#dwtech18 „You can’t buy a digital workplace.“ says Sam Marshall and gives a preview of his keynote.

In event planning, some of the titles are first of all working titles and they will become more concrete up to the event itself. So it may well be that the title of Sam Marshall’s keynote will still be modified. In terms of content, however, Sam’s wealth of experience will cover all conceivable modifications, regardless of the title. A look at his biography and answers proves this.

Sam Marshall is the owner of ClearBox Consulting and has specialised in intranets and the digital workplace for over 18 years, working with companies such as AstraZeneca, Vodafone, TUI Travel, Sony and GSK. His current activities focus on intranet and digital workplace strategy, the business side of SharePoint, and the use of social tools for collaboration and internal communication.

Sam was responsible for Unilever’s global portal implementation, leading the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into one.

He is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences and was named a ‘Contributor of the year’ for his CMSWire column in 2015, 2016 and 2017. In 2015 Sam was given the Intranet Now award for ‚remarkable contribution to the intranet community‘. He has an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, an MA in Psychology and more bicycles than shoes.

Sam, which three hashtags identify your keynote?

#digitalworkplace #EmployeeExperience #strategy

You will speak about the Digital Workplace Ecosystem. A brief overview: what are the main components of this ecosystem?

We see the digital workplace as a set of capabilities or services that should be provided for the organisation. Broadly, these should cover communication and engagement; collaboration; finding and sharing;, business applications and agile working. These are not tools or features.

The technology will change over time or be fulfilled in multiple ways, but they are enduring needs. They also require people and processes behind them to qualify as a service too. See ‘a digital workplace definition’.

The second part of the keynote title is called „From Collaboration to Productivity & Process Support“. This sounds like development stages of a roadmap. Why is this procedure recommended?

You can’t buy a digital workplace; it is a concept not a product and nearly every organisation already has a digital workplace, even if nobody ever said they were responsible for it. Having a roadmap helps us thing strategically about how to evolve it over time.

We need to recognise that we can’t change everything at once, but be able to make confident incremental changes that don’t lead to problems later down the line.

On your website you write, „the digital workplace is the concept that there is a virtual equivalent to the physical workplace..“. We now know that digitality in technological understanding creates better possibilities than the physical workplace, digital in understanding a new or different behaviour is a critical success factor. Isn’t the image of an equivalent too limited?

In developing a vision for our digital workplaces, we want to go beyond replicating what we have in the physical world. However, we should remember that people intuitively understand how face to face collaboration works (we’ve been doing it for centuries), so it can be useful starting point to say “in the past we did it like X, and now we’re going to do it like Y” as part of a digital transformation.

IT tends to attract people who are good at abstract thinking, we should always be mindful that others need more concrete examples or they will not change!

What are your expectations of the Digital Workplace Tech FORUM?

I’m really excited to have a day focussed on the digital workplace and look forward to hearing how organisations are approaching it and what their challenges are. I’d like to think I’m very approachable, so hope to have some good one to one conversations in the breaks too.

Sam, thank you very much and we are looking forward to your Keynote. And another thing seems to be certain: Sam Marshall and Thomas Koch from Kongress Media will have a lot in common, I’m just saying: Bicycles 😉

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Ellen Trude
Ellen Trude, nach 28 Jahren Tätigkeit in Aus- und betrieblicher Weiterbildung der Bayer AG mit stets neuen und meist innovativen Projekten und Aufgaben nunmehr in einer gesunden Mischung aus Vorruhestand und Aktivitäten rund um Workplace (Arbeiten 4.0 / Digitalisierung) und Lernen (Lernen 4.0 / Social Learning) unterwegs - meist digital.

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