Analytics: The Heart of Digital Transformation in the Office

Published: 2020-11-04

Analytics are nothing new to business. Sales and marketing departments, for example, have long relied on data and analytics to evaluate the success of campaigns.

Once upon a time, the analysis was done by hand. As computers became more sophisticated, they took over the task of analyzing growing sets of data.

At this point, platforms are able to analyze massive data sets in real time to provide business analytics in a multitude of markets.

For the past few years, many businesses have been building strategies around digital transformation.

This catch-all term can mean different things to different organizations, but the roots of any digital transformation involve some form of collecting data and providing analytics.

“Gaining competitive advantages and enhancing business processes are the top two goals of digital transformation strategies,” says Saundra Merollo, senior sales engineer at Sharp Electronics. “That’s where we are today.”

In order for people to be productive, they need a space that supports their work and provides tools needed to reach their goals.

While the smart office is not a new concept, there is a gap between the modern office and the smart office of the future. Though it doesn’t have to be – the technology to begin to bridge that gap exists today for those ready to properly utilize it.

The Smart Office

According to a McKinsey report, the acceleration of location-based sensor proliferation that is enabling the Internet of Things (IoT) may have an economic impact of more than $11 trillion per year by 2025. “It’s many of those sensors that are pulling analytics data,” says Merollo.

“Analytics stretch far beyond the traditional sales and marketing realms in modern day companies. Analytics stretch the entire length of the workplace – every meeting room, flex space, and beyond for remote employees.”

The meeting space is the perfect example of how analytics fit into digital transformation. Within meeting spaces we see much of the hidden potential of analytics beyond traditional sales and marketing usage.

Occupancy Analytics

Sensors in meeting spaces can identify the number of participants in meetings. Tie that in with scheduling software and you’ll understand which meetings are planned versus ad hoc.

People-counting technology shows how many people are using the space at a given time.

Analysis of this data tells us how to properly utilize space. We may learn that huddle rooms are used more often than larger spaces.

We may find that the conference room on the third floor is almost never used at full occupancy. These findings may lead us to realize that the conference room space upstairs would be better off as several huddle spaces.

These are the insights gained from analytics.

“Space utilization insights can easily identify optimization potential, realize savings, and enhance a company’s overall workspace experience,” says Merollo.

Workspace Analytics

Workspace analytics are constantly using sensors, hotspots, connections, and reservation management systems that all tie into workspace intelligence (WSI).

WSI uses smart office technology in order to maximize workspace usage while minimizing overall space needs.

“When you tie in the analytics, the approach supports the organizations,” says Merollo.

“It considers all the driving solutions, behaviors in surrounding areas, and how people are using all the technology. The software pulls all the data collected from these sensors and produces information so humans can sit down and make educated decisions.”

Anyone can have anecdotal conversations about which spaces are utilized when. However, analytics give us actionable insight into what is happening – they give us facts instead of opinions.

Environmental Analytics

Wellness is a huge boon for organization in today’s modern workplace. Employees feel better when they feel their organization cares for them.

67% of employees say they are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment.

Employees work harder when they feel comfortable and destressed within the workplace. They work better when they’re healthy.

“We thought basketball courts, picnic tables, and walk paths made for a healthys work environment,” says Merollo. “What we’re learning is that indoor air quality can cause a host of negative issues for employees.”

Comfort engineering, a term recently coined, allows you to mitigate productivity loss from uncomfortable work environments due to improper lighting and heating.

It involved understanding the necessary output of air quality based on room occupancy. Tied into environmental analytics systems, you can automate rooms in order to ensure they are using power based on who will be in rooms and when.

When rooms won’t be occupied, that output is no longer necessary. A system like this can reduce energy consumption by 40% and increase net operating by 29%.

“We may not have thought about this in the past, but understanding what’s going on around us is the norm for the new workforce,” says Merollo.

Workplace Analytics

“There are great tech companies out there like Microsoft that have pushed out workspace analytics and how to leverage it with Office 365 and collaboration data,” says Merollo.

Workplace analytics provide powerful insight used for enterprise productivity. It provides ways for companies to understand how employees are communicating, and how they can influence productivity within that corporate performance.

“When you’re on Office 365 you get reports that say how much free time you have based off collaboration and meetings. Here’s what you can do differently. It’s about showing that end user,” says Merollo.

“In my case, I started to get these automated emails filled with analytics. It’s helped me personally with time management.”

Workplace analytics give you the ability to break down silos, accelerate acquisition, find insufficiencies in collaboration, drive productivity, and more.

Analytics are at the core of digital transformation into a smart office. Not just by investing in technology, but making sure that spaces are utilized by healthy and productive employees. There are so many opportunities for every organization.

Says Merollo: “What it comes down to is that by uncovering ways you can use spatial analytics to help increase revenue, cut costs, and improve your core competencies, you can ultimately increase return on investment and grow your competitive edge.”

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