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A digital workplace, by any name, is where it’s the enterprise buzz is at. But what is a digital workplace? According to the people who use one, it’s the hub in which employees not only collaborate with peers, but also manage most of their work.

The idea of a digital workplace or workspace, or hub—call it what you will—is one of those amorphous concepts that seems to take the shape of whoever is leading the initiative and whatever business challenges they’re trying to solve. So, when I hear one or another of these terms, or other variations, I always have to stop and think, “OK, what is ‘digital workspace’ this time, exactly?!”

A half-dozen years ago, in a post she wrote for WorkSpace Connect sister site, No Jitter, my colleague Robin Gareiss, Metrigy CEO, described the high-level function of a digital workplace as integrating, customizing, and leveraging technology to make people more productive. “By consolidating numerous enterprise apps, collaboration apps, electronic forms, and functions into a single, personalized dashboard, accessed by any device anywhere, people can work more efficiently,” she said.

At the time, some pitched the idea of the digital workplace as an extension of a traditional corporate intranet. Robin argued that it was much more, particularly because it would incorporate much more, including communications and collaboration applications. Today, we often hear that those very things, especially team collaboration apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, are the digital workplace platforms themselves.

In Metrigy’s “Workplace Collaboration: 2023-24” global study of 440 companies, 52.7% say they view their team collaboration app as the hub in which employees not only collaborate with peers, but also manage most of their work. The 29.3% that view team collaboration as “just a messaging app” might want to reconsider: Two thirds of the most successful companies benchmarked for this study think of their team collaboration app as their central work hub (with success determined by revenue growth, cost savings, and productivity improvements).

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