Transforming into a digital workplace is no small task. A partnership to support your transformation requires far more than technical acumen. There are many components in a digital workplace support partnership, but here are 9 of the most important (and often missing) that I’ve found.
1. Business Analysis Expertise
Business analysts are the “bridge” between understanding what the business needs, and understanding what the technology can do. These are individuals who can work alongside your business people, and can help you to re-imagine a future workplace that operates more effectively. And then they can talk to solution experts and developers to give them the information they need to get their jobs done.
2. Leadership Advisory Expertise
Oftentimes it is business leadership that is playing the biggest role in holding a project back. Your partner needs to be able to effectively engage with your leadership to help them develop a vision for leading the change. In other words, they need the experience and credibility to be able to lead the leaders.
3. Solution Expertise
The selected partner should have deep and wide expertise in the appropriate technology solution(s). Ideally, they should have multiple individuals on their team with solution expertise for two reasons: (1) you will want backup resources, and (2) no one person will know everything about the solution. Their own ability to collaborate internally will ultimately benefit you. Solution experts should usually be able to double as trainers (dedicated trainers are rarely as helpful as they need to be, because they don’t understand the product or your users well enough). Some solution experts can also double as business analysts (making them more effective in both roles).
4. Development Expertise
Solution experts are not the same as developers. And in spite of what the software vendor may have promised, you almost always discover a need to do at least a small amount of development to tweak a solution to your needs. Again, the selected partner should have multiple developers whose full-time job is to work on the selected solution and perhaps one other. When a developer splits their time between multiple major applications, they end up not being very good at developing for any of them.
5. Integration Expertise
Making different applications talk to each other is imperative (click here to learn more about data integration and why it is important in the digital workplace). Integration is a separate area and requires separate expertise.
6. Support Related Application Expertise
When is a user not a user? When they’re waiting for IT to fix their application!
Most customer and employee engagement applications are built to be integrated with other applications (different desktop software such as Outlook, database back-ends, email servers, marketing solutions, social platforms, etc). Some of the most frequent break-downs occur when the built-in linkages between these applications are not configured correctly.
7. Knowledge Transfer
The goal is not to become completely dependent on an outside organization. Work with a partner who has a track record of transferring knowledge to their clients. This can be done through training, creating internal user groups, and involving IT in resolving issues.
8. Integrity and Chemistry
It should go without saying that your partner won’t hire your employees once they get them up to speed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Document all the expectations in your agreement. And take the time to establish that the chemistry between your teams is solid – this team will become a part of your own team so take hiring them as seriously as you take hiring a new employee.
9. Project Management
Coordinating all these roles, particularly when transforming the business, takes an expert. Your partner should have a project manager that can adapt to different project approaches depending on the situation (though, for the most part, these types of projects require some form of agile project management).
Are you experiencing business transformation, or business frustration? Share your wisdom below!