Human side of digital transformation
There is a magical moment when systems come alive; this doesn’t happen when you deploy your software in production. It occurs when the users overcome their initial immune reaction and start creating solutions inside the software. That is when a proper system is born.
When people think about systems, they usually refer to software. But a system is a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network. The software is just a part of the system. The infrastructure, the network, and the hardware are other system parts. But there is one part that people don’t usually consider, and in our opinion, it’s the most important one: the people.
Even though software, IT, networks, and hardware are complex and sometimes mysteriously temperamental, they don’t come close to the complexity of a human being. Humans have emotions, opinions, preconceptions, other interests, and activities. Humans are protective of their time and constantly evaluate the return of the time invested in a work-related activity.
We have learned through our lives that new things fail, so we all prefer the known and familiar to the new and unknown. People understand the promise of the latest technology, but we don’t approach new software as a child getting a better toy but as a detective whose sole mission is to find what is wrong with the newly deployed software. We approach innovation with skepticism.
And when we find a problem or a shortcoming, we have that aha moment when we validate all our preconceptions about innovation. I knew it; this doesn’t work.
That is one of the mechanisms that create the immune reaction in organizations. The immune reaction is an organic response when the organization perceives there is a foreign object in its mists. This reaction can be triggered by a new boss or a new office, but in this case, we are considering the immune response created by new software.
Individuals react differently. Some are looking for the problems with the software; some are dreading the time it will take them to learn the new software, some are panicked because the new software is going to create a huge backlog, and others feel threatened because they believe the new software is going to eliminate their jobs. The sum of all these reactions is the corporate immune reaction to the software.
But well-designed software solutions are tools, and in history, tools produce masterpieces when skilled, motivated artists use them. A hammer was probably invented to break and exert brute force. But some artists found a way to use it to create movement through sculptures. The same is valid with corporate software. There is a general purpose for the software, which is associated with improving business efficiency. But the master solutions supported by the software come from the users who overcome their immune reaction and start creating with the tool at hand.
That is why you need to have good software, well designed and coded. But you also have to think about the human aspect. In our experience, these are the most important steps you can take to reduce the immune reaction of your organization and give your software and users the best opportunity to work as a system.
- Always design with the human user in mind.
- Create software that mimics the workflow people use to complete their tasks and use familiar words for the actions buttons
- Expose the software to as many people as you can from the prototype phase to production
- Design your software as a tool, not a cage
- Support your software with good marketing during all phases of the project
- Gain advocates during the Beta Testing
- Don’t panic during the initial immune reaction.
- Deploy quick fixes and upgrades to the system
- Never deploy a software solution without a robust Helpdesk.
The ultimate goal is that your team becomes part of the system. If you can achieve it, there is no limit to what you can do with technology.
At Inmov North America, we understand how important people and culture are for this kind of process. We focus on giving each stakeholder the role and relevance that they deserve from the beginning.
If you are thinking about digital transformation for your company, contact us and let us understand your needs.
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