The Cloud Experience Everywhere

3 Lessons HPE Learned When Building Smarter Digital Workplaces – for HPE

I often hear smart digital workplaces described as the “workplace of the future.” And that’s one way to think about these next-gen platforms, with their pervasive connectivity, location awareness technologies, wayfinding apps, automated room reservation systems and more. But I also like to point out that smart digital workplaces are a very practical and demonstrated reality right now, today.


We at HPE are so confident of the value of fully digital, intelligent workplaces that we're leveraging them for our own company. We have deployed an intelligent workplace solution at our UK headquarters in London, and on February 12 our President and CEO Antonio Neri inaugurated HPE’s new headquarters building in San Jose with the same solution. Working closely with our Global Real Estate team, HPE Pointnext plans to roll it out to many more locations over the next few years. Our current rollout continues our objective of creating the next generation of smart digital workplaces, which began with the Santa Clara offices of Aruba, an HPE Company. You can read here how Aruba’s digital workplace provides VIP experiences for employees, customers, partners and visitors. This is something we really believe in, and we’re using it to transform the way our company works.

As we’ve implemented this technology at our own facilities, we’ve naturally learned some important lessons along the way. I’ve crystalized our experience into three guidelines that can help companies maximize the impact of workplace modernization:

1. Don’t underestimate the positive impact on employee satisfaction. This was a real eye-opener for us – the degree to which employees associate their job satisfaction with the level of technology that’s available to them. Of course, there are many pillars of work satisfaction; workplace technology may not carry the same weight as, say, compensation or job growth prospects. But in our surveys, we found that it’s often surprisingly close. Employees see it as an indicator of a positive company culture, one that’s forward-looking, growth-oriented, and committed to giving its people the support they need.

There’s another crucial aspect to the technology-culture connection. The right technology builds a culture of innovation. When employees are tethered to a desk, or they lack the tools to collaborate and spark creativity, you end up with a maze of silos: a “culture of me.” But when the technology starts to dissolve those boundaries and inspire people to be more open, imaginative and sharing, there's a fundamental culture shift towards new ways of thinking. In the long term, that boost to innovation will be reflected in corporate performance.

So this is something that we hadn't quite understood when we started down this road – the far-reaching cultural changes that companies can achieve by pulling the technology lever. You can help employees navigate the transition and embrace a more collaborative culture with a solid change management program. HPE Management of Change services can help you prepare and support your people to be successful in the new digital workplace.

2. Make the best use of your existing investments. Another core learning for us was the importance of integrating with current systems right from the start. A good example is the challenge we faced when deploying our mobile smart workplace app, HPE myWorkplace, for employees at our San Jose and London offices. For many of their daily work routines, employees depend on Microsoft Skype for Business. When they’re booking desks or rooms, and they intend to invite other individuals to these workspaces, there’s an implicit assumption that if meeting participants are not able to join physically, they should be able to do so remotely. So they use MS Skype for Business for that.

As simple as it may sound, embedding a Skype for Business invite into a dynamic space booking capability involves a number of things that have to happen on the back-end in order to get those systems integrated and talking together. But we wanted to make sure that our users could easily arrange remote dialing for location-based meetings.

What this highlighted was the need to really hone in on the core tools, expectations, requirements, and desires of your employees, and to understand not only what they want for their future, but also how they work today. At any company, there will be some things that should be left behind, and others that do need to be taken into the future. Understanding the line of demarcation is crucial. Overlook a critical element of the existing workplace experience and you could see a drop in overall employee satisfaction.

This is where HPE GreenLake Intelligent Workplace Lighthouse Program gives you a real edge (see my blog A Smarter Way to Build a Smarter Digital Workplace). Our consumption-based digital workplace solution is customizable and extensible through open APIs, so you can integrate your existing mission-critical applications and systems of record, or add new applications as needed.

3. Build your way forward. While moving to a new building is an ideal opportunity to install an intelligent workspace, you can certainly use the facilities you already have. And you don’t have to do a big-bang rollout to the whole company. Find out which line of business would have the most interest in a workplace modernization project and do a rapid deployment on existing floor space. You can run the environment for say three months, learn what works well, and then iterate. HPE Pointnext can help you do this kind of rapid experimentation; you can pick the vendors you like, or HPE Pointnext can do that for you – your choice.

To learn how HPE is helping companies build the “workplace of the future” today, read how Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, helped Deloitte create a digital workplace at its Amsterdam office. Deloitte’s CIO in the Netherlands describes it as “the smartest building in Europe,” and says that “the technology we’ve been able to deploy throughout the building has changed the way we work.” Or check in with your HPE account rep to schedule a proof-of-concept.

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Global Solution Strategist