Digital Transformation: Keep The Stakeholders Close, But The End Users Closer

Issue 79

Digital transformation is a vital part of surviving and thriving in today's competitive market, but 70% of transformation projects fall short of their objectives. While the technological part of any digital transformation is important, the people using that tech are crucial - without their knowledge, help and buy-in, you could be wasting both money and time.

Digital transformation is a fundamental business change – from culture to operation – using technology, but only by incorporating and aligning the needs of people as well as processes can it be successful, balanced and valuable.

Without interacting with those on-the-ground, it is almost impossible to understand their challenges and requirements.

For example, a management team looking to improve efficiency decides to invest in developing and implementing a new system for the entire workforce. As time passes, it becomes clear that the business has become less operationally efficient – the opposite of the intended objective. Why? The end users don’t like the system as they can’t capture everything they need, so it doesn’t do what they need it to. How did this happen? Because the project was based on a mere assumption by the management team. To avoid this, three things should always be considered to ensure that value is always at the centre of any project:

Feasibility: Can it be done? Is the technology solution within reach?

Viability: Does this align with the business objectives and budget?

Desirability: Does this solution satisfy a need? Is it usable and will it be used? How much focus is spent on each component of the value centred model depends on the project in question, but they should all be given some consideration. Right at the centre of all three components is what has been coined ‘the innovation sweet spot’.

When considering a new product or service, the focus should always be on the right people, generally the end users; aiming to understand their challenges and thoughts to test assumptions and provide the evidence needed to make informed decisions. Involving end users from the start means user needs helps define the project scope and ensure the solution will fit actual needs and desires rather than assumed ones – potentially avoiding costly mistakes, changes or even abandonment

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