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Companies investing in the future workspace need help to ensure they take the right approach and that any new tools and services introduced deliver the desired benefits. Partnerships with service providers and technology vendors are becoming essential for enterprises looking to make sense of an increasingly complex landscape. Ovum recently surveyed IT leaders to understand when this need for support is most critical, and which elements of the digital workspace are proving the most challenging.

Overall, around three-quarters of organizations believe they need external assistance at some stage when introducing new tools to support more effective working. While the design, planning, and implementation phases are when the most significant amount of support is needed, over 80% of businesses say they need some external help up-front in setting strategy. And almost as many (76%) require some ongoing support and management.

There are many suppliers vying for the attention of IT leaders when it comes to introducing a digital workplace. They include IT service providers, SIs, consultancies, IT vendors, telcos, and industry specialists. While IT vendors and service providers are currently providing the most support, our research shows that most enterprises are willing to partner with just about any of these provider types – perhaps a reflection of just how much help they need. Enterprises face many challenges in building a digital workplace – they need to introduce new tools and train staff in how to use them, they need to consider integration with other systems, and they must always ensure security and industry compliance. With an overstretched IT department, and with legacy systems to support too, they need external help in many areas. It is clear that, when seeking out potential partners to work with, IT leaders are looking for a mix of skills. Understanding collaboration needs, network and connectivity capability, consulting and planning skills, support capability, and industry sector expertise were all seen as essential in our research.

Two areas stand out in terms of where support is needed: help with putting in place services and tools to support a mobile workforce (for example through endpoint and application management) and assistance in leveraging emerging technologies, such as IoT, AI, and CPaaS. Other important areas are the introduction of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) and enterprise social tools, and desktop and application virtualization. Interestingly, many organizations are also looking for external assistance with the more human elements of the workplace, such as introducing flexible working practices and designing more collaborative office spaces. This is encouraging. Technology choice is clearly important, but too often it is introduced without enough consideration of employee needs. Companies that really succeed in transforming the workplace consider the needs of their employees, as well as the business, from the start.

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