Making IT an invisible enabler of change

IT and business leaders face the daunting task of not only upgrading workplace technology and modernizing infrastructure, but also overcoming user resistance to new ways of working.

To ensure that workplace transformation delivers expected business benefits, organizations must address the “people” aspects of change (culture, behavior, ways of working, user resistance, etc.) and proactively consider potential lack of consensus among business leaders. Organizations cannot simply focus on the technology; in an age of digital automation and robotics, people still matter.

The Magpie Effect and human-centered design

The Magpie Effect, where simply introducing a shiny new thing was sufficient to drive adoption, is no long sufficient. It is now critical to take active steps to encourage usage. Starting with a human-centered design approach helps. An early adopter or affinity group will provide feedback, help shape priorities, enable A/B testing, and support an iterative design-develop approach. This group can also become your fan base and help define the right use cases, support the migration and encourage others to adopt the new. Gamification can help get the stragglers across the line, and actually allow IT to turn something old off.

Questions to ask

To move forward on your workplace transformation, organizations must consider all enabling and foundational technologies and how they affect the worker experience by asking these questions:

  • Outside-in: Where do employees work, and is that likely to change? Are they highly mobile? Do they ever work with outside partners?
  • Personalized choice: What devices do they use now? And what devices might they use in the future? How are they using their devices for work, and how could that change? If users bring their own devices, who is liable for a breach? What if IT wipes the device due to a breach? Who is responsible for continuity of service?
  • Global collaboration: Where are the silos in the organization? What impact do geographic and organizational factors have on these silos? Who will need to collaborate in the future, and where will they be located?
  • Social and connected: What are the challenges associated with making connections throughout the organization? Across organizations? How can approaches to collaboration used on social media platforms be applied to the workplace? How will they engage with coworkers in the future? How will an organization handle employees with multiple jobs, identities and roles?
  • Contextual insight: How can processes become data driven? How can productivity be increased with real-time information in context? Can data be enriched by consolidation and machine learning? What types of data are available, and what are the benefits of making it available in real time and in context?
  • Analytics and machine learning: Could software agents, bots or intelligent machines (e.g., IBM Watson) help make tasks easier? How can user preferences be factored into the process?
  • Automation: What processes can be improved through automation? Can the infrastructure be transformed to a more agile IT-as-a-service model? How can IT best meet the demands for a dynamically changing landscape of apps and devices?
  • APIs and service brokering: What IT services are causing the most friction? How do users want to engage with IT today and in the future? Does IT support easy changing of providers? May an employee create a data-driven app?
  • Security and identity: Does IT have a real-time view of the organization’s assets, systems and business risks? Is data managed everywhere? How is access control managed when there is no external edge of the network (access might be from anywhere)? Is security a painful experience to users? How are applications and cloud services tested? Are they automated? How will IT handle data sovereignty when users are truly mobile and global?

By addressing these questions, enterprises can truly change the way employees work and make IT an invisible enabler of change. The result will be a better user experience, higher levels of productivity, increased speed and greater business agility. And IT will be assured a central role in the new workplace of “me.”

Read more in our position paper, Empowering Workforces with Invisible IT.

Marc Wilkinson was DXC Technology’s chief technology officer for Workplace & Mobility. He left DXC in October 2019.


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