how do people actually use their new workspace?

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When discussing the digital transformation of business and the new ways of working that this introduces it's common to start with a high level view of how business is changing, then dive straight into the different technological building blocks that go to make up the new workspace. What gets lost in this approach is how people actually use the tools that are given to them.

In my consulting days I would often include a training and 'benefits realisation' component to any engagement. This component usually got cut out of the final statement of works to reduce the cost of the engagement. For most customers this was very short sighted.

I ran a workshop recently with an industry grouping. One of the subjects was the impact of desktop video on their IT infrastructure. One CIO had rolled out Lync and was very happy that users were using it for presence and IM only and had seen no network impact. In my view they were missing out.

the value of networks

Metcalfe's Law states that "the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2). I'd like to propose an amendment: "the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n) multiplied by the richness of the interaction between them (r) i.e. rn2 where 'richness' is a measure of the different ways they can interact. Crudely put, a video + telephone call is richer than phone alone and desktop sharing, whiteboarding, all the way up to immersive telepresence (eventually 3D and Virtual Reality) add to the interaction.

training and refreshers

So, how do you get the best out of all the technology in the new workspace? If you don't want to engage a third party to run training, do it in-house. Maybe encourage your support staff to work with the new tools then use video, webinar, and brown-bag lunchtime sessions to let them show others how to get the best out of the investment you've made. Also, don't just do it once. Have a refresher program to keep the momentum going.

help your users to help themselves

One of the things we've found that really makes a difference is to engage with the local early adopters and superusers in your end-user base. You know, the enthusiastic end user who others in the office turn to first to ask how to do something. These 'self-help' groups can be both a blessing (taking load off of the help desk) and a curse (making unreasonable demands for help on unsupported devices and apps). Turn their energies to your advantage.

If you show these groups how to get the best out of your tools, they can help you realise the benefits much quicker than just rolling out the tools and waiting.

As an example, take a look at this simple video we put together in-house to show our tools being used to do business.

conclusion

In an ideal world, you would have a detailed understanding of how any new technology will be adopted before you roll it out. But, in the real world, you have to put in effort after the roll-out. The good news is that your users are ready to help.

Do you have examples of tech roll-outs that were good or bad?

Peter

Peter Glock

With management roles in sales, marketing, and strategy I have over 30 years in IT and telecoms specializing in transformation projects.