Are you solving the right problems?

As Russell Ackoff once said…

‘We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem’.

I remember back in the early 90s the lecturer talking about market research. A world of surveys, questionnaires and focus groups.

This was all before the internet.

The focus was on selecting your research population, crafting questions to not inadvertently bias the responses and inviting people to focus groups to get views on what ever plan/product/service you were hoping to test.

Building a new product or service was highly costly back then. Involving manufacturing lines and or recruiting significant number of people to handle sales and service of the new offer.

Fast forward 30 years and how the world has changed.

Online interactions are tracking customer behaviours. We are all, without even knowing it, contributing to research somewhere based on where we click and what we respond to online.

The whole era of iteration, test and learn and design thinking has emerged. You can trial and pilot an online product with as little as a landing page to gauge interest based on some content and describing what problems you are looking to solve.

You can engage a community, generate a crowd that are prepared to contribute and provide insight and you can launch businesses pretty quickly by configuring a heap of “as a service” products.

But don’t be fooled by the hype many of the online business models are still not yet breaking even and creative ways of monetising an online experience are emerging on a daily basis.

Beyond “the apps” all the innovation and incubation models encourage co creation with a significant amount of time understanding the heart of the problem a business offer could solve .. it then hopes to stand up the offer and somehow monetise it in a way that prior year costs can be overcome and the costs to scale can be factored into the financial model.

It’s so much more complicated than it once was – however everything available to us allows us to engage and get insight so much easier than it would have been 30 years ago.

The co-creation model has to be the business model of the 2020s. It feels like it is coming of age.

There are those that believe, the winners will be those who can engage and provide the vision and dreams of the future in a way that inspires businesses to invest in that thinking and design space ahead of significant development and delivery.

For many businesses linking in with target market CIOs with all the relevant CDOs and with the COOs and CFOs to sell the approach, benefits and costs of the new co creation business model.

Those businesses that will grow IMHO will be those that get to the heart of the problem and sequence a series of offers to enable customers over a series of releases to expand and grow in incremental stages. And they will only get there if they are able to wet the appetite of key influencers within the target customer businesses and get them involved early.

How are you wetting the appetite of your target customers?

How are you engaging with you target market are you stuck in the 1980s or have you moved into the iterative 2020s?

Is your business going to grow with collaborative working relationships?

Do you think the world is fundamentally different to what it was 30 years ago?

Do you think understanding customers problems and inventing solutions to deal with them is getting easier or harder?

Would love to hear your views

Questions, questions, questions

Who’s launching a new business strategy next year?

Who’s refining their multi year strategy that was launched last year or the year before?

Who’s got some new executives on the exec team?

Who’s kicking off some new projects that will launch a new part of the business?

Are you redrawing structure charts?

Are you reassessing how parts of the business will need to work together to get things done?

Do you think this is a one off?

Once the charts are drawn and the comms go out do you think that will be enough?

Beyond the top layers who have obsessed about the change do you think you’ve cracked how to penetrate all aspects of the business to get the change to happen?

Are you having to consider how to cascade the changes down through many levels and through hundreds of people managers or few levels and people managers with flat structure and large spans of control?

Do you think everyone will get it?

Do you think people who aren’t in one of the many new roles will realise they too will have a new role for the changes to really work?

How much of what you currently do will still need to stay “as is” as you roll out the strategy and any changes in structure?

Do you really think that having reset the strategy and restructured the organisation, that that will be it until the next multi year strategy is sold to the board?

Are you building in the mindset of being adaptive, being more experimental with how the organisation operates and how the roles work?

Are roles being designed with a broad remit to be adaptable or as fixed, specific roles with rigid RACIs and accountabilities?

Does the way your business works drive rules, processes, rigid policies and management approvals?

Are people in your business looking to the organisational heirachy they are in to get things done or are they looking to the outcomes they are trying to achieve in the business plan?

Is your organisation seeing the annual planning round as an “also ran” running in parallel to the “day job”, a one off annual activity or a continuously rolling perspective.

Do you hear the sentence “we’ve tried that”, “that’s not how things are done around here”, “we can’t look at it in that way”, “that’s interesting but we need to compete what we said we would complete”?

Does every new ask lead to needing more resource rather than a reflection on how the new asks changes what the current resources do?

I’d be fascinated with the discussion we could have around each of these questions.

I wonder if we would uncover new perspectives.

I’m sure it could make us rethink and reconsider what our organisational structure, our corporate governance and our style of leadership and management may need to be.

I’m sure we would come to the conclusion that the questions need to continue to be asked and changes need to continually be made as we refine, reframe and adapt what our business needs to do to get things done.

My thoughts would be ..

1. Never let the ink dry on an organisational structure chart

2. Try not to pigeon hole people into restrictive roles that when change needs to happen results in yet another restructure.

3. Accept that people may need to move around the business to get things done

4. Reconsider effort spent in discussing “secondments” “headcount transfers” and “whether this is a new role” that often consume far too much effort and focus the discussion and effort more on the business outcomes in the changes being proposed

5. Remember there may not be blank cheque books that enable businesses to bring in new resource because there is a more important ask for a team to address

6. That we really have to let go of the obsession in internal organisational reshuffles that often feel like we are moving “deck chairs on the titanic” and obsess more on the outcomes and what needs to get done

7. And finally that none of this is easy, but it’s easier when leaders, managers and everyone else just want to get things done and look to what they want to achieve in the future rather than what they achieved in the past and going with the flow and making change happen is sometimes better than over analysing the if buts and maybes.

Take a look at the many articles on organisational structure and business strategy and how other businesses are embracing adaptive business models, driving adaptive mindsets and unlocking the business from the structures and policies that were fit for purpose in the past but are becoming out dated as we go into the future

Does virtual working have to be so intense? Can creative collaboration only happen back in the office?

Long gone are the days of grabbing the attention of a colleague as they walked past my desk, heading into a meeting room with my head in my hands and saying “hey can you believe what happened today”.

What happened next would have been some laughs and some reframing and I’d walk out of the room feeling a lot better having had the chance to share how I felt

Now with the virtual world in full swing; the intensity of the discussions; the lack of spontaneous interaction is proving to be a real challenge.

There are no discussions in the coffee queue. There are no “mornings” as I head from bedroom to spare bedroom. There are no catching a colleagues attention and just providing a reassuring smile or the raise of an eyebrow.

And I’m missing it.

But I don’t think I want to go back to it, do you?

I want to find a way to make the virtual way work. Some of the quick wins I’m trying out and many of my colleagues are trying to be more human are ..

1. checking in with colleagues and having a teams “hi” rather than having a teams meeting.

2. Experimenting with GIFS in chats to try and show more emotions

3. And having a WhatsApp speaker call over lunch with friends rather than colleagues

It’s not the same as the “good old days”. It’s totally different. I’m not sure I like it as much. However how many of us like the first few days of change. It’s very much forcing me to rewire the ways I work.

I’m desperate to embrace the virtual working tools ala MURAL and find the time to master using a few of the templates in the tools.

It would be great i I could start sharing MURAL templates in team meetings to try and make more meetings workshop and collaborative in nature.

I’m pretty certain, at least one if not more of the meetings I attend would be more engaging if they were facilitated in a workshop style and would drive a better less intense but as productive session in the online world.

There is a part of me that is worrying about how many organisations are choosing to invest in collaborative spaces back in the office without investing more in showing how collaborative spaces can be created more in the virtual world.

The benefits of the removal of the commute, being closer to family and having more of a life surely must out weigh all the benefits of being back in the office.

However losing too much of the #beinghuman in the office as we progress into 2021 is also a concern.

What are you doing to keep hold of the more human aspects of the office in the online world?

Turning the organisation on its head

I continue to follow the trail of discovery, that the Humanocracy book by Gary Hemel and Michele Zanini has inspired me to go on…

Tonight I’ve discovered http://www.corporate -rebels.com and what a site full of rebellious but proven and practical methods and ideas to drag your business kicking and screaming into the 2020s.

This evenings COrporate rebels article

https://corporate-rebels.com/progressive-organizational-structure/

Is yet another step into the world of looking at hierarchical vs “team” structures.

It suggests turning your pyramid of control upside down. Putting those at the bottom at the top and doing all you can to support them on achieving their goals which cascade UP to delivering your business goals.

This concept reminded me of the WorkOut era I experienced at a global insurance company. You may or may not have spotted the blog I wrote about the era and what I learnt during it – and how I believe the lessons are still true today

https://whatevernext.home.blog/2020/08/22/97/

Anyway – having turned your business heirachy upside down the article goes on to suggest the idea of a “network of teams”.

It suggests that setting up a “team” that’s made up of everything needed to deliver for a customer, a product line or a region, is the way to go.

In some organisations I guess I could see this network team being made up of people that report into a function but deliver for a team (the infamous matrix). They spend the majority if not all their time in the team delivering what is needed to drive value for their customers and incrementally improve gradually scaling to handle growth but remaining within the network of the team.

It sort of suggests that an organisation could adopt this structure for the most proposition lead aspects of a business – with the end to end network of employees coming together focused only on the outcomes for the customer, proposition or region.

And the article sort of suggests that maybe the corporate aspect of the business remain as “light” as possible and are more heirachically organised to get things done corporately in their functional team.

I can see all manner of established businesses being able to organise in this way and trial the “networked autonomous” team without breaking too much in the business. It could simply be a case of staying where people are organisationally in the HR systems but aligning into the “network teams” and being able to focus everything the team does on driving the outcomes of the network.

Overtime maybe the people in the network could move into the organisation structure in the corporate HR systems but surely this isn’t important.

What is important is the pyramid is turned upside down and everyone inside it is focused and aligned into the networked teams to get the outcomes for the customer, proposition or region.

This model, starts to set the business up to being on the road to setting up micro enterprises within your business but is a safe step forward, a progressive step rather than a disruptive one.

Have you read any of the corporate rebel material? Have you moved from matrix to networked? What advice would you give?

It can only be about the team

The dynamics of teams – forget the tech for a sec. Go back in time. Strip out all the mechanics and processes and think about a team.

In fact think about a football team. The goal of the team is to win every game they play. They are a team. Every member of the team knows what position they play and every other member of the team knows the remit of that position and what they have to do to get the best out of their position in the team and the position of others.

As individuals they focus on improving their performance in the position they play. A goal keeper will spend hours perfecting saving goals. A striker will spend hours perfecting scoring goals.

As a team they focus on improving their team performances. Practising the many ways corners can be taken. Practising how they will attack and defend given different ta tics being adopted by the opposition.

Before a match time will be spent researching the competition – understanding their tactics and potentially discussing and role playing how they as a team will compete against the competition.

And then it’s match day – and on match day a whole army of people turn up to make sure the game can be played. Car park attendants, ticket inspectors, food and bar stalls, seating security, referees, St. John ambulance a whole host of roles are put in place to ensure those coming to watch the game have a good time.

So what the heck has this got to do with how we all work in the business world. How can we take this well understood, clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and events and help us set our businesses up for success.

Firstly the goal, purpose, and structure of a football team is clear. It’s to win in the league that you play in – with 11 players, a coach, a manager. The roles of the manager, coach and players are clear.

In business, being clear on goal, purpose and structure is where it all starts – the more ambigious the goal, purpose and structure the more opportunity for waste, leakage, inefficient and ineffective aspects to creep in. Be honest how clear have you made your goal and purpose, is it tangible, can it be measured and are external factors recognised

Everyone and every role from the manager, coach and players to every role that needs to be in place to develop the team and enable the team to play on the day has to be part of the team and when it comes to football probably every person in every role feels part of the team. Be honest how are you driving an inclusive team that embraces each and every person involved in enabling the goal to happen?

How is your team/business structured – is it structured into role types ie all the goal keepers together, all the strikers together that just come together on the day of the game or is it structured in a way that the different roles come together to work and develop as a team – yes practising with all the other goal keepers but hopefully practising more with the whole team. Be honest are you leading a team of goal keepers or are you leading a team of players that can play in a bigger team. How much of your teams time is spent on how to achieve results through all the players rather than just perfect the position you play.

As an enterprise architect//designer it’s critical that thought is given to how the team and sub teams operate. How they all need their part on the pitch. How they all need their own tools to perfect their position and how they need to come together.as one to achieve the goal.

The digital landscape is breaking down organisational silos, its automating the structuring of unstructured data and its driving far more visibility of what a company does to its customers and other employees in other parts of the businesses.

The world of digital and working across business to achieve goals and outcomes is making it so important that everyone in the mega team (organisation) is focused on serving the customer and driving good customer outcomes and everyone is addressing the challenge as a team – the days of goal keepers and strikers working in isolation are over we have to organise into squads with multiple roles to be part of a tribe focused on a goal and we have to let the tech break down the organisational silos and create virtual teams that are focused on what matters most to the customer.

What’s your thoughts on teams, on change and on how the digital world is creating networks that can get unstructured stuff done so much more effectively than the world many of us started in many decades ago?

It’s all about the team!

Humanocracy by Gary Hemel and Michele Zanini – far too much food for thought

As an enterprise architect with a strong bias to start with the business model before progressing to the data and technology model I was hooked onto this book within the first few pages.

Chunky operating model or a busted business model but a sclerotic management model” were some of the the first string of words that caught my attention

Yes I and my teams over the years have been reviewing and refining operating models (working with COO and HR) ; yes my teams have been putting the toe in the broader business model review (working with market and product development teams) but we haven’t been shaking the management bureaucratic model tree.

Don’t get me wrong it’s been a consideration of the change in terms of leadership style and core roles that will influence the change but rarely if ever have we looked at the management bureaucratic model? Or asked those close to designing it and operating it (HR and corporate governance) to be part of the architectural review. Have you?

Interesting it was only last week in a operating model review that consideration was being given to a new role and where it would sit and someone in the team said

“if you get the right person with the right attitude focused on the right thing who they report to shouldn’t be as big an issue as we are making it to be”

And isn’t that a great point it shouldn’t matter who someone reports to the focus should be on what the role should achieve, but why does where it will report to lead to most of the discussion.

What is the importance of where someone reports – can things only get done through a heirachy – should a better focus be on “what hybrid teams will the role be part of” and what value will the role being to the team?

Humanocracy challenges what many have challenged before. The top level structure micro managing lower levels. It makes reference to the most senior often being executive administrators who may have long lost the what matters and where it could matter.

It points to Haier a Chinese business who has transformed through a few eras to now being a collective of micro enterprises who have the autonomy to operate alone within the framework of the overall Haier group.

It points to the many biases in performance reviews with senior people passing judgement on scores and line managers having proven biases and viewpoints that are often at odds with views of the team members where individuals work most.

It throws up so many “obvious” aspects of a corporate business – that when you step back and view it from a customer perspective just shouts of “internal spin”, “internal governance” and “internal power plays”. It highlights time and time again that middle, senior and executive management although wanting nothing more than a business to succeed often operate in a management model which drives a mediocre set of results due to focuses on all things bureaucratic.

The premise of the book is about unlocking the human aspects. Managers spend hours discussing “potential” in people – the premise is if you set the right tone, environment and allow people to focus on the right things everyone has potential.

Usually the potential, rising star box has circa 20% of staff in it! If we all look back that list of names probably contain the names of people who can navigate the politics, have executive presence, talk the talk that management recognise, but does it really pull out the people that can get things done; it’s not necessarily the same people.

The premise is that the management bureaucratic model stifles and slows down doing the right thing. A Chinese whisper, dominio effect of approval and decision making to do the right thing results in compromises and considerations of risk and benefit layers away from where the action is truly happening.

The premise of the book is to reduce the layers, replace spans of control with spans of oversight/direction. Drive teams to take ownership, to do what they think is right, to work within a framework to achieve the business goals and to let the organisation grow.

The book points to internal corporate functions and strict procurement processes. It suggests that both these aspects stifle businesses from getting the right results. That both these aspects can prevent a business from being agile and delivering the right service.

It suggests that corporate functions should all be part of the free market with the option of teams to decide to use the internal team or go outside to others if they believe that other teams outside the business can achieve a better result. Internal teams can either step up to be able to offer all the types of services needed or be on the core team deciding on what external service should be used.

It’s a fascinating book – it challenges the thinking of so many – it unlocks practices that may drive consistency but can stifle the outcomes.

As we move into the 2020s working in more “networked” structures setting up an architecture that can facilitate this more fluid less controlled model will make the difference between those that succeed and those that fail.

In many ways I wonder if the underlying themes of the Humanocracy book will address the “2020s version of the silver bullets” that we all subscribed to when we read “in search of excellence” in the 1980s.

Are you looking at the bureaucratic aspects of the business as you look at the future design?

I’m so excited…

“I’m so excited, and I just can’t help it, I’m about to lose controls and I think I like it” Pointer Sisters

I guess some might say the song was a “one hit wonder” and it’s the sort of tune that get’s us all dragged up on the wedding dance floor but any other time we probably turn the sound down.

So absolutely this blog, could be a one hit wonder but let me drag you up on the dance floor just for a few minutes.

Here goes. I’ve been inspired, I’ve had too many lightbulb moments – maybe come close to an epiphany and I certainly feel like I need to fire off a few rockets.

This whole enterprise architecture movement is being turned upside down right now. Design thinking, business canvases, operational canvases, business modelling, service modelling and digital transformations have all burst into our inboxes and onto our corporate agendas over the last few years.

It’s been bubbling for a few years now but it’s coming of age.

It’s all great stuff – we all get it – we all see the potential – it cuts through legacy thinking, legacy corporate models, legacy management styles and structures and yes legacy systems.

However here is the thing, this is the lightbulb, the epiphany.

If you apply this new thinking to fragmented, misunderstood, inconsistently defined business structures that have been more inward thinking, that have addressed silo’d team issues, and have a whole heap of key man dependent spreadsheets, policies, governance and systems – the job of unlocking the potential for all these new ways of thinking could or even will be your most critical blocker.

The hypothesis I’m stating to shape is :

That those businesses and organisations that are unlocking the potential of the new ways of driving business outcomes are recognising how the outcomes can solve customer problems.

They are evolving a hybrid operating model that can deliver at speed.

They know that the hybrid operating model can scale.

They are businesses that, I am sure, are modelled with teams coming together into “product” or “service” lines applying their different functional perspectives to go on discovery with deep customer insight.

Their business model will be catalogued with customer, distribution, service, capability and organisational entities; the business model will have “metadata” capturing how the end to end product or service level is performing and can model changes in resource and finance models based on strategic scenarios.

Businesses modelled in this way with the clear meta model across the business can simplify financial and resource modelling and start to generate automated intelligence based on the key drivers within the metadata.

Key knowledge can be attributed to all aspects of the model and navigated with ease and without frictional tension.

All of this leads to the ability for the business to incrementally innovatively change with frequent business model releases and launch major business model version as organisations diversify into new markets and new product lines.

Being able to visualise all this is improving – technical diagrams and organisational charts are being turned into info graphics of personas and journeys with use cases being discussed in stand ups and scrum sessions.

The visualisation is growing in sophistication and the virtual organisational model is in its infancy but will emerge.

If this hypothesis rings true then…

The key is to simplify your view of your hybrid business and focus understanding on understanding the outside world and where your business and organisation can drive value.

Enterprise architecture has to free up the business from navigating, assessing and articulating many silo’d views of the business and enable businesses to see that simple model and get on with focusing on the customer.

It has to get that business model, it has to keep it simple, it has to drive consistency in thinking, it has to evolve the metadata. It has to work across the domains of people, data, processes, suppliers, partners, products and tech. It has to help the business constantly release with the least amount of process friction in the change process.

That’s it, that’s the lightbulb, epiphany and rocket moments rolled into one.

That’s it – shall we carry on dancing

#inclusionstartswithI

How powerful is this video by Accenture.

It’s all about inclusion and diversity and something really stands out for me.

It’s not so much the statements it’s the nature of the human aspects and how it pulls out the way people feel about the way they are treated.

It’s so powerful to read, to want to understand and to want to address the feelings of anxiety, frustration and indignation – we all know how those feelings feel even if we don’t experience the triggers that have made people feel that way.

None of us I’m sure want to create more anxiety, frustration or stress for anyone I’m sure we all have enough of that already.

I’m raising my hand up and cheering on the #inclusionstartswithI and #gettinttoequal campaign. there are so many aspects to being unique let’s unlock them all and be as inclusive as we can be in everything that we do.

We can do it – thank you Accenture for the inspiration

It’s more than functional and non functional requirements

We have to turn up the dial on customer and employee experience the days of functional and non functional requirements being all a business needed to make changes to an IT system have to be left behind in the 1990s

Since the dawn of systems projects started the functional requirements have defined what a system should do and the non functional described the qualitative features of scale, availability and security. Every engineering team needed these requirements and still do but systems projects need to be more than that.

In the last decade and now going into the 2020s many systems project plans have realised that this is not enough. Neither of the functional requirement types stress the importance of the “experience of the system”. The “experience” of the system underpins much of the design thinking practices that have evolved in the last decade. I truly believe satisfying experience” requirements will drive the adoption and realise the true benefits of a technical investment and I fear some organisations are still only scratching at the surface of where experience analysis has to go.

Now I’m sure start ups and disruptive businesses are addressing experience analysis at their inception – considering problems that need to be solved, identifying value and building solutions with the customer rather than the tech in mind.

But what about the big corporates with their legacy estate and their programmes that are trying to turn the tanker into the 2020s. We all see the white boards, we all see the post it’s, we hear the early mumours of journeys and touch points but are we translating this early stage experience energy enough into our programmes of change.

Ask yourself about the business analysts you have on your change teams. What are they doing? Are they:-

1. Workshop facilitators and note takers ensuring the project an programme is focused and aligned on the right things.

2. Supporting Programme manager and to shape project work packages and ensure deliverable will deliver benefits

3. Documenting functional and non functional requirements based on deep understanding of user stories that the engineers understand and can develop system logic

4. Are they working closely with product managers, proposition leads, sales and service experts and understanding the value that the solution will have to unlock in the customers world if the project or programme delivers the customer needs ensuring that customer adoption will be maximised.

4. Are they working closely with the operational leads and HR departments understanding the value that the solution will have to unlock and the changing ways of working that the changes will drive as the teams across your businesses adopt the changes within the technical estate.

For me an investment in a system has always needed to consider the business change and the systems change. The larger the investment the more important the business change.

Those investments that have driven the most organisational and customer benefits and have lead to early customer and employee adoption have been those projects that have ensured that the business analysts are not just looking at the system non functional and functional requirements but they are looking at the overall business function (process) and non functional (experiences).

Those investments that have driven the most benefit and have lead to early customer and employee adoption have had programme managers that have given as much time to the customer, employee as they have to the technical aspects of the change.

Those investments that have driven the most benefit and have lead to early customer and employee adoption have had business sponsors that are actually more interested in driving the understanding of customer and employee experience that the programme will change rather than the technical changes … the technical changes are fundamental and foundational and the IT community will make sure they have what they need to drive the technical changes.

Maybe this is all common sense; maybe all organisations intuitively start with the understanding that the systems only exist to provide the right customer and employee experiences; that the systems are there to automate what customers and employees once did manually; and now as we go into 2020s that the systems can identify decision patterns based on a whole host of situational attributes and provide intelligent insight to help customers and employees make changes and deliver value at pace.

If you take the above as a given then take a look at your ongoing enhancement system release and project plans.

1. How are the systems teams able to understand the experiences you have to create for your customers and employees.

2. Do you have the right level of operational, sales and service expertise providing insight into the releases

3. do you have adequate transitional and customer and employee adoption roadmaps to drive the benefits forward.

Having recently taken on a Business Design team and a team of smart and capable business analysts I am determined to get the customer experience and employee experience dial turned up – ensuring we …

1. Have the technical readiness (functional and non functional)

2. Are working with products, sales and service teams more closely on the customer readiness (customer experiences, journeys and critical customer needs)

3. Are working with operations and HR on the operational readiness (processes and employee experience)

Come on we can do it; let’s embrace the customer and employee experience and drive more outward facing functional and non functional requirements

Is anyone focusing enough on the human side of all the “office based” tech deployments?

Oh my god, I’ve just searched benefits of Microsoft office and do you know what I’ve found. A whole list of articles about the benefits that are technology focused. The list includes

1. Security management

2. Fast deployment

3, flexible pricing plans

4. Scalability

There is an implied, implicit recognition of the more human benefits of collaboration and sharing information in a GDPR compliant way but it’s implied and implicit and I fear misses the point.

It’s great that organisations are focusing on ensuring that tech can be procured, deployed and maintained at pace in a secure way – that’s just great – and many organisations have significant tech cost savings in replacing old offices technology with the constantly evolving office products but this focus from the technology teams may be driving up your maturity of office based functionality but are all the technology benefits all we should be focusing on?

When I then think about how the human side of these office based deployments have emerged I fear again we have moved to being fooled into believing that tech is also the answer to supporting our teams use the intuitive new office tools.

If I look back at deployment and roll out interventions to help people adopt the new tools ive been at the end of the:-

1. Sheep dip training sesssion era

2. The train the trainer era

3. The power user advisor era

4. The online hints and tips era

5. The online recorded webinar

6. The Google search and supplier YouTube pages era

7. And finally the phone a friend era

The richness of all the new tools and new features that are bombarding our desktop on a daily basis can allow us to all access data , collate insight, share information, keep connected, collaborate and work together can save time and drive more informed decision making.

The tools fool us into believing that they are so intuitive that any form of training support can be kept to a “push out digital content” rather than any form of human interaction.

The tools fool us into believing that deploying them will turn our teams into highly effective office workers who can adopt the out of the box functionality and drive a more effective office workforce.

We’ve all ….

1. Had these tools deployed onto our laptop without us even realising that we have access – a member of the team mentions it – we go to the search bar and wow yes we have access to delve or Microsoft insight (how did we miss that).

The technology benefits of this deployment are easily measured – we’ve deployed the new version, new release across the entire estate within hours/days rather than within weeks of desk side visits.

2. Accessed these tools and tried to work out how to navigate the menu bar, create content, save and share content

The technology benefits of this aspect are clear as the new functional features of the technology enable us to do far much more than we previously could.

3. Tried to connect these tools to other tools and save time rekeying between them

The technology benefits of this are clear as the tools as integration and sharing data between the tools is via integrated and automated wizards

4. We’ve all spent far too much time trying to find that document, find that link, or that slide and reverted to recreating it as the time searching for it has driven us to complete distraction

The technology functionality exists for us to navigate our knowledge management estate it comes out of the box.

I just fear that although we can all tick the technology benefits measures none of us are even close to getting the most out of the new tools that are arriving on our laptops on a daily basis. We are making technical advancements but we are missing the business benefits

To make the challenge even more challenging we are now working remotely. The days of shouting out to your team power user and say “hey help” or over hearing someone getting help or seeing a member of the team do something sophisticated are well and truly over.

So what could we do to over come this … who in your organisation is grabbing hold of the employee remote office experience and taking on the upskilling mandate to immerse your teams in how to adopt the richness of functionality – to think about what they all do differently and move your teams to work in a way that drives up effectiveness, saves time and takes away the stress of adopting all the new functions and features of the tech.

Who is considering the training and development ideas like

1. More content on the “intranet” with useful hints and tips

2. Speed dating type events to share the aspects of functionality

3. Is it more tailored training videos showing real employees at the firm sharing how they use the tools to get the job done

4. Is it showcasing expert users in team meetings and mass all hands events

5. Is it giving all staff access to an “office coach” who can spend a couple of hours a year with them quickly getting to the nub of their role and showing them the key features of all the new tools and this months features that will make the biggest impact to get things done.

It’s probably all these things – pulled together into some sort of enduring campaign and approach driving up the competencies and skills of the virtual employee experience and making sure that we are all as competent as we can be using the tools to get our own unique job done.

I can’t see the trend of office based technology deployments slowing down. In fact I can only see it increasing with features arriving across all the many deployed tools on a daily basis.

We need to look to the business benefits and support our non technology teams in embracing the new tools that our IT teams are deploying. Our tech teams have the data security, scalability and deployments cracked now we just need to work with buisness office experts who can drive businesses in changing their office practices to make the most of the new offfice features

What are you doing about it?