Understanding Users is Enabling Users

Digital Me is Computacenter’s response to enabling users in the modern digital world.  Amidst the opportunity and challenge in modernising Workplace environments; it is important to remember the success or otherwise hinges on one critical factor, the User.

Digital Me places users at the heart of the transformation. Engaging and empowering users to take advantage of modern Digital tools and capabilities, to improve their productivity, enhance collaboration and ultimately contribute to enhancing the business performance.

In order to do this effectively it’s critical that you understand your users. You may think you already do; but do you really understand how and why users work in the way they do, their frustrations and the short cuts they are taking to get the job done!? Phenomenon such as Shadow IT and BYOD emerged for a reason; that being that corporate IT couldn’t keep pace with users’ needs and expectations – how big an issue is that in your organisation?

A few years back we developed our own approach to enable us to get closer to users and understand how and why they do what they do.  We call this Workstyle Analysis and as the market has matured and the concept of a “User Centric” approach to IT emerged, it’s been really beneficial for our customers.

As I write this today, we’ve asked 16,000 questions over 400 hours of interviews to many hundreds of users. The insights we have gleaned from this have been intriguing to say the least so I’d like to share a few of them with you.

First we need to re-iterate why we feel Workstyle Analysis is so important. Put very simply, when you consider some of the following outcomes from the exercise, why would you not want to do it?


And now for the findings:

  • Email is still the killer app. In a world where we have millions of mobile apps, collaboration platforms and Line of Business applications, users still revert to email.  As a communication tool, a task management system, a document repository – everybody depends on email!  Some organisations famously tried to force users away from using email, many have tried to augment email with other collaboration channels – but the relatively limited success of introducing new capabilities means that businesses still run on email.  In our findings 74% of users declare email outages as “highly disruptive” to their work.  Is your business prepared for that?
  • Shadow IT is real! Many of us know this to be true, some of us have actively tried to manage it, but is ‘Shadow IT’ a problem in itself or merely a symptom of a wider dis-enablement of users? In our research shadow IT has not been used maliciously, but is done to allow work to be easier, for users to be more productive or to augment deficiencies in the services that IT provides.  Maybe IT doesn’t know the users need these services – hence why both Workstyle and Shadow IT Analysis activities are so effective!
  • Pent up user demand. The candour of the conversations we have with users, allied with the exceptionally high turn-out rates points to users wanting to express their views and to be heard. We report over 90% attendance in our Workstyle exercises.  People with “day jobs” who choose to spend the time talking to us about how to improve their working environment and make their lives easier.  A key facet of successful transformation is engagement and adoption by the users, and it starts by speaking to them.
  • Users are all different. One user says the service they receive is brilliant, the next user complains that it’s poor! How can you reconcile that and establish a baseline? User perception by its very nature is highly subjective – so how can you reliably act upon it? By canvassing a cross-section of your user community you can supress the extreme perspectives.  From here you can focus on key user communities – VIPs or critical functions such as Contact Centres or the Retail Branch environment – but you will know that you’re addressing the right pain point for the maximum impact.
  • Collaboration is missing. One of the strongest insights we have received is around collaboration within organisations.  Whether related to culture or the technical capabilities provided, Collaboration is key.  We know that effective collaboration solutions can enhance user satisfaction and productivity, but we know these solutions have been challenging to implement.  How can we help make this easier for both IT and the users?

These are just the top 5 insights we’ve gleaned from our activities over the past 12 months.  We have much more detail to share. If you are interested in understanding how to better enable your users, then feel free to get in touch!

About Paul Bray

Paul is Computacenter’s Chief Technologist for Computacenter in the UK & Ireland @PSBray

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