October 07, 2022

Article
8 min

Why Focusing on the User Experience Can Boost Digital Adoption

Make sure that someone who will actually be using the technology has a say in the process so it can be modified and customized before deployment. Unless it’s tailored to the actual business use case, you might be fighting against the current.

CDW Expert

What's Inside
  • Digital adoption needs a change management system

    You need a high-quality change management system in place. In different environments, with people from different cultural backgrounds, the way companies identify and manage those differences before implementing any changes is often key to success.

  • Digital adoption must prioritize user experience

    In addition to ignoring end users when choosing which technologies to adopt, many companies fail to consider user involvement. Along with creating a user manual, they need to recognize the value of user training and user feedback.

  • Digital adoption involves customization

    Ideally this customization involves assessing what employees are doing with their current software and ensuring that whatever technology the company adopts meets the same needs, in addition to offering new features.

  • The right partner can help with digital adoption

    When you engage CDW for your digital transformation, we will make sure all new applications have been tailored to the teams using them, tested by end users and implemented in collaboration with IT and security staff for a secure, seamless transition.

People planning for UX design while working with sticky notes, strings, thumb tacks and a laptop.

When it comes to digital adoption, Canadian businesses got the memo – according to Statistics Canada, more than 80 percent of Canadian enterprises have adopted industry-specific software and moved at least some of their activities to the cloud, while nearly 90 percent have implemented a company-wide computer network – yet contrary to popular belief, those numbers were barely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and don’t appear to be growing significantly anytime soon. In fact, more than half – 57 percent – of Canadian businesses told Statistics Canada they did not plan to adopt new or additional digital technology in 2022.

Why might that be the case? There are multiple reasons, but one that comes up frequently – for example, at a modern workplace panel discussion at CDW’s 2022 Business Technology Expo – is that too many companies adopt new technology with an eye on its benefits for their bottom line rather than the people using it.

It’s a mistake that Ryan Beauchamp, Principal Solution Architect at CDW Canada, has seen clients make far too often.

“Once they identify the business objective, many companies skip all the way to ‘let’s buy the latest and greatest tool’ instead of ‘let’s bring in the stakeholders who own the user experience,’” says Beauchamp, who helps companies modernize their workplace by implementing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), with a focus on end-user collaboration.

“Companies need to make sure that someone who will actually be using the technology has a say in the process so it can be modified and customized before deployment,” Beauchamp continues. “You might have the best tool in the world, but unless it’s tailored to the actual business use case, with awareness of its impact on a team’s day-to-day activities, you are fighting against the current.”

Digital adoption needs a change management system

Leo Batista, Specialists Manager, Solutions with CDW Canada, has seen many companies adopt new technologies with stars in their eyes, thinking everyone will embrace a new tool the moment they have access to it – and is quick to warn new clients it doesn’t work like that.

“You need to have a high-quality change management system in place,” Batista says. “We work in different environments, with different people from different cultural backgrounds, and the way companies identify and manage those differences before implementing any changes is often key to the success of such projects.”

For example, Batista recalls one successful project enlisting what the company called “multipliers” – essentially project cheerleaders in each department who were given more extensive training with a new system and then received support needed to ensure they thoroughly understood how it would affect their colleagues.

“We called them multipliers because we were equipping them to multiply the knowledge in their departments,” Batista says. “We had a very clear roadmap of where we were going, a very clear understanding of the reasons we needed to change things and open channels with our users where they were able to collaborate on its implementation.”

The combination of open communication and multipliers helping their peers understand why their employer was adopting a new system led to an especially smooth transition, Batista says.

“Based on my experience, the more involved users are in a project, the more committed they are to making things better,” he says.

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Based on my experience, the more involved users are in a project, the more committed they are to making things better.

– Leo Batista

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Digital adoption must prioritize user experience

In addition to ignoring end users when choosing which technologies to adopt, Regie Hernandez, Associate Field Solution Architect with CDW Canada’s Collaboration Workplace team, says that many companies fail to consider user involvement. Along with creating a user manual, he says, they need to recognize the value of user training and user feedback.

“I’ve worked on user manuals, and I write them based on my mind, which is technical,” Hernandez says. “A good user manual has to be based on an end-user mindset.”

Collaboration workplace solutions can provide this. Many include real-time transcription with different languages supported, fostering greater inclusivity for both multiple cultures and the hearing impaired. Trainings can also be recorded for users to refer back to when needed. Polling can capture user feedback. This helps create transparency and build trust between organization leaders and users, Hernandez says. Many platforms also include analytics features, which can capture user usage and ROI.

“Analytics show that it’s the most simple and reliable tools that are used most frequently,” Hernandez says, citing the popularity of Cisco Webex, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. “For companies, the priority should be the user experience, not the technology being used.”

Digital adoption involves customization

Another factor starry-eyed organizations often overlook about the products they’re buying is that most enterprise software needs to be customized before their teams can use it, Beauchamp says.

“Many of these products, even the Microsoft Office 365 suite – which is ever growing and making sure it integrates properly into any number of end-user solutions – aren’t designed to be used out of the box,” he says. “They need to be customized.”

Ideally this customization involves assessing what employees are doing with their current software and ensuring that whatever technology the company adopts meets the same needs, in addition to offering new features, Beauchamp says.

“If you’re going to try and help them increase their productivity or modernize their experience, the very first thing you need to know is what they’re already doing,” he says. “What applications are they using? How are they connecting to those applications? How are they using them in their day-to-day roles? What are the current pain points and challenges for them? List all of those out, and then figure out a solution that solves the challenges and pain points on the other side, while increasing their productivity and efficiency.”

A VDI project, for example, might involve moving multiple applications to a SaaS platform, which requires the parties involved to assess each application, catalogue back-end interdependencies and speak with both end users and the IT staff supporting them. Often this will result in identifying additional applications to modernize or a new method of improving a workflow.

“With any type of VDI, users need to want to use it, which means the user experience has to be the same, if not better, than what they were using before,” Beauchamp says. “Because when you’re pushing out new technology, you have one shot – users will try it once or twice, and if it does not meet their expectations of being the same or better than what they were using before, they’re going back to their old product.”

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When you’re pushing out new technology, you have one shot – users will try it once or twice, and if it does not meet their expectations, they’re going back to their old product.

– Ryan Beauchamp

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The right partner can help with digital adoption

Fortunately, companies undergoing a digital transformation project with CDW can rest assured they’ve hired a team that will make sure all new applications have been tailored to the teams using them, tested by end users and implemented in collaboration with IT and security staff to ensure a secure, seamless transition.

Beauchamp says that companies looking to implement new digital technologies should start by considering where they are on their current IT transformation journey – for example, whether they’re looking at leveraging the cloud or installing an on-premise data centre, or whether the solution they’re implementing is meant to be short- or long-term, because in each case the products used could be different.

“Looking at a company’s trajectory is key, so that we’re setting them up for success not just today, but for the future,” Beauchamp says. “Then since we’re independent, we’re able to look at all the different technologies out there and bring in the subject matter experts for those respective products before we even get to purchasing any hardware or software for customers.”

“Because let’s be honest – you’re hoping that whatever you’re buying and putting out there is going to be better than what you have,” he continues. “Ideally when you’re spending money you want an increase in performance, not, ‘we spent all this money and everything’s the same.’ ”