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Road to a Successful Digital Transformation of the Enterprise

What is Digital Transformation and how does a CIO/CTO get his/her Organization to embrace change?  This is a question many C-Suite Execs worry about day in and day out.  “I know the Enterprise needs to change and come into the new generation of Cloud, and away from manual process, but what can I do to spear head that change?”.
Coming from large corporations, and witnessing multiple attempts to change the way a corporation works, is no easy feat, especially Enterprises that have been in existence for many years and have a work force of thousands of employees around the world.  As an optimist, I still feel it can happen, it just has to happen at a slower pace.  Unfortunately, C-Suites don’t have the luxury of taking multiple years to change an organization.
In this series, I will discuss the different ways a large or midsized organization can have a successful “Digital Transformation”.
Let’s begin:
Just the word “Change” itself, often makes people uneasy, and doesn’t exude instant happiness.  Depending on the age of the employee, or experience being in a corporation that changes often, this word will bring people to sometimes a crashing halt, and productivity takes a MAJOR hit.  Not what we want when trying to implement a new process or culture.
What can a CIO/CTO do to massage the process, and make the transition as smooth as possible?  They have to look in the mirror, and be honest with themselves, and ask themselves, “Am I ready for change?”.  It has to start at the top of the food chain to be successful.  The whole process and deployment of the process change has to be thought out properly, and make sure it is as bullet proof as possible.  Especially when it comes to a digital change, as this usually hits every level in the organization.
The following are my thoughts on getting an Organization to change digitally.
Personas.

The definition of Personas: Personas is the way you behave, talk, etc., with other people that causes them to see you as a particular kind of person. It’s the image or personality that a person presents to other people. Personas are fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments. The term persona is used widely in online and technology applications as well as in advertising.

A user persona is a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users. In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews with users. They are captured in 1–2-page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and the environment, with a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character. For each product, more than one persona is usually created, but one persona should always be the primary focus for the design.
Personas are often used in a Marketing environment, but rarely in an IT environment.  Personas can help an IT Organization see what Services they provide, and how their end-users use those services.  For example, an Executive and Sales staff can often be put into the same Persona category – Travelers, as they both travel. They are not sitting at their desks as traditional office workers do so they would not need a dedicated desk with a desktop phone, desktop computer and monitor, but would be a better fit for a notebook or tablet and with a smart phone.  Another example is a data entry end user, who does need a dedicated desk but really needs a larger monitor since they are always entering data (and need as much screen real estate as possible).  From the infrastructure perspective in IT, Personas allow IT to deploy and the right IT hardware to the appropriate end user to empower them while saving costs to the organization.

For a Digital Transformation of an organization, personas can help determine which software modules are needed. It can also help in adoption.  People must “adapt” to “adopt”.  Adaption of users is not as easy as just sending them a link to the product and telling them “try this, and let me know what you think” ( this can be a recipe for disaster).  For people to adapt and “change”, they need to feel at ease with the change, and they should see how this change will make their jobs (and life) easier.  They are so caught up in day to day work, that they often don’t have the time to take a step back and see how this new change will help them (in many cases, they feel it will add more work and effort to their jobs).  Again, this is where personas can help.  Personas will allow the deployment team to understand more about their job especially what aspects of their job is most important for productivity.  For example, a home-based employee, who uses Internet connectivity to connect to the network, sees speed performance as a bigger part of productivity to let’s say an office worker who is in the same building as their application is being hosted.  Personas would highlight that aspect.

Personas will also help in training of the users.  Knowing what type of user will be using the process will help in teaching the user what they need to know.  Since time is of the essence, teaching specific modules to specific types of users can sometimes cut the adaption rate in half.

Personas are a very versatile tool for IT departments to have of their users, and as you can see above, can help in multiple aspects of a successful Digital transformation of the Organization.

Do you know the personas of your organization? Please look out for my next article on “Road to a successful Digital Transformation of the Enterprise”.

By Anthony Metrakos of Metra IT Consultants