Monday, April 3, 2017
In the course of the last decades, digitalisation has not only arrived in the infrastructure of companies, but also at most desks which leads to daily challenges. Danish economy expert Janus Boye who is the head of a network which deals with the changes due to digitalisation that companies face every day will be visiting the byte5 office on the 4th of May and give a masterclass concerning this topic. Sabine Beck who is responsible for the German-speaking network groups of his company J. Boye explains in this interview what the new conditions are about and why it is so important for companies to stick together nowadays.
How did the meaning of workplace digitalisation change in practice?
Sabine Beck: More and more employees and executives experience this. The digital workplace is becoming more and more present and it raises a lot of questions. Workplace digitalisation means change. The latter is gaining more complexity and is getting more short-term. And it touches all factors of work life – starting at the desk and going all the way up to the management style. The changes the actual digitalisation brings need to be managed more than the new digital opportunities themselves. When you have a digital workplace, you can always do more. There will be a lot of new skills needed to fill new positions.
© Boye & Co.
Are there any examples which demonstrate this?
Sabine Beck: Two examples come to mind immediately. Firstly, the strong focus on the topic of change at our event. Every speaker has another main emphasis but the topic of change is relevant to all of them. Change is a big challenge! Secondly, the search for fitting qualifications and job descriptions for digital workspaces. Classical professional fields don’t work anymore. A member from our network, an executive in a Swiss financial institution, told me a while ago that he needs hybrid roles for his team. Specialisations in IT or marketing are not enough anymore in the digital workspace.
Can you tell to what extent this change is demanding for companies – or maybe even asks too much of them?
Sabine Beck: The situation is demanding and overwhelming at the same time, actually. The demands come from the both the outside and the inside world of a company.
There is a wish to keep up with others and a wish to participate actively in the digital transformation. Media, clients but also employees have these wishes. Complexity and rapidity lead to an overwhelming feeling – paired with the difficulty to understand and define what you are doing or are supposed to be doing.
What do you suggest as a strategy to go through this process “unhurt”?
Sabine Beck: This might sound simple – and maybe it is: learning from another and sharing knowledge. This is the credo of our international network with its peer-to-peer groups. It is incredibly grounding and inspirational when you know how others do a certain thing. “Learning from another” is also a kind of guideline in the digital world. User orientation and design thinking are central catchwords. It takes an almost revolutionary change in the ways of thinking and a new mindset to apply and use these methods consistently. Long-term project plans are running out of fashion. What is most important is a progress that works bit by bit, often in unusually assembled teams. This method is entirely new for a lot of people and up to now, it is “not allowed”. Which brings us back to the topic of change. You need courage to try things with other people or companies and to let go of known things.
One of the main topics is the question where digital freedom in communication reaches limits. Can this question be answered in a few sentences?
Sabine Beck: A very interesting topic! The digital channels and platforms create dialogues and discussions which would have never taken place like this a while ago. You have to deal with this topic and that’s good. At the same time, there is content in each system or company which you need to handle with care in order to reach objectives or avoid damage and irritations. You reach limits here. To steer this in a digital world is an increasing challenge for communication executives.
Who are the speakers sharing their knowledge at your event?
Sabine Beck: Every speaker is a friend or a member of the J. Boye Group network. They come from different branches, international professional fields and companies. In this way, we can take a close look at the topic of digital workplace and discuss it with the guests. This was a very important factor to us concerning our event. Everyone shares our stance that it makes sense to share knowledge at eye level and learn from another. We are really very happy that they all are on board!