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  • The user experience: The key driver for your digital transformation and technology adoption

    In today's rapidly changing market dynamics, businesses can no longer rely on legacy technologies to outpace the competition, improve operational efficiencies, and stave off unnecessary OPEX. Digital transformation and legacy modernization are increasingly the new imperative.

    And yet, research from McKinsey & Company indicates that over 70% of digital transformation projects fail. The study points to fizzle points, including the inability to meet basic goals, skewed budgets and/or timelines, and a lack of user adoption. This type of negative and cumbersome employee experience can lead staff to even consider quitting—during a time rife with a crippling labour shortage.

    At Nexus, we’ve seen these issues time and time again. However, interestingly enough, not enough attention is put on the user experience.

    Articles abound on how technology adoption is key for any digital transformation or legacy modernization initiative. They cite better communication and training to get employees on board with new technologies. Of course, consistent communication and training are critical—but these steps are, in our perspective, downstream if you look at a project as a whole. Upstream, in-house IT teams and many IT consulting firms are obsessively focused on the technologies themselves as well as project management, budgeting and C-Suite buy-in.

    Unfortunately, all those “bright and shiny” new tech solutions will fail miserably because of three ignored conditions. By obsessively focusing solely on the technical aspects of a project, IT teams and third-party consultants often do not take the time to:

    • Understand the current work methods and processes of each employee, team and department
    • Assess how intra- and inter-departmental disparate and siloed technology solutions are impeding operational efficiency and performance and exacerbating blame games when issues arise
    • Ask employees themselves about challenges they face with existing technology infrastructure and glean possible recommendations from them

    In other words, why start trying to fix the problem when you don’t even fully comprehend what the problem is and how it impacts users?

    The lack of consultation upstream during a digital transformation or legacy modernization initiative causes a tsunami of consequences. Employees feel left out of the process and are forced to use solutions that may not be adequate for their day-to-day tasks. They may not fully understand the reasons behind the changes. Inevitably, this leads to frustration, a lack of engagement and active resistance to any new implementation.  In the end, a company can spend thousands or even millions of dollars on new technology solutions—only for them to not be used to their fullest potential, if at all.

    The user experience: At the heart of your next digital transformation initiative

    By understanding how employees currently work from the very beginning, IT teams and firms can identify areas where technology solutions can help to improve efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. This can help to ensure that the technology solution is tailored to the organization's goals—and is more likely to be adopted and used effectively.

    With a better grasp of the tasks and processes that employees perform on a daily basis, IT experts can design or procure technology solutions that integrate more seamlessly into existing workflows, rather than requiring employees to learn a complex new system or completely change their work habits from one day to the next.

    Another reason IT teams should understand employees' needs is that it can help identify and pre-emptively eliminate potential challenges or obstacles that may arise during implementation, which, in turn, can contribute to timelines and budgets remaining in check.

    4 steps to follow in a digital transformation project to improve the user experience

    Before starting any digital transformation project, some preliminary steps should be carried out first. Note that these recommendations supplement a company’s communication and change management plans; they do not replace them.

    Step 1 : Conduct interviews and surveys.

    Speak to employees! Ask them about their tasks, processes, and aggravating challenges. This can help to identify areas where technology can be most beneficial and even guide IT teams in spec’ing different solutions.

    Step 2 : Observe employees at work.

    By exploring how employees, IT teams can not only gain deeper insights into work methodologies that are not their own but also shed light on how a different solution or workflow can unlock efficiency gains and cost-savings, for example.

    Step 3 : Create user personas

    By creating user personas, IT teams can properly identify different types of employees that will be using the technology solutions. Digital maturity, processes between teams and departments, specific concerns and wants, and even the KPIs for their performance evaluations should be detailed.

    Steph 4 : Develop custom prototypes and testing

    Ditch the generic! By developing prototypes and testing that are truly aligned with the work various employees and departments carry out, IT teams can gain feedback on the technology solutions before they are fully implemented. You will be able to identify areas for improvement, set the stage for faster and more successful training, and guarantee overall swifter technology adoption.

    With any digital transformation and legacy modernization project, there is no point in rushing it. Cutting corners on critical steps, especially understanding the current user experience and identifying the “ideal” state, will only lead to poor adoption of new technologies. Get a firm handle on needs and surpass expectations by being intimately aware of how employees work, their goals, and even their aspirations. That’s the key to user adoption success!

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