The emergence of the internet, organisational intranets, followed by social media and cloud computing have accelerated the evolution of the digital workplace.

Established digital businesses are already deploying the latest trends in digital workplace software, with others striving to achieve digital transformation and deliver the latest in workforce ecosystems. This activity is driving the demand for new platforms and applications.

Digital workplace software enables and improves business operations, communication, employee well-being and retention and helps to fuel global industry’s inevitable and ongoing digital progression

Why A Digital Workplace?

A digitally empowered society is where we’ve been headed since the industrial revolution. Technology and the production of high-tech products and services drives new and profitable markets. Manual processes are increasingly replaced as relentless digitalisation forces businesses and employees to adapt or be left behind.

  • Technology speeds up the way we work and how quickly businesses can deliver products and services to market.
  • Our workplaces, remote or office-based, are connected environments where instant access to data or collaborator knowledge is needed.
  • Digitalisation and technology cut costs and delivers efficiencies.
  • To attract and retain talent we must supply the technology-driven environment and deliver the digital workplace employees expect.
  • Businesses must achieve digital transformation to compete, to do this a digital workplace is crucial.

Companies of every size and sector are expected to provide collaborative digital systems for their employees. These applications and platforms must facilitate hyper-fast communication, deliver digital work execution tools, feed efficiency improvements, and integrate seamlessly with one another.

Today’s digital workplace software stack must provide email, project and task feeds, file migration, document creation and sharing, as well as inclusive and interactive workplaces. It’s all about digital engagement, collaboration, and productivity.

The Digital Workplace – The Opportunity In Numbers

  • Research and Markets puts the value of the digital workplace market, including digital platforms, environment, and tools, at
    $29 billion for 2018. It projects the market will reach a value of $79 billion by 2024.
  • Markets and Markets expects unified communications and collaborations technologies to be the largest part of the growing digital workplace software market between now and 2023.
  • Meanwhile, a Deloitte study found today’s workers prefer newer collaboration tools with instant messaging features over traditional tools like email. And, that organisations which implement social media tools internally find a 20% increase in employee satisfaction. This increase in employee satisfaction leads to an 87% increase in employee retention.

So, What Are Today’s Trends In Digital Workplace Software?

Digital workplace innovations inundate a diverse and competitive market. Buyers aren’t always biased towards traditional digital brands and just as easily choose nimble new technologies. Here are just a few of the latest, greatest, and otherwise notable.

Work Execution Platforms
Of the stalwarts, Microsoft’s Office 365 platform of digital document creation tools still carves out its niche in the market. Microsoft’s move to the cloud enables users to operate, migrate, and work wherever they need.

But Microsoft’s products and even Google’s tools are faced with innovative competitors that combine work execution with collaboration. Take Smartsheet for example, it combines spreadsheet build with visual timeline management, collaborative file sharing and discussion, and automated workflow functionality. And, Smartsheet integrates with Google’s applications and programs like Salesforce.

Document Sharing, PDF and e-Sgning Software
Adobe Acrobat has dominated the PDF software market but agile alternatives like Nitro Pro are gaining ground. By 2018 Nitro had 650,000 business users, including over half of Fortune 500 companies. Nitro Pro creates and converts PDFs from over 300 different file formats and offers content editing, document signing, form filling, review and markup features as well as a host of security options for sensitive documents.

DocuSign is well-rated for its cloud-based electronic signature software where contracts, agreements, forms, and other documents, are stored and shared. Forms and contracts can be completed and signed online by permissioned and identified parties. This offer is both time and cost-efficient.

DocuSign estimates that written agreements in traditional work environments which need to be completed and sent electronically cost

“an average of $36 per agreement in wasted productivity and materials.”

As well as mainstream tools there are also niche products. Take Bluebeam which converts documents and CAD drawings into PDFs and scanned images into text searchable documents. It is used heavily in construction, architecture, oil and gas industries. Bluebeam has a bespoke suite of markup tools including CAD symbols and users can create custom markups.

Collaboration Tools
In today’s unified, real-time, but also often remote work environments collaboration tools are described as “business-critical.” A recent poll of over 2,000 IT buyers and leaders found 73% planned to spend more of their budgets for 2020 on collaboration software. Industry publication IT Pro Portal writes that once an organisation finds the right tool to suit its needs and teams…

“organisations can expect improved team productivity, lower costs, easier management and less administrative work.”

TeamViewer is a remote desktop application and remote connectivity platform enabling users to remotely access their office desktop, files, and applications. Support personnel can centrally manage, monitor, access, and protect all devices on a network. TeamViewer also provides an alternative solution to physical meetings, where participants can share screens and annotate from their own systems.

Inclusive Workplaces
The digital software market must also meet demand for inclusive workplaces, where employees with disabilities whether visible or hidden are supported.

A 2018 study by Accenture found that businesses actively seeking to employ people with disabilities outperform those that do not. Their revenues were higher, net income was nearly double, and employee retention was at nearly 90%.

Assisted technology software can include screen readers, voice recognition, and conversion and reading assistants, and Texthelp is one solution making workplaces more accessible.

Texthelp helps to make corporate and public sector websites and services more user-friendly for people who need help with reading or lack confidence online.

Migration, Optimisation, and Integration Software
The fast pace of digital transformation and constant flow of new software to market drives businesses to new and better technology, needing to migrate their current documents and projects seamlessly.

Sharegate is one tool that accelerates migration processes to SharePoint and Office 365 versions and its compatible with work stored on File Shares and Google Drive.

Password Security in An Online World
Password reuse is a major threat to company security, with 59% of people mostly or always using the same password. A recent LastPass survey revealed that employees have password fatigue, with the average employee expected to have about 25 unique logins at larger companies.

LastPass Teams is an ideal password solution for businesses of 50 or less, with password storage, convenient password sharing, and an easy-to-manage dashboard; while LastPass Enterprise automates and scales password management for the whole business with directory integrations, custom security policies, and more.

What Next for The Digital Workplace?

Digital transformation will continue unabated over the next decade, driving the demand for innovative workspaces and even more digital workplace tools.

Remote working and diverse teams around the globe need new ways to collaborate effectively and feel part of an organisation no matter where it is based.

Cloud technologies are now but the future will see further machine learning and AI integration in products, with perhaps even some virtual reality environments. Software built on blockchain networks may also begin to permeate the market. This emerging technology offers a distributed alternative for storing and sharing data with secure, real-time, accessibility for authorised users.

Though the predictions vary for the likely value of the digital workplace software market what’s certain is that there is a billion-dollar opportunity for software vendors.

Market revenue may not be centred with just a few technology giants. Innovation in the market, and the resulting diversity of software offerings combined with a hunger from businesses to find the perfect platforms for their teams could see numerous digital workplace software developers, and thus vendors, sharing the wealth from this fast-growing market.