Digital workplace

How IT is shaping the future of the digital workplace

Published May 5, 2022

The accelerated shift to the digital workplace in recent years has changed a lot of things. It’s changed how we work, how we communicate, how we collaborate. And on one level or other, all these changes have to do with technology in the workplace and how we engage with it. 

Software’s shift from being one element of the workplace to becoming the workplace itself has elevated the role of IT. And as the way we work continues to evolve, questions abound:

  • How can IT best manage a company’s tech portfolio in a post-pandemic world? 
  • What’s the best way for IT to facilitate software adoption? 
  • How should they go about forming the right strategy? 

These and other topics were the focus of “Leading through partnership: IT’s role in a post-pandemic work world,” a panel bringing together leading business technology practitioners as part of Guide: The Digital Adoption Summit.

Plotting the right digital course

“Covid brought to light the value that IT brings to the table,” says Enrique Jenkins (VP of Business Technology at Pendo), who will be moderating the panel. Now, one of the biggest challenges companies face post-pandemic is deciding where they go from here. “Are they going to be a hybrid company? A remote-first company? Are they going to try and go back to the way things were pre-Covid? For many businesses, those questions aren’t yet answered, but they still have to find ways to move forward,” he notes.  

Part of moving forward is finding the right ways to continually drive adoption of new tech among employees. “IT needs to help people understand how to best use technology to drive progress,” Jenkins says. Too often, what happens is employees go it alone in purchasing and taking up new tech, which can lead to problems later on—like SaaS sprawl and license proliferation. IT then gets called in to fix the issues further down the line and is forced into taking a reactive approach. The cycle then repeats.

Making IT a partner from the start

A better way forward, Jenkins explains, is for departments and leaders to bring in IT from the beginning. IT can assist with the deployment and rollout of new software while still putting people in a position to act autonomously. “The goal is to empower users to be independent of IT without putting us in a position where IT has to come back later and ‘clean up the mess,’” Jenkins says.  

Building established avenues of partnership with other departments is key to a successful IT strategy. “There was a time when IT sat siloed and dictated how everything went downstream,” Jenkins says, but that time has long passed. “I work with finance. I work with the data team. I work with engineering. We have steering committees for shared initiatives. We take a kind of ‘divide and conquer’ approach to tech,” he explains. 

Keeping users informed and empowered

“A problem that almost every SaaS company is facing today is that they have too many tools and don’t know how they got there,” Jenkins says. What caused this proliferation, he explains, is the way software and its procurement have evolved to bypass the gates of IT. This is not a bad thing per se, but it means that there needs to be continuing dialogue and communication between IT and its cross-departmental partners to rein in sprawl and stay ahead of potential problems. “People often don’t understand what IT is doing behind the scenes. So the more I can communicate with and educate people, the better the outcome for me,” Jenkins says. 

To learn more about IT’s role in shaping the digital workplace, watch the full Guide session below: