The Intelligent Digital Workspace - What is intelligent about it?

31 March 2019

You may have heard the term “Intelligent Digital Workspace” or  “Intelligent Workspace” while researching your modern digital workspace or intranet project. And if you haven’t come across it yet ... you have now! But what is an intelligent digital workspace, really?

We first started using the phrase in early 2017 when our innovation team began to uncover smarter ways of working using new technology in the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. But what is it exactly and why should you care?

To understand what makes the Intelligent Digital Workspace “intelligent”, you first need to understand what the Digital Workspace is.

What is a Digital Workspace?

At ClearPeople, we define a Digital Workspace as an ecosystem of connected tools and technologies designed around users' needs that provides them the ability and freedom to work securely anywhere and on any device.

The digital workspace connects people to content, communication, knowledge, and collaborative areas across internal and external communities.

Such technologies can include a workplace intranet, document and knowledge management systems, CRM, SAP, chat tools, email, and more. Through integrating, enhancing or developing this mix of systems, servers and apps in the cloud, the Digital Workspace is an employee experience evolution, designed for a mobile workforce.

IDC describe the intelligent digital workspace as "a personalized, federated, secure, and device- and location-agnostic environment that provides workers with the resources required to effectively do their job, including frictionless access to data, technology, and collaborators".

IDC also view the intelligent digital workspace ecosystem as an integrated user experience, augmented by cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics.  The intelligent digital workspace is also fully observable and optimizable by IT and security operations professionals, enabling continuous improvement and optimization.

"Traditional models for the delivery of corporate resources to employees create friction, impede productivity, degrade experience, and do not adequately support hybrid ways of working. The intelligent digital workspace is a fundamental change in the way that we deliver those resources to workers, which puts workers at its core," states Holly Muscolino, research vice president, Content and Process Strategies and the Future of Work at IDC. "As digital enterprises adopt hybrid work models, adoption of an intelligent digital workspace solution will not only enable secure access for all employees but also drive improved productivity, a better worker experience, and overall business agility and resiliency."

So where does 'Intelligent' come into it?

The dictionary describes “intelligent” as:



  • having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level.
    "Anna is intelligent and hard-working"
    synonyms: clever, bright, brilliant, sharp, quick, quick-witted, quick on the uptake, smart, canny, astute, intuitive, thinking, acute, alert, keen, insightful, perceptive, perspicacious, penetrating, discerning.
  • (of a device or building) able to vary its state or action in response to varying situations and past experience.
    synonyms: robotic, automatic, self-regulating, capable of learning; informal, smart

Using this dictionary definition of intelligence, we frame our explanation of the Intelligent Workspace as follows:

  1. “Having or showing intelligence” – Collective Intelligence
    Collective Intelligence, or “knowledge” is the lifeblood of an organisation. Documents, media assets like video or audio, and tacit knowledge that exists in the brains of your employees all have such high value that needs to be stored and extracted when needed. The Intelligent Workspace enables businesses to effectively manage this valuable resource and surface it to the right people at the right time. It has the ability to structure the information in a way that makes it easily accessible to the users who need it.

  2. A device able to vary its state or action in response to varying situations and past experience – Cognitive Services, Graph and Bots
    This is where things get really cool. Using Microsoft Graph, we’re able to collect and analyse data from your digital workspace to enable it to work smarter for your employees. Microsoft Graph is the gateway to data and intelligence in Microsoft 365. We use the Microsoft Graph API to build apps for organisations that interact with the data of millions of users. With Microsoft Graph, we’re able to connect to a wealth of resources, relationships, and intelligence, all through a single endpoint.


Model explaining the process of knowledge management png

For example, in Atlas, our Digital Workspace solution, we have built experiences around users’ unique context to help them be more productive.

How Atlas increases Digital Workspace Intelligence

  • Atlas Connex enables users to navigate across Microsoft 365 Groups, Teams, Yammer Groups, Planner, SharePoint, and other tools. With Atlas Connex you can easily search for content across your core collaboration areas to surface the right information in just a few seconds.
  • Atlas offers users the ability to personalise content that is displayed to them by providing preferences that can be set based upon the customer taxonomy model. These preferences will be applied to the news, events and knowledge carousels.
  • We harness the best of Microsoft’s document management capabilities and enhance it with custom features to make it easier and smarter.
  • Through best practice information architecture and UX, Atlas aides in findability of content and intuitive use of your intelligent workspace. It helps the user find where they are going and where they have been.
  • If you’re looking to truly understand what is working for your users, Atlas offers deep reporting and analytics for your organisation’s Microsoft 365 activities, and assets. 

The Intelligent Digital Workspace combines everything you would expect – information publishing and sharing, communication and collaboration tools, self-service abilities, all from an intuitive user interface – but it enables smarter, more effective working through minimising the mundane and repetitive tasks and understanding what your users really need.

The Intelligent Digital Workspace is where the big and repeatable business ROI is found, by getting your Digital Workspace to work harder for you and helping you spend less time creating more valuable outcomes.


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Author bio

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel Karawani

Gabriel is Co-Founder of ClearPeople, responsible for the overall technical and Atlas product vision. He works closely with colleagues at Microsoft on roadmap alignment and innovative Content Services programs such as Project Cortex / Microsoft Viva and SharePoint Syntex.

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