How tech teams can build the custom workplaces they need
From the skillsets around the table, to the tech stack being used, every organisation’s tech function is unique. With this in mind, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for optimising its performance. Instead, organisations need to focus on empowering their IT teams to undertake their own fine-tuning—through two types of customisation.
The first is the customisation of schedules. Enabling tech teams to work when and where it suits them best is a key driver of greater productivity. In fact, research from Future Forum shows that workers who have full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus than those with no ability to shift their schedule.
The second area where organisations must empower customisation is around the tech stack and processes. Technology teams are tasked with using and managing dozens, or even hundreds, of apps — research shows that at large employers, as many as 187 different apps are deployed every year. Maximising the value of these tools requires optimising how they are integrated together, while also driving efficiency through automation.
Both these customisations are distinct challenges, yet they have a common solution: the digital headquarters (HQ). By using a digital HQ to centralise work, organisations can empower every tech team with the level of customisation they need to work effectively. So, what exactly is the digital HQ, and how can it deliver the customisation tech teams need to thrive?
Delivering flexibility through the digital HQ
The digital HQ acts as a single digital space where work flows between tech teams, partners, and customers. It’s a space where everyone can come together, find the information they need, align behind objectives, and execute work faster.
One of the primary ways the digital HQ helps teams customise schedules is by taking work out of bottomless email inboxes or endless meetings and placing it into channels—which act as a way of organising conversations around topics, projects, or initiatives. In any given channel, everyone involved in a specific piece of work has visibility of the latest updates, access to the right files, and the ability to instantly search for anything they need.
This means that information-sharing is no longer anchored to inflexible meetings or physical locations—and it doesn’t hit a brick wall like it would when someone forgets to CC the right person on an email. Instead, everyone has the updates they need, when they need them. What’s more, with the ability to share asynchronous audio and video clips, teams can catch up on key information at the best time for them.
Not only does this mean IT personnel don’t need to interrupt their flow by hopping in and out of meetings, but for global tech teams, the ability to collaborate asynchronously simplifies handovers across time zones, making for more efficient problem solving.
In short, the digital HQ enables IT teams to customise the where and when of work, enabling them to build flexible schedules that fit their needs.
However, it also enables them to rethink how they work together, optimise their workflows, and ultimately collaborate faster and more effectively.
Customising workflows in the digital HQ
The digital HQ doesn’t just act as a single space that brings people together—it does the same for tools.
Whether it’s project tracking updates from Jira or an incident response alert from Pagerduty, integrations in the digital HQ can be shared directly to the channel, meaning tech teams have all the information they need in one place. In combination with automated workflows—which can, for example, create an automatic set of steps to be followed when there’s an outage of a customer-facing product—integrations mean less time switching between apps and more time solving challenges.
However, while off-the-shelf integrations with third-party apps boost visibility of key updates, the potential for customisation doesn’t end there. Vodafone is just one example of a company where the tech team is taking customisation up a notch.
As a fast-developing international company, the tech team at Vodafone has an ever-evolving org chart. That means keeping pace with which teams are available and working on what products can be a huge task. To simplify this, the team built a custom search integration into the digital HQ—enabling users to enter a quick /slash command to pull up relevant information on who is working on what. With another command integration showing the teams responsible for specific services.
Together, these customisations have made identifying and reaching the right member of the tech team at Vodafone faster than ever.
Greater customisation means stronger problem solving
At their heart, tech teams are problem solvers. And solving problems requires an ability to focus, collaborate quickly, and to effectively use the best tools for the job at hand.
By driving up customisation—whether in when and where people work, or how they are executing—the digital HQ can boost the agility of IT departments. It reduces reliance on the outmoded, inflexible approaches to work (and tools like email that underpin them) that hold teams back.
IT teams know how to best customise and optimise their approaches. For organisations then, the task is simple—they need to put that power in their hands, and that starts with the digital HQ.