Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Written by Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director, METNA at Riverbed

Overcoming IT Barriers to Digital Transformation

Today, the role of the CIO and IT department is more closely aligned than ever to business operations. This is because, in order to ensure a seamless digital transformation, both CIOs and their IT departments have to be able to ensure that business objectives are at the centre of their strategies. In fact, this is critical if they want to drive innovation, deliver better customer satisfaction levels, increase workforce productivity, and reduce bottom line costs during a new project.

Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed
Elie Dib, Senior Managing Director METNA at Riverbed

There is one element of IT delivery that is however often overlooked within all these considerations. This is ensuring excellence in user experience. It is the most fundamental measure of success, as without measuring this before and after any digital transformation programme, there is no empirical metrics to help validate claims of any clear change in the experience with confidence. And user experience often determines increase of productivity, employee engagement, cost savings and can also result in better customer service being delivered.
There are four common barriers to digital transformation initiatives. Below we explore the steps an enterprise can take to overcome them.

1. Operational In-Efficiency

Business unit leaders and IT professionals, are often summoned to a war-room meetings to explain why an IT-related project or change aimed at improving business productivity or customer service resulted in so much negative feeling toward the initiative. Unfortunately, this is often because all parties are not aligned. More often than not, these situations can easily be avoided by first starting at the vantage point of the end-user experience to see how IT services are being consumed.

Both business unit leaders and IT professionals need to sit down together and map out objectives and KPIs for technology changes. The plan could be tested with a small group of end-users. But ultimately if both parties know what the outcome must be, there is no room for confusion in delivery — and it can help both parties to get back to their respective roles in supporting the business.

2. Sub-Optimal Application Performance

Organisations are using hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications. New applications are constantly being deployed, whether the new version are upgrades or replacements for old legacy applications. This all brings risk. Poor application performance can significantly impact competitiveness, and, in sectors such as healthcare, can directly affect patient care or put sensitive data at risk.

Application upgrades can be a key catalyst for issues that impact productivity. With so much variation in hardware, location, network, and user expectation across the business it becomes an ever bigger and more complex task to thoroughly test every combination of how an application could be consumed by different users. Data centre monitoring solutions are partially helpful in reporting on the availability of centrally hosted applications, backed by reports and dashboards with lots of positive results. However, this information alone is rarely indicative of a positive experience for end-users on the receiving end.

By contrast, effective end-user experience monitoring allows benchmarks to be created over time which clearly show precise historic application performance metrics. Then, upon application upgrade or migration, any positive or negative deviation in performance can be viewed immediately with the analytics to show exactly where the change in response time and experience is occurring.

3. Ineffective  Change Management and User Adoption

Adoption is key to the success of products and services. Within Riverbed’s collective frame of reference, users tend to only embrace change when they feel confident and experience an incremental improvement in their interaction with an application or desktop.

Users need to be brought on the journey of change. Reasoning behind the changes need to be explained, and effective training put in place to make any change in strategy or a transformation as positive as possible. In addition, for future change initiatives, empirical evidence in the form of data from monitoring can prove invaluable. Businesses must be able to measure system performance against end-user productivity over time to ensure there’s no real negative impact, but rather only improvement.

4. Pure Visibility of the End-User Experience

The three previous topics can easily be combined within the one single category of poor visibility of the end-user experience: in other words — the visibility gap. In short, this relates to the lack of insight into how IT services or change initiatives and digital transformations actually impact the experience of users, which ultimately impacts business performance.

The key thing to keep in mind is that any effect on end-user experience can only be measured from the end-user’s perspective of how they are consuming IT services — and with proactive alerting so when there is a deviation in performance, IT is notified directly, and doesn’t rely on the workforce calling their IT team or the CIO to complain.

So what has enables organisations to embrace IT change for the greater good of the business?

Close the Visibility Gap and Overcome Barriers to Change

The bottom line is that no enterprise business can manage or improve until it can measure. Therefore, the recommendation is equally simple. Measure and benchmark your business’ existing user experience and instantly compare any variations when a change is made.

To conclude, whether the business is looking to change a specific IT component or to enable full-scale digital business transformation (in a positive manner) CIOs, IT professionals and their business unit partners need to ensure the experience for their end-users is optimised as part of the project — in effect, treating them like IT consumers.

What’s more, no business can rely on IT end-users as the primary source to the business to problems. To achieve this, the business needs easy access to real empirical user experience data that enables it to easily compare the before and after of changes. So, the first step in this approach, and for your next IT transformation task, is to start with end-user experience to help ensure a successful outcome.


If you want to share this article the reference to Elie Dib and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

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Why HCM

Ever wondered why do companies invest top dollar in HCM applications and then spend on maintaining them, what is the value it brings to an organization, why use it all?..

To tackle these questions and to understand why HCM, i.e. Human Capital Management applications, are basic blocks in the architecture of any organization’s IT landscape, let us look at the features that makes a HCM application what it is and how it empowers employees and HR personnel alike in an organization.

Why HCM

Ease of use: Feature rich and in some cases widget rich HCM systems come fitted with a simple user interface, imagine having to struggle to use and navigate through an application, no one wants that kind of negativity in their lives, the screens always meander towards simple, intuitive and an easy to use and navigate layout. The buzzword here is User Friendly.

Manage a global & dynamic workforce: Organizations are spread across continents with countries having varied tax regulations and rules. HCM systems provide features that support taxation, statutory deductions and year end processing of various countries. Also when employees get deputed and move on to foreign shores, a HCM system enables tracking such movements and related details.

Accommodate industry standard HR processes: Along with the obvious ability to hire employees into the organization, maintain their personal & employment data and record changes as applicable and then process termination on employee exit, HCM systems also enable calculation of periodic benefit deductions, calculation and payment of bimonthly/monthly salaries subject to the home country regulations, payouts of AdHoc bonuses. And employee data from the HCM system of an organization is published to other enterprise applications like Finance, Supply Chain Management etc.

Another group of HR processes that target employee talent management enable recording job related competencies of employees, detect gaps in the employee competency profile vis-à-vis the employee designation and track bridging of the gaps through a structured learning and certification path, HCM systems can also help map and track career plans for employees in an organization and if required create and monitor succession plans as well.

Employee work hours and In and Out times used for billing purposes can also be recorded, monitored and maintained in the HCM application.

Employees and their managers can work together on creating performance goals annually or bi-annually and track the progress and closure of the same with feedback and ratings as relevant.

Employees can also update changes in address, changes in martial changes, child birth/adoptions, view pay slips, view benefits offered by the organization and make choices and even see deductions as they happen, etc.

Anytime anywhere access: This happens to be a very important value-add, mobility is almost a way of life as evident in the past few years, people want the option to access data, approve requests and extract reports while on the go, so a HCM system is smartphone and tablet compatible has a definite edge in the market.

HR Analytics support: As your organization grows and accumulates data, analyzing this data to identify patterns and trends is an all-important activity, HCM systems provide text & chart based reports to support decision making and also ability to interface with external business intelligence tools if your organization uses them.


If you want to share this article the reference to Bhuvana Rao and The HR Tech Weekly® is obligatory.

Why recruitment software needs to be user-friendly • Recruitee Blog

One day Recruitee had a little surprise in the mailbox. Capterra told us that we’d made it to the top 10 of their Top 20 Most User-friendly ATS (Applicant Tracking Software)!

This means a lot. Not only because Capterra recognizes us! But also because they recognize us for what we’re aiming for – “user-friendly.”

Most of the on-going competitions are about having killer features, or who can get their hands on the hottest technology. Why do we care about “user-friendly”?

Back in the days, we were knee-deep in the hiring chaos. We desperately needed some sort of structure around this hiring thing. We found a bunch of software, but couldn’t figure out any of them. They were too expensive, or too hard to use (imagine working with computers in the 90s). So we opted for building our own recruitment software. (With hindsight, it’s expensive and hard on our side. But it’s all worth it. And it’s another story for another time). We decided early on that we would make Recruitee all about “user-friendly.” Because we, as the first users of Recruitee, as well as the users later on, are…

Busy.

Everyone who has hired can feel the pressure. “Where is that goddamn file?” “The interview is today?” “Who has emailed that candidate?” “What did they say again?” The constant switching between mailboxes/calendars/folders/spreadsheets is killing. A ridiculous amount of your time is spent on retrieving scattered information. Ending this nightmare was the first thing we did. The solution is overviews – one overview for every section in Recruitee. Before you dive into the details, you have a clear picture of what’s going on. When you dive into the details, you can access every data within three clicks. No time is wasted on finding the information, it’s well spent on processing the information.

Living in the 21st century.

We’re living in the age of touch screen, intuitive design, and clean aesthetics. Yet, there is software that looks like computer interface in the 90s. It even requires training before you can click on anything! Frankly, we’re shocked. We remind each other every day that no matter how complicated Recruitee would become, we are going to make it intuitive. Clean interface, useful tooltips. As soon as users are in the software’s environment, they know where to go, and what to do. Not spending 30 minutes finding a button, and definitely not doing that after a week of training.

Unique.

We might have the same problem with hiring, but our context and approaches are different. Can you imagine using software that doesn’t allow you to adjust to your own hiring workflow? No. That’s bad. We fix this by making many things customizable in Recruitee: from careers sites, hiring workflow, screening questions, to hiring roles. It’s a tightrope between enough flexibility and too much flexibility. How do we find the sweet spot? We talk with users, early and often. We spot the behavioral patterns and decide where the line should be. Catering to individuals’ hiring needs is a co-creation process, not a dictation of how to hire.

Collaborating.

Users hire in teams, with each team member plays different hiring roles throughout the process. Recruitment software must be something everybody can work together with, from a junior to a CEO. The silver bullet? Develop every feature from a beginner’s angle. Feedback from new users is integrated into each development sprint. Each pixel must be so simple that users can understand at a glance, not having to contact their tech department to decipher the software every time they want to do anything.

Problem-centered.

Users want to have their hiring problem solved. End of story. Our features are only valid as long as users use them. Once we realized this, there is no going back. We dodge the chase after fads in recruitment software development. Again, by talking with users daily, we assess the needs for key features and focus on making them happen. Users like it that their problems are being heard and worked on. We like it that Recruitee becomes more useful after each update. It’s the goal of building the software, after all. Not because it’s cool and shiny, but because it helps us all hire better.

Hungry.

Users want to have their problem solved. Together with other problems connected to that problem. That means outside the software, and into everything around it. So we create plenty of resources for hiring, write about ways to improve your hiring, along with other content aiming to help you hire better. For example, this video:

“Recruitment software needs to be user-friendly” is a straightforward common sense. But it often becomes secondary to feature requests. Thanks Capterra for putting the spotlight on user-friendliness again! Let us all remember our starting point, and why we need recruitment software, at all.

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