Understanding End Users in Digital Transformation
In this article
Modern business is being pulled forward more quickly than ever before, forcing the enterprise to align digital employee experiences with an agile approach to technology delivery. This sprint has quickly revealed the most successful enterprises at adapting to these changes in the global markets are the ones that have facilitated competitiveness by diversifying their workforce strategy.
This has put the CIO and IT leadership under a lot of pressure to deliver on an aligned vision, where enterprise technology augments, enables and automates business capabilities and improves the experience. The omnipresent consumerization of technology in people's personal lives has driven the requirement for this digital dexterity, where the end user or employee's digital capabilities becomes the differentiating factor that allows the enterprise to excel or decay into irrelevance.
At its core, the end users that make up the enterprise are people — diverse individuals with different stories, needs, workstyles, strengths and challenges. Today's modern IT organization is faced with the question, "How do we empower our people?"
Traditional IT has been fixated on delivering efficient, capable technology solutions that served to empower the business by focusing on the needs of its "knowledge" or "power" users. The applications and systems were chosen and designed with these expert users as the core audience.
Organization have begun to recognize the need to evolve from this mentality, driven by the increased prevalence of consumer technology; over time, all consumers have welcomed technology into their lives, each becoming experts of their own technology experiences, through the use of smartphones, online ecosystems like social networking and marketplaces. This has sparked changes to the way our end users interact, play, and consequently expectations on how they should work.
As people, we are evolving to live and work, straddling the digital and physical domains, providing IT with a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge of empowering all the end user and improving how they work.
The question of "How do we empower our end users to do their job better?" is not a simple formula, software package or one-size-fits-all approach. The answer is contextual, taking into account:
- An understanding of our end users/employees, their job functions and roles in the organization and their corresponding needs and requirements. This requires empathy and an open mind.
- Ensuring the overall technology strategy accounts for and addresses these needs and requirements, aligning to the future strategic direction and vision of the organization.
- Incentivizing the end user/employees to buy into the strategy, and consequently creating a "partnership" and a sense of ownership of "their technology."
Transitioning from traditional IT to this paradigm of empowerment of end users starts with the recognition that they are the significant piece in the puzzle of modern IT. After reaching this understanding, only then can the enterprise IT consortium develop a clear and defined strategy that drives workforce modernization, resulting in increased end user digital dexterity.
This user and functionality focused contextual strategy is not always easily parsed and for many organizations it is a far-flung reality to their traditional IT frameworks, where the IT organization may have measured success by focusing on attributes like SLAs and performance metrics.
SLA metrics are good for measuring an individual system's stability and performance but are not a context or the means to achieve or measure the business capabilities IT needs to deliver. A different strategy is needed to ensure the end user's needs are properly delivered by the technology environment.
Traditionally, this was notionally done by packing users into groups loosely based on the department they worked for, possibly their job role or their hierarchy in the company. However, this often generated misalignment that compounded with the rise of the modern workforce's decentralization and as all users increasingly adopted consumer technology, which then resulted in shadow IT and system wide demand for better way.
A systematic, unified strategy is needed moving forward that takes into account the end user's perspective, job function and workflows with emphases on the business needs. This strategy should be clearly defined, ensuring leadership focus, business relevance and end user buy-in.
WWT's contextual strategy starts with organizational leadership's future vision, progresses through assessments of their current state and ends with a unified strategy with holistic roadmaps to achieve the overall vision. WWT differentiates our service through refined, data-driven toolsets and vast cross industry solution delivery experiences that result in tangible, actionable and measurable outcomes.
As digital workspace has progressed over time, multiple attempts to solve for the end user have been made, including the use of various persona models. A persona is meant to be a mechanism of logically "grouping" users based on similar attributes, working styles and needs that are developed by studying users in the context of many variables around them. They excel in providing a manageable organizational context-based view of end users that allow aspects of technology and process to be customized in some fashion.
Many previous models have especially worked well in user experience design where the problem they are attempting to solve is fairly targeted and the use case is well defined. However, they have been criticized as being too general in nature or falling apart as the number of users scale, such as in the case of a global enterprise.
At WWT, we recognize the positives of what a persona offers, such as the ability for it to deliver a manageable core user categorization and help the organization to deliver a streamlined technology experience. We've expanded upon the traditional persona models with a dynamic assessment framework that allows a more modular and tailored understanding of end users, eliminating the scaling limitations. Enter the Dynamic Persona, a way that provides a management model categorization, yet arrives at a tailored understanding of the end user.
Dynamic Personas do not create multiple "sub" personas, rather, they layer tailored attributes onto the core persona, providing a context for modern IT to better understand the end user. These attributes can be tagged in any combination and are customized to the needs of the target organization and end users, resulting a tailored profile that can be layered onto the identity for each end user. The resulting data is then used to inform decision, strategy, business process and even be used in automation to provide tailored end user technology experiences.
Embarking on our workforce modernization strategy begins a journey of digital transformation activities focused on end users that ensures a successful transition and adoption of transformational technology initiatives.
With this end user focus, WWT's workforce modernization strategy service provides a "Fit-for-Purpose" open framework that facilitates and grows digital dexterity, allowing enterprises' increased flexibility, improved technology sustainability and greater marketplace agility.
As an open framework, the service is multi-phased partnership between WWT and enterprise stakeholders, utilizing interviews, surveys, various tool metrics/utilization and other structured data collection methods to assist the organization in the assessment of capabilities, both organizational and technological, and providing contextual roadmaps for success in delivering the target future state. All of these translate to a well-defined end user technology strategy for success.
As an open framework, we have used the workforce modernization strategy service in a variety of end-user focused technology initiatives such as universal endpoint management, employee technology experience, collaboration, physical workspace and digital workspace. Leveraging the framework has led to a more holistic mindset and enabled organizations to simplify their technology estate, reducing silos and technology overlap.
When considering where the service may help your organization, it starts with the same question: "How do we empower our end users to do their jobs better?" The modern enterprise understands that the digital realm is an extension of the end user and consequently, a major factor in the success of how effective work is performed and business outcomes are achieved.
If your organization lacks clarity in its strategy around this question or end users are struggling with digital dexterity and technology adoption, your organization might benefit from a workforce modernization strategy service.