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Making Workplace Tech Easier to Use

Article posted on Marginalia

By Gloria Lombardi

 

Large organisations have been undergoing digital transformation for a number of years, but has enough been done to ensure that their employees have the right tools and content to work productively? enter mhub – a digital workplace app designed to give access to all the information and tools that they need to work more productively.

mHub’s mission is as simple as it is succinct – to make workplace technology easier to use.

Its innovative digital workplace app gives workers quick access to all the information and tools that they need to work productively.

It makes it easy for employees to use popular features from all their work applications from just a single and secure hub. It also gives staff on-demand access to all the digital content that they need.

Fundamentally, it helps companies realise the value of the investments that they have made on their mobile devices and enterprise apps.

In an era where the pace of change in corporations is relentless, mHub’s founder and CEO, Michael Nagle (pictured below), explains that “The reason why enterprises use mHub is that they are investing in digital transformation. The challenge for them is to achieve that transformation quickly.”

He asserts that while it is relatively easy to talk about the digital workplace today, actually creating one requires new thinking and approaches. This challenge has provided mHub with a clear purpose. “It helps companies to stop thinking and talking about it, and actually making it happen.”

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TECHNOLOGY THAT IS EASY TO USE

One of the underlying problems of digital workplace transformation, according to Nagle, has been the mismatch of investment in and actual use of technology. “Research suggests that companies are deploying between 11 and 17 different work applications. Yet, while employers are investing in those tools, most employees just do not use them.” In fact, sometimes the impact of the technology may fade as the tools are too complex. At the same time, “staff do not know what their value is.”

But, mHub wants to eliminate complexity and in turn encourage employees to use the digital tools in which companies have invested. It does this through a powerful API (application programming interface) which provides easier access to all the different workplace applications and the information stored in them. It joins them so that they can be more useful and intuitive for employees to use. In essence it means that instead of having apps that are only used by 10 or 20 per cent of the workforce, by placing them on the mHub platform, companies can achieve over 50% of adoption of those applications.

Nagle uses an analogy linked to a humble household item to explain mHub to organisations. “On my coffee table at home, I have 4 remote controls to operate my TV and the things that are connected to it. Each remote control has around 30 buttons. What we do at mHub is to take the three or five buttons that are most frequently used and place them into one simple control. So, it is easier for workers to use the most important features from the tools they use regularly, unlocking the value of the apps and hardware devices.”

Large companies have already adopted mHub and are reaping the benefits. One of them is a leading global technology firm which has 55,000 members of staff. 90% of them are using the mHub digital workplace app to access on-demand, video-based internal communications and training. Through mHub, they can access the Jive enterprise social network (ESN) and have open and transparent conversations about the content that they consume. Which increases the adoption of Jive.

Meanwhile, a well known global telecommunication company is using mHub to improve the collaboration among its Sales teams. Employees access a mobile sales toolkit and interact by using a combination of Salesforce Chatter and Yammer from the single mHub app.

gloria

 

GUIDING ENTERPRISES TOWARDS DIGITAL MATURITY

Guiding enterprises towards digital maturity is a key focus for Nagle and his team. And, it is part of their mission to enhance the use of social and mobile workplace technologies.

He believes that digitally mature companies have already adopted a strategy that includes cloud and the effective use of analytics. For him, the smartest organisations have also nailed knowledge sharing. “They recognise that all the information that they have is underutilised when it is locked in silos. They have invested in technology that let employees easily find, share and utilise all that data”.

But, the most notable trait of those organisations is that “they don’t sit on their hands.”

In fact, the idea of ‘Inertia is a greater risk than innovation’ comes from Carlo Gagliardi, Co-lead of PwC’s Digital Practise, who has pointed out before that doing nothing is much riskier than embracing change. As Nagle puts it: “Digitally mature companies disrupt themselves. They reinvent themselves. They do it faster, cheaper, and often better that they competitors. They bring innovation into their business by trying different things out. They run proof of concepts, measure the impact of their efforts so they can see what works and what doesn’t.”

Indeed, it is about nurturing a culture of experimentation.

“The rules are changing and technology is accelerating that change. The whole process of developing tools and understanding how they can help companies to operate more effectively is all about becoming more agile.”

But not only with the technology. Companies have started to realize that “they need to be in a permanent state of beta when they think of, create, and deliver services and products to their workforce, partners and customers.”

 

AUTHENTIC CONTENT, AND VALUED-BASED ORGANISATIONS

In recent years many organisations have contributed to a proliferation of new content, which is “short, sweet and on-demand.”

But, the biggest trait that Nagle is seeing is around authenticity. For instance, leadership communications. “People in the modern workplace are not prepared to accept the communications from the top that have been commonplace in businesses of old. When a leader speaks to a workforce now, employees need to feel – it is an emotional connection – that the person is authentic and transparent.”

This move is part of making companies more democratic. “Businesses are breaking down layers of hierarchy. Workers want to follow leaders and colleagues that they believe in. And, they want to work for businesses that are value-based, and that are trying to make their industry, or the world, a better place.”

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WORKPLACE TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE

For Nagle, the tools that employees will use in years to come will have to be intuitive. Indeed, sometimes technology can be a growing headache for staff rather than a work companion. “Training workers to use technology is just outdated thinking. Employees do not want training. They want applications that they know how to use intuitively.”

At the same time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is entering the workplace. As those systems continue to grow, Nagle believes that they will change fundamentally the digital experience of employees. In fact, mHub is already using AI to improve its search capability. “When workers conduct a search of all the different applications and documents that are connected to mHub, the technology observes and learns their interests. It displays results and makes recommendations based on what it believes will be most important to them, at any point in time.”

Nagle also suggests looking at the rise of virtual assistants. For a hint of the phenomenon he is referring to, take the example of the call centres. One of his clients told him recently that over 60% of the calls to their contact centres will be answered by AI agents in about 18-month time.

But, how should employers respond to this revolution? Nagle’s answer is to adjust to the new conditions.

“I lived through the early dot-com industry. There was a term at the time, ‘adapt or die’. I think that this rule still applies today.”

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