There has been a lot of discussion about what a digital workplace might look like, especially by intranet managers who are not sure whether to embrace the concept or to resist it.  Jane McConnell has come up with four digital workplace scenarios,  Paul Miller’s new book on this topic is due out in March and Mark Morrell has been blogging on digital workplace issues for some time.

This excellent report by Stephan Schillerwein (Infocentric Research) provides a complementary ‘information management’ perspective and starts off with an analysis of the work that has been done on the impact of information on organisational performance. There is more evidence than most people realise.  In this opening section I loved the comment that employees are both expensive and bad search engines! The author then discusses what it will take to develop and implement a digital workplace, commenting that a digital workplace is not primarily an IT-system and it can only be effective when completely embedded into all aspects of an organization. This of course is only possible if fully backed by management and accompanied by substantial change management activities.

Much of the discussion about digital workplaces does not actually get into the detail of what such a workplace will offer, and that is one of the many aspects of this report that I liked a great deal. Whether I entirely agree with some of the proposed features is irrelevant, as the purpose of the report is to stimulate further discussion and experimentation.  There is an especially good section towards the end of the report about how to use a balanced scorecard approach to illustrate the value of information management. The only aspect missing from this report is a consideration of who should own information management and sponsor the development of digital workspaces.

Overall this is the best report I have seen so far on digital workplaces, and I would strongly recommend it to any organisation. The presentation is excellent, with some very good charts and diagrams, and I have already added some to my PowerPoint files, with an acknowledgement to Infocentric Research of course!

Martin White