Intelligent cloud can help CTOs solve the employee engagement crisis

Today’s always connected, instant access environment has blurred the lines between the physical office and the place where work happens. As the distinction between professional and personal life dissolves, it’s becoming harder for staff to focus at work.

As a result, 87% of staff are disengaged and this is costing the UK economy £340 billion a year in lost productivity.

It’s pivotal businesses leverage the latest technologies to increase employee engagement, and with 85% of UK organisations planning to invest in AI and IoT in the next three years, it’s clear intelligent cloud is a potential solution.

Identify the problem

CTOs can play a key role in solving employee engagement issues by replacing fragmented and outdated technology – which makes working remotely frustrating – with new solutions that support a collaborative and flexible culture.

>Read more on A CTO guide to digital transformation in financial services

The first step is not to choose a set of technologies you personally think you should install, but to instead adopt a service from an outcome perspective. For example, when considering intelligent cloud offerings what problem needs solving and what will the enterprise gain from the migration?

Then, draw up a technology roadmap to identify weak points that need attention and structure the pilot phases for cloud-based tools which will underpin employee connectedness.

Keep in mind that simply moving things to the cloud doesn’t automatically make them more efficient or meaningful to a business. As you review options and begin to create a cloud strategy, you need to keep the end goals around engagement in the conversation and not lose the human element.

Connect teams

70% of workers want flexible working, but this can throw up huge challenges when attempting to connect, share and engage across dispersed locations.

A key role of the CTO is to break down these communication barriers by integrating the technologies employees use (from e-mail, instant messaging to virtual meeting tools) to transform staff experience, boosting morale and productivity.

>Read more on The 4 different types of chief technology officer

A collaborative cloud suite can be a good solution, as it creates a seamless working environment, allowing content synchronisation, search via intuitive keywords, document retention, video conferencing and virtual reality environments all of which enable co-creation.

A CTO should monitor closely the impact these changes have on users too, so they’ll be able to see how new tools shape the way the teams work and demonstrate ROI.

Employee engagement is at an all time low. Source: Brian Solis
Employee engagement is at an all time low. Source: Brian Solis

Turn insights into actions

CTOs can use their expertise to unlock significant decision-making power for businesses and drive efficiency, just by using data analytics effectively.

Workplace analytics produced through intelligent cloud products can be particularly useful as it uses data from everyday work to connect collaboration patterns to business outcomes.

This is great for CTOs as they can achieve intelligent new insights, to share with the c-suite to improve productivity and engagement across the entire organisation.

>Read more on The CTO vs. CISO: Who should have ultimate responsibility for cyber security?

For example; it might be you want to analyse company meetings, so you can look at the quantity and quality of time spent in them or measure how much one-on-one time employees are spending with their managers.

Workplace productivity dashboards can also be an excellent tool, enabling CTOs to view data all in one place and start to understand patterns. This data can then highlight any efficiency bottlenecks and allow business processes to be streamlined.

Put safety first

A fundamental concern for many CTOs and their teams is the struggle to know the true security posture of the organisation.

Intelligent cloud platforms can use machine learning to provide risk-based conditional access based on the user, location (geo-location or IP address), device and application with a single sign-on, avoiding any unnecessary disruption.

Platforms can also offer real-time threat detection, using advanced analytics to scour global intelligence and provide the necessary high-speed responses when needed, helping overburdened IT teams be proactive instead of constantly being on the back foot.

>Read more on Cyber security best practice tips

Another issue is the access employees have to particular files and information. Many intelligent cloud offerings now have conditional access capability options built into them, which helps companies dramatically improve their protection, by assessing the risk of each request for access to a system, in real-time.

Change the culture

A global PwC report on ‘digital IQ’ says the single most important ingredient to master digital transformation is renewing focus on the human, employee experience.

CTOs know digital transformation cannot be a one-off project or a knee jerk response to the market. It’s a comprehensive, long-term process that can only be successful when it has the backing of the entire organisation.

Unfortunately, not many enterprises consider employee readiness when they make grand digital transformation plans, especially when it comes to enhancing overall employee engagement.

Work alongside the c-suite to interview employees across the organisation to learn about their needs and their frustrations with the current IT system, before making any drastic changes. The solution is not to criticise or override employee opinions, but to listen to them.

>Read more on Transforming work culture

Set out some internal guidelines for all employees to follow and ensure you provide regular training on these protocols, so all staff are aware of any changes in regulations or internal requirements. This should improve self-management, strengthen protection against external attacks and promote accountability across the business at all levels.

Every individual in the company should understand the seriousness of cyber attacks, how to manage their electronic equipment and what to do in online scenarios. As CTO, you should lead the way in testing internal knowledge and staff engagement levels through the necessary training and security drills.

Using up-to-date technologies such as intelligent cloud solutions, listening to employee feedback and researching the latest security solutions, gives CTOs the power to transform enterprises into human-centric companies.

By combining these assets, CTOs can support and encourage employee innovation, align digital strategies with the corporate vision and drive workplace productivity for years to come.

Written by Jon Foulkes, Microsoft Business Manager, Softcat
Written by Jon Foulkes, Microsoft Business Manager, Softcat

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice consists of the best articles written by third parties and selected by our editors. You can contact us at timothy.adler at