The year 2021 has begun with a significant transformation in work life as remote and hybrid work have become a permanent part of the daily lives of organizations. According to a survey conducted by Microsoft, 82% of respondents in the European research said that productivity remained unchanged or increased, despite people working remotely. The numbers are impressive, of course, but they have their downsides.
The study also shows that the innovative corporate culture was not nurturing innovations the same way as before. The number of respondents reporting new product and service innovations decreased from 56% last year to 40%. The trend is worrying and underlines the importance of digital processes and the tools and practices that support them.
Building trust and sense of community in the era of remote working
Luottamuksen sekä yhteenkuuluvuuden rakentaminen ja vahvistaminen ovat entistä tärkeämmässä roolissa siiloutumisen lisäännyttyä ja tiimien innovatiivisuuden kokonaisuudessaan laskettua. Edellä viittaamani Microsoftin selvityksen mukaan johtajien yksi tärkeimmistä prioriteeteista nykytilanteessa on tukea tiimiensä työtä ja kehittää organisaation työskentelytapoja.
Building and strengthening trust and cohesion will play an increasingly important role as employees become more siloed and team innovation decreases. According to the Microsoft study I referred to above, one of the top priorities for managers in the current situation is to support the work of their teams and develop the way the organization works.
61% of the managers who responded to the survey say they do not feel prepared to delegate to or empower hybrid teams. Yet 56% of employees say they do not feel they get the support they need from senior staff. This kind of gap to be filled requires digital processes that support and continuously develop the discoverability, accessibility and management of information and documents, as well as transparency in processes and practices, as my colleague Jere wrote earlier.
So, the information must be available, regardless of time and place and device, as effortlessly and quickly as possible. As noted in the Microsoft study, innovation arises in organizations when people feel connected to their colleagues, able to speak up their ideas and to experiment and take considered risks together.
Digital processes support innovation
With the policies and processes defined based on what I mentioned above are clear, it is effortless and agile to tailor the technical solutions that support their successful use, i.e., tools for everyday use, to fit the needs and goals of the organization.
As a partner supporting our customers’ digital transformation, we developed a solution to support innovation activities, where innovation initiatives are stored in a central database. Their processing has also been streamlined into a digital process through automation. The database of innovation initiatives is open to all users of the organization in support of the promotion of a transparent work culture.
The solution utilizes easy-to-use forms built with PowerApps, part of the Microsoft Power Platform service offering, through a mobile user interface. There are not many data fields on the form, some of which are predefined options, and it is also possible to add attachments.
Virtual innovation development with Microsoft Power Platform solutions
To ensure consistent and comparable data, a rule section is available for users to read before submitting the actual initiative. Utilizing the guidance sections of such unified procedures at different stages of applications is complemented by the workflows provided by Microsoft Power Automate.
They combine data from different systems and other user interfaces and complement and show or hide the data fields on the form as the process progresses to the next step.
The tool used by the initiative handlers is built to be simple but comprehensive enough to provide the requested information, so that pre-approval of initiatives is as smooth as possible before they are processed by an innovation team that meets at regular intervals. The team evaluates each initiative and justifies its rejection or approval. The information is stored in the database for all users to see.
Microsoft solutions promote virtual work together and individually
The solutions I describe provide tools for the systematic processing and storage of information and documents electronically, accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. The sense of togetherness is already enhanced by the availability and transparency of information, but digital processes are further complemented by Microsoft Teams and its comprehensive capabilities for communicating and managing tasks and projects from a single application.
Power Platform applications, reports, and workflows can be integrated into an organization’s workgroup models in Teams. They strengthen the trust experienced by employees and the sense of togetherness by automating the operating environment in accordance with defined practices to make the process consistent and predictable.
Power Platform and Teams are just a fraction of the cloud services Microsoft provides that increase and facilitate collaboration and day-to-day work. Microsoft 365 and Office provide services for organizations of all sizes to meet different needs related to digital transformation.
A technical supplier or a strategic digital partner?
However, staying up to date and introducing new innovations such as simple functionalities into everyday life poses challenges for each IT department employee from time to time. As technologies evolve at a rapid pace in the transformation of modern working life, the support of a knowledgeable and experienced partner is increasingly needed on both the training and consulting fronts.
Take a closer look at our customers’ stories of how our partnership with them has streamlined and optimized day-to-day operations for both users and company management, and for all other staff.
For more information, see:
- Teams for power use
- The importance of data warehousing in knowledge management
- Contract management solution example
- From the basics of project management to selection of a technical solution