Digital workplace as a solution for business continuity

A global pandemic has accelerated the process of digital transformation for many companies. Nowadays, the key question we need to answer is how we can provide business continuity and agility of the workers in the current environment. Businesses who were before considering to embrace the digital workspace and drive the process of the transformation nowadays must implement it to stay competitive.

Digital workplace as a concept has been first defined by Jeffrey Bier in the late 1990s. There are different definitions of the digital workplace (DWP), but in essence, it is the concept that is a digital equivalent of the physical workspace. (Marshall, 2015)

To be able to use the concept of the digital workplace in the companies, workers must achieve digital literacy. The key platform of the DWP is Enterprise Collaboration Systems (ECS). These systems are designed to enable access to the content, effectively share the information and documents, enable business processes, and implement security policies for access and control. They need to be flexible and adaptable to the various business functions.

Large software companies like IBM, Microsoft and Atlassian are dominating the market. (Clara and Susan, 2017). DWP can be achieved through various tools such as Desktop or application virtualization (IBM, 2020) or a set of collaborative SaaS solutions like Microsoft 365 or Confluence.

ECS can be divided into three structures: platform, community, and content. (Williams and Schubert, 2018)

To increase the effectiveness of DWP in the organization Beir (2000) defines a five Cs: (Beir, 2000):

Comprehensible: which means to have a minimal learning curve.

Contagious: All parties must have a clear vision of the benefits of the platform. It also has to be secure and trusted.

Cross-enterprise: must be globally available not only for the employees but also for the outside partners, suppliers, and similar.  That can be achieved through the cloud technologies

Complete: It must be stored and accessible in a central location.

Connected: DWP must be connected with the other systems such as finance, procurement, HR and other systems.

We need to ask the question: why some companies have hesitated to implement the concept of DWP?

That could be explained mainly that managers thought that ROI (Return on Investment) was low for such a comprehensive overhaul for the business. Pandemic became a wake-up call for many of them, and now they need to adapt quickly and efficiently, and business continuity was more significant benefit than the ROI. (Marshal, 2020)


BEIR, J. 2000. The Digital Workplace — Follow this five-point plan to maximum e- ffectiveness across an extended enterprise. VARbusiness, 16, PG40.

CLARA, G. & SUSAN, W. 2017. Enterprise collaboration systems: addressing adoption challenges and the shaping of sociotechnical systems. International journal of information systems and project management, 5, 5-23.

IBM. 2020. IBM Services for Desktop Virtualization [Online]. Available: [Accessed].

MARSHAL, S. 2020. Your post-pandemic digital workplace [Online]. Available: [Accessed].

MARSHALL, S. 2015. A digital workplace definition [Online]. Available: [Accessed].

WILLIAMS, S. P. & SCHUBERT, P. 2018. Designs for the Digital Workplace. Procedia Computer Science, 138, 478-485.

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