Digital Workplace of the Year 2017: why Vodafone Group impressed the judges

January 31, 2018 Updated: April 20, 2022 by

As a DWG benchmarker, when I see an entry that stands out for its broad, ambitious strategy, its strong business case and comprehensive governance, I know I’m on course to learn about a digital workplace that is built on really solid foundations. The judges evidently felt that way too! They scored the business case and governance especially highly and were evidently impressed by the clear business rationale, employee focus and strategic-level governance.

Following presentation of the award (Digital Workplace of the Year 2017: Runner-up) at Vodafone’s London office, DWG’s CEO Paul Miller commented: “Vodafone really grasped the importance of the digital workplace at a leadership level and made sure they had clear results at a strategy and services level. This company has connected productivity and experience and managed to gain alliances across many stakeholders.”

A true digital workplace strategy

The four key strategy elements, defined following an internal and external benchmarking exercise, help make this a truly digital workplace strategy in scope and ambition. They are:

1. Cloud collaboration
2. Mobility
3. Employee big data
4. Intelligent workplace.

These elements are underpinned by six areas that are currently the focus for transformation, including collaboration, on-boarding and digitizing common tasks.

Comprehensive business case

The strategy is supported by a business case that impressed the judges for being business-led, comprehensive and having a good rationale.

Among other things, it focuses on “digital skills”, “digital dexterity” and “digital empowerment” of employees, making a clear case for why these are critical factors for enabling organizational outcomes such as customer experience and commercial results.

It also recognizes the high percentage of millennials in the Vodafone workplace (49% according to the Vodafone team) and aims to improve employee satisfaction, as well as talent attraction and retention.

Cross-functional governance

As one of the judges commented: “This appears to be one of the more comprehensive governance frameworks that we’ve seen”. With executive sponsorship secured from the CEO, Group HR Director and CTO, the digital workplace has the strategic-level backing it needs to get resourced and make real progress.

The cross-functional involvement is also reflected at the next level in a central governance body responsible for making decisions from a holistic perspective. It includes representatives from HR, Communications, Finance, Property and IT, and is tasked with driving both technological and organizational/cultural change.

There is also a dedicated change and adoption workstream that helps keep a constant focus on stakeholder and user involvement. Initiatives include reverse mentoring for senior leaders with “Digital Ninjas”, a champion network to spread the change throughout the organization, and Vodafone University to support the digital skill transformation.

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Categorised in: Digital workplace, Digital Workplace of the Year Awards

Elizabeth Marsh

Director of Research

Elizabeth Marsh is DWG’s Director of Research and author of its latest report ‘Digital workplace overload: How to reduce employee technostress’ (available free on our website). She’s worked as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in the digital workplace field for over 20 years and is a strong advocate for digital literacy and digital wellbeing at work. Elizabeth is currently doing a PhD at the University of Nottingham focusing on employee technostress and the potential of mindfulness to help reduce it. She also co-authored – with Paul Miller – the book ‘The Digital Renaissance of Work: Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future’.

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