In our last blog How Data Will Strengthen Your Digital Workspace Strategy, I explained that we’re taking a look at the data available in your business and how we can use it to review and improve your processes in the short, medium and long-term.
This post will focus on the first step of our journey to strengthen your organisation’s position.
We'll consider what data is available to you and how you can use it to produce quick wins as well as creating stronger foundations for growth.
The Discovery Phase
This first phase is to gather the data, without this you won’t have a clear picture so it needs to be done properly. Before we even collect the data, though, we need to understand what we’re looking for to ensure it is the right questions we’re asking.
It is easy to neglect the data we can gather from the people in our organisations but, in fact, it’s important that this is where we start. It is all very well looking at what our systems are doing, but if we don’t have a clear picture of company goals - which can sometimes change quicker than our base systems - we will be asking the wrong questions.
Ensuring we discuss the business needs not only at a high level but on the ground, we need to engage individuals who truly understand the systems and processes. Yes, we’ll need the big picture and business strategy, but we also need to understand the technology infrastructure and the requirements of those who use the systems.
Don’t be scared to ask difficult questions - unless you explore the real workings of business systems (technical and human) you won’t see the opportunities for change.
Understanding what data is already available through the systems you have in place will be the next step. This can include remote and onsite logons and logoffs, as well as the number of cloud application sessions per user. There may also be metrics that show collaboration and communication, in addition to hardware and software performance insights.
Next, identify ways you can combine data sources to build a picture of how your users interact with technology and re-define user personas based on these insights. There is a huge amount of value here, in - often - untapped resources; however there is also the opportunity to get buried beneath a sea of data if you don’t know what you’re looking for and why.
With a clear view of your technology usage, you will be able to rationalise and realign the software to meet user needs.
The Define Phase
Our second phase is to explore and understand the data, this opportunity to analyse systems and processes is essential before any changes are made.
Having reviewed the information gained from both data and initial personnel interviews, there will be a need to ask more questions about working practices and system viability. Are there applications in use which aren’t formally registered? Why? Are there manual processes where the system should be being utilised?
Again, these are opportunities to understand the reality of business processing, but also to question current practice and explore alternatives.
Having made these initial explorations we will have a clearer picture of what you need to know, and why. Systems can be set up to retain and review the data needed to understand how people and technology are working - this might be an opportunity to build in checks to monitor as well as building up a bank of data for future review.
This is also a good stage at which to perform gap and impact analysis, understanding how reality compares with expectation; also, reviewing trends will allow you to understand how people and systems are working and whether current trends are sustainable in the future.
The Recommend Phase
We’re still considering short-term strategy so, at this stage, we’re looking for quick wins and opportunities to direct future development. Having collected and analysed our initial data, our next steps are to document advice and enact changes.
Communication is key - it is essential we create a vision which speaks to decision makers, as well as bringing along with us those people working with the changes at ground level.
Any implementation will need to include opportunities for review and learning - both from users and managers - ensuring a clear understanding of actual productivity and wellbeing benefits.
At this stage we would expect to deliver cost savings through retirement of redundant systems or reductions in licensing costs for underused tools and software.
We may also need to bring on board new systems or develop better integration of previously unregistered tools to create new and improved solutions.
When Your Digital Strategy Needs to Develop - Take it Step by Step
We believe that creating systems and processes which will grow with your organisation is not only possible but necessary. However complex your current systems are, there are tools available to help you determine your next steps with confidence - when you are moving forward, make sure you take the right route for your business.
About the Author
I'm Terry Chana. By understanding business needs and employee desires, I help organisations envisage and execute their hybrid and connected workspace strategy.
For help creating the workspace you need - ensuring your staff and company thrive - get in touch, I’d love to help.