Creating an Effective Digital Workspace
CIOREVIEW >> Enterprise Mobility >>

Creating an Effective Digital Workspace

Adam L Stanley, Global CIO, Cushman & Wakefield and Gary Bent, Global Architect, Cushman & Wakefield and Robert McDougall, Technology Director Global Unified Communications and Collaboration, Cushman & Wakefield

43,000 employees. 60 countries. Thousands of clients. How many offices? Our website would tell you we have circa 260 offices. But is this metric even relevant anymore? The reality is that every one of our knowledge workers is “an office”; a virtual, movable, fluid, office. Consider that anyone joining the workplace from here on out will have never lived in a world of non-connectivity. Everyone graduating from college in 2016 will have been born with email. And many of them have been able to communicate with people around the world since their earliest days. The concept of an office is still relevant but more so as a place to go for meetings.

At Cushman & Wakefield, this means we must think about how to support this workplace while still supporting the wide range of experiences and backgrounds of our 3,500 brokers and thousands of other professionals around the world. We have to think strategically about how best to build the Digital Workplace.


Perhaps the greatest concern that hinders completely open enterprise mobility is security. How do we enable our colleagues to work anywhere and on any device yet provide our clients the security they need, and ensure our private and proprietary analytics are controlled.

  As the use of the Internet and mobile devices grow, and workplace demographics continue to shift, employers struggle to meet the varying needs of a multi-generational workforce 

Consumer versus Enterprise

Ironically, the change accepted by our colleagues in their home lives is higher than what they will typically accept at work. Take for example a conversation with a senior leader in one of our busi­nesses recently:

► Colleague: “I think my team needs more training on One Drive”
► Me: “Ok. Just out of curiosity, do you share photos with Apple or Amazon?”
► Colleague: “Yes. My family uses iPhoto extensively.”
► Me: “If you guys are planning a family event, what do you use to share documents?”
► Colleague: “Mostly email, but we also started using Google Docs.”
► Me: “How often do you call Google for help? Have you used their online training?”
► Colleague: “No, ha ha, I guess we just kind of figure it out.”

You get it.

As the use of the Internet and mobile devices grow, and workplace demographics continue to shift, employers struggle to meet the varying needs of a multi-generational workforce. Like many other companies, Cushman & Wakefield has seen an increasing number of employees working outside the office and using mobile devices and cloud services to perform business tasks. With the rise of smartphones and tablet a few years ago, we saw a workforce, especially around our brokers and other professionals that service our clients, that began to shift toward mobility for ways in which they could connect, collaborate, and communicate with our customers and colleagues more efficiently.Gary Bent, Global Architect, Cushman & Wakefield

BYOD policies must include input from users, business units, human resources, legal, support personnel, application developers, and the networking team. But as the BYOD trend faded, we quickly realized that it was no longer the centerpiece of our mobile strategy and a more holistic approach was needed, and enterprise mobility is about much more than employees bringing their own smartphones and tablets to the workplace. Instead, we focused on mobile apps as a whole, such as Workday, Salesforce, Yammer, Microsoft Power BI, and Skype for Business, Microsoft Intune for management, and Microsoft AzureAD for security, to make all devices viable productivity tools regardless of who owns them. As organizations move beyond basic productivity apps such as email and calendar, toward mobilizing many of their business processes, it is critical to identify the level of security those applications require. We must ensure that corporate data and applications are encrypted and isolated from other assets on the device, while at the same time being cognizant about striking the balance between securing our corporate resources and not intruding on the employee's privacy or inhibiting their productivity.

Our core guiding principles for our mobile strategy has always been a three-way extension whereby we: 1) enable our professionals to increase revenue and productivity by allowing access to corporate resources from anywhere, at any time, and on the device of their choosing; 2) reduce risk and liability by enabling the protection of the information and data belonging to the firm and clients via identity and access management; and, 3) decrease the friction in order to increase opportunities and the satisfaction experienced by customers and professional alike.

An example of our focus on mobile apps is the adoption of platforms such as Microsoft Power BI. The platform has further enhanced our mobility strategy by enabling our business professionals around the world to stay connected to our data from anywhere, anytime via their mobile device. This capability gives our professionals and teams within the various lines of business a complete interactive view of our business data and access to dashboards. It also provides reports and analytics on the go, literally at the touch of a finger, allowing them to be more engaged with our clients, customers, and colleagues.

Another example of our focus on mobile apps is with the adoption of Microsoft's Yammer platform. Again staying true to our vision of enabling our employees to communicate, collaborate, share knowledge and be productive anytime, anywhere across a vastly distributed organization while at the same time enabling us to keep up with an ever-changing mobile workforce. Yammer has become the platform we leverage to allow our professionals to collaborate across teams and stay connected to each other from wherever they are or choose to work, whether it be a physical office or a place where work simply “happens”.

Robert McDougall, Technology Director Global Unified Communications and Collaboration, Cushman & Wakefield

Finally, and most importantly, we have deployed a Unified Communications and Collaboration foundational strategy that includes Microsoft Skype for Business and the recent introduction of the E5 licensing model that provides Enterprise Voice capabilities (PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX) to anchor the complete suite of Enterprise Mobility tools. This will allow instant messaging, presence, Voice over IP (VoIP), Video and Audio Conferencing, Desktop and Application Sharing, with office integration and Whiteboard collaboration all from a single client.

With the click of a button, Cush­man & Wakefield will be able to open an IM, view availability (through the use of Presence), make a voice or video call, or even start an online meeting. Skype for Busi­ness makes online commu­nication more cooperative and engaging for all of our colleagues by enabling our UC platform from nearly any computer or mobile device, from anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection.

Cushman & Wake­field's journey to Skype for Business started with the retirement of six dispa­rate web conferencing technologies to a single provider, enabling seamless integration with Room and Standards-based video and audio solutions. The bridge provided a hybrid approach to video and web conferencing to lay the Skype for Business Conferencing framework, and eventually Enterprise Voice platform, while driv­ing adoption at the same time.

We have come a long way in a few years, supporting a changing workplace and workforce by building a nimble and scalable Digital Workplace that also meets the security needs of our firm and our clients. We see this as a critical phase in business today.

Read Also

Every Changing Labor Force

Rizwaan Sahib, US Chief Information Technology Officer, Brookfield Renewable

Great Expectations: Balancing the diverse needs of a city in a...

Murray Heke, Chief Information Officer, Hamilton City Council

Community Banks And Digital Banking

Michael Bryan, SEVP, Chief Information Officer, Veritex Community Bank

"Discovery and Delivery" - An Approach to IT Workload Balance

Charles Bartel, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Duquesne University