employees.
 
Establishing a Digital Workplace in the Intranet

Analyst companies describe it and our project experience confirms it: You don't buy a digital workstation - you build it. In every company, the implementation must be individually tailored to the requirements of the employees. The advantages of the digital workplace only take effect when the users recognize their requirements in the solutions intended for them and see real added value in them. First of all, it is important to define the requirements precisely - preferably with key users from different departments. Then the technical feasibility of integrating other applications must be checked.
So how do you introduce the digital workplace into your company? The intranet, for example, is ideally suited for setting up a digital workplace and as an entry point, because it is accessible to all employees and offers global company information. Above all, it is familiar to the employees - so there is no need for time-consuming training.

In his information cockpit, the users must also have integrated all the components needed for their personal work – their tasks, appointments, e-mails, tools for teamwork, the search function for experts in the company and important documents in the file system and other connected sources - without having to switch between the programs. It is important that universal access to corporate knowledge is provided for all applications used in the digital workplace. Our solution is the Universal Search. This means that employees can not only access all relevant information and processes from one platform, but if possible from all platforms of the digital workplace. To this end, we consistently develop portlets, add-ons and plug-ins for the important components of the Digital Workplace. Examples are Confluence, SharePoint, or Office 365, Outlook, Liferay, Wordpress or other content management or ECM systems.
 
Ensuring user acceptance for the digital workplace

Searching and finding is an enormous success factor in the introduction of the digital workplace, it ensures a high level of user acceptance. Our experience in customer projects has shown that the early conception of a comprehensive search is a decisive building block for the successful introduction of the digital workplace. The more data silos or new systems for the digital workplace are created, the less you know where to find the relevant information, the longer you spend with searching, and unfortunately also: the more likely you use the wrong information for a making decisions.

A further essential aspect is not only to find relevant information, but to analyze it and put it in relation to each other. This requires that the software running in the background provides a deep linguistic understanding of the text which can only be achieved with highly sophisticated AI technology. The aim is to bring together man and machine, to combine the best properties of man and machine. Artificial intelligence is not intended to replace humans, but to provide them with optimal support in their work.

In the end, software is useful if people like to use it. Even if it may sound simple at first, this is the crucial advantage of the digital workplace: that employees can quickly and easily access interconnected information from anywhere.

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The Author

Manuel Brunner

Manuel Brunner is an expert on search technologies. Since 2008 he has been working for IntraFind Software AG and led the team Professional Services for many years before he took over the areas Partner Management & Business Development in his new role.

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