Even though local organisations are starting to take employee enablement more seriously, there is still much work to be done to truly transform how staff work.

A fundamental challenge plaguing companies is how they can break beyond the traditional limitations of people sitting in a central location and instead engage with one another digitally from anywhere in the world. To this end, Microsoft has invested significantly in enhancing its Teams unified communication and collaboration platform.

Engaging differently

But what is employee enablement? Simply put, enablement takes engagement to the next level where it revolves around empowering employees with training, development, and the skills needed to make more informed decisions. In other words, email as a delivery mechanism is no longer good enough.

Thanks to the arrival of the Microsoft Azure data centres last year, more local companies are embracing the transition to the digital workplace. Of course, the level of sophistication will still be determined by the type of industry.

For example, it is not practical for labour-based organisations (think manufacturing and mining) to embrace telecommuting. However, they can still empower their deskless workers to interact with their mobile devices or kiosks in new ways to benefit from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other insights while on site.

Information workers (for example, professional services, insurance, and financial) are starting to benefit from working remotely. While many traditionalists view it as essential to have people in the office, this is starting to change with a willingness to give employees the opportunity to work wherever it suits them while still coming into an office when required.

Evolving workplace

While some local organisations are pushing for the digital enablement of their employees, the country is still far behind what First World markets are doing. However, many of the features needed for a digital workplace only started coming out in the past two years. So, the adoption rate is expected to increase significantly.

Questions around connectivity and data sovereignty used to hold local companies back. However, the local Microsoft Azure data centres address these concerns. Education will still remain important, especially around the benefits of the solutions organisations are currently using.

An example of this is Office 365. Organisations are still only scratching the surface of its potential. They need to fully understand all the aspects around the suite that can deliver employee enablement. Some staff might demand the use of Dropbox to share documents not knowing that OneDrive forms part of the Office environment. It is a case of not realising the broader ecosystem and what is possible.

Making the move

Although the cloud will help drive employee enablement, companies must be aware of how best to use the technology. In Azure, for example, there are more than two thousand different combinations of options geared towards this enablement.

In this context, an organisation must purchase a license set that brings with it the most capabilities. By going the full Office 365 route as opposed to a limited license, more value can be driven over a longer term. It is all about choosing the right licence for the business workload.

This process must start with an audit to assess existing and future company needs. It is especially the enterprise that can benefit from such an exercise given the complexity of its environment. Smaller organisations typically know what they want and focus on a more niche approach.

Even though the physical workplace will never completely disappear, it is becoming less of a constraint in terms of geographic or physical location. Altron Karabina has done much work around remote teaming and interactions using Microsoft Teams for virtual collaborations, meetings, and presentations. The digital workplace means you do not have to have everyone physically present in a room.

Employee enablement is a business priority for the digital workplace. Using mobile platforms to drive this change by equipping employees with the tools and skills needed to do their work more efficiently, can result in more agile organisations capable of adapting to the dynamic market conditions of the connected world.