Delivering IT services to end users in the modern workplace is a complicated enough business, but how can you find out if they’re actually happy with the services you’re providing?
Do you measure this by the number or type of service desk calls received? Do you send them lots of customer surveys and hope you get positive feedback? Or do you simply not ask and assume that because you’ve heard nothing, all is OK?
The reality is there is no single way to either deliver or measure end user experience that ensures users are happy and productive. However there are a number of things you can do to maximise your chances.
Here are three top tips to find out if you’re getting it right.
Change is always difficult and it’s even more disruptive if it’s imposed without any consultation. That’s why the first thing you must do is engage with your end users and work collaboratively with them to find out what they want from IT, what currently works well, what doesn’t work well and what they would like in an ideal world (don’t make any promises here!).
What you will find is that your users will enjoy having the right forum for open discussion. They’ll often provide information that you wouldn’t get through an impersonal electronic survey where you just ask them to score or rate the services. Importantly, they will provide you with both positive and negative feedback, both of which are extremely useful in defining or revising your modern workplace strategy. Although you might not like it, you need to engage with a broad range of users who represent all areas of the business and, yes, even the very vocal ones!
By understanding how they use IT during their working day you can build up a detailed picture of the user, their department and their needs. What you want to find out is: what applications they use; on what devices; how those devices perform; where they work from and how often; who they need to collaborate with; and how they share data and with whom. It’s a long list of questions but it will give you real insight to work out whether the IT services you are delivering are having a positive impact.
Say one of your users has five technology challenges that costs the business 45 minutes each day in lost productivity. If you can give them 20 of those minutes back fairly easily through training, by enabling some new functionality, or by bumping a project up the priority list, this will go a long way towards getting buy-in for what you’re doing because they can see that the IT team is willing to listen and act.
Once the talking is over, what next? As we all know there are many different types of user profiles within an organisation- from call centre employees working with a small number of applications every day in the same office, through to highly mobile users with multiple devices who are consuming applications and data on an ad-hoc basis from lots of different locations and variable Wi-Fi connectivity.
The key is to provide those users with the right amount of choice. Too little and they won’t be able to be as productive as you’d like; too much and you’ll end up with lots of different end user solutions that will be costly and impossible to manage effectively.
By collating the different user profiles (usually between four and six in a typical organisation), and mapping the requirements you’ve already captured from the business, you can create the right end user technology solutions for your modern workplace.
For some users it will be a matter of simply providing the right type of laptop for those who have to travel. Other users might require multiple devices (delivering applications on mobile platforms is a must moving forwards), while some will need a fixed high-performance desktop for churning through daily tasks as quickly as possible which might need to be delivered as a hosted desktop or VDI solution. The key is not to make decisions about what users want without involving them. You need to work with them on the choices that are available through proofs of concept, business-led demonstrations, and honest discussions. Only then are you able to provide the right solution within the constraints of your budget.
It’s also important to remember that not everyone works in the same way (anyone still use pen and paper?!) however, by establishing a common framework that you can educate your users about, you can prevent the dreaded shadow IT from taking hold.
Having engaged with your users and by understanding their requirements, you will have defined a modern workplace strategy that fits in with your business and created the right fit technology solutions to support it. Unfortunately this is no time to rest on your laurels.
As you know, business change is constant therefore you need to continually assess what your users require and expect. Using end user and application performance monitoring tools is one way of being pro-active in identifying any performance issues or repeated patterns across your organisation such as an overall slowdown in login times. Being pro-active enables you to resolve any such problems in a timely fashion – ideally before they become regular calls to your service desk.
Being able to monitor end-to-end application performance helps prevent those “my system is running slow” calls to the service desk that are often very hard to investigate unless you have statistics to back up what performance was like one day, one week or one month ago.
Keeping users trained in the technological advances that could make them more productive is now more critical than ever, with the evolving nature of cloud tools and self-updating software. There is absolutely no point in Microsoft providing new features and functionality within their Office 365 suite (which they are constantly innovating), if users can’t access them, or don’t even know they are there or how to use them.
This entire user engagement process will help you understand how your business works in relation to technology and give you greater insight into how any new services could be implemented.
By Justin Edwards, Head of Solution Architecture and Pre-Sales, SystemsUp
At SystemsUp we constantly advise our customers and their users about how a modern workplace environment can enhance their experience and productivity.
From envisioning workshops in the art of the possible, to demonstrating what a modern workplace environment could look like, or delivering the transformation programme, our customers know that their business requirements are our priority.
Please get in touch if you think we can help you.