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our insights

Transforming organisations to use User driven Technology

  • February 12, 2021

Recently our Service Design team carried out user research for a client to find out what they feel, think and believe about digital and technology in the workplace - and the challenges they face.

They discovered that they needed technology that helped them do their jobs more easily and quickly, that reduced bureaucracy, and that is as easy to use as what they use at home. So, we helped to change their office technology, based on everyone's feedback.

The new service was quicker, simpler and helped everyone do their jobs more easily, it facilitated a range of new ways of working which enabled them to collaborate, learn, trust and build confidence and skills together as an organisation.


Simplifying technology for the organisation's frontline staff


Simplify everything - our first principle for technology transformation


    • Move from central control to trust and empowerment
    • Don't purchase products that need "IT staff" to operate
    • Prefer products that feel like at home
    • Add extra security only where needed
    • Hide the wiring (user experience is the priority)


The existing technology created numerous hurdles to the way they delivered services, and made it difficult to collaborate with their partners, providing a bad user experience where too often the user experience was 'broken'.

Considering the organisations staff on the frontline of children's services: they're most in contact with our vulnerable children, young people and carers. They sometimes work remotely or as lone workers, often on the move. They spend too much time battling with slow, old kit and poor processes when they want to be doing the work that's important, to improve outcomes for children and young people.

If we give colleagues the freedom to work more flexibly and manage their workload and schedules more effectively, they'll have more time to spend where it matters.

We'll do that by providing devices and software they can use anywhere to get the job one. That's just one example - the benefits of new technology will be felt throughout the organisation.



Do less, and invest in the future


Do less - our second principle for technology transformation​


    • Never contract for more than three years
    • Get out of our on-premises infrastructure
    • Prefer commodity, cloud-based infrastructure
    • Buy or build only what we need, when we need to


Although much of their current IT stock was old and no longer fit for purpose, we determined that they could replace it at a much lower cost than ever before - technology is so much more affordable than it used to be.

New devices and IT infrastructure means less time and money managing and maintaining your network and kit, so their annual running costs are now dramatically lower. In fact, based on our previous experience, we expect to reduce their annual technology budget by more than 20% by 2021, which is no small amount.

More children and young people than ever before are in need of our support. As a charity, we've committed to help them and to spending more on children's services in the future - we need to find those savings and put them where they're needed most.


Start with staff needs (not IT needs)


Start with needs - staff needs, not IT needs, our third and final principle


    • Start small
    • Relentlessly collaborate with users
    • Design and deliver based on user research and data
    • Support out staff to work proudly with service users
    • Respect and enhance our people's capability and confidence
    • Design, Pilot, Iterate and Communicate openly and honestly


We created a newly formed technology transformation team that took the user research, and then worked with a wide range of suppliers to see what would be best for the organisations staff. Performance, user experience and battery level, and - of course - price point were top of our list.

We then tested and benchmarked over 30 options and finally, whittled this down to 9 preferred devices, including laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and phones.


We asked staff to get hands-on in helping us choose their new kit

We wanted to allow a significant range of people from across the organisation to get 'hands on' with the proposed technology and to discover how we can use technology to work more collaboratively, so we visited a range of offices to meet staff.

We were excited to talk about the organisations move to Google's workspace and to ask for feedback on what type of device and functionality works best for their people and the way they work.


…and we went far and wide

We were conscious that although they were headquartered in London, the organisation was a national charity and we wanted to make sure that we got the opinions of as many staff across the country as possible.

We got out to as many places as time would allow; starting with the Headquarters to test our approach, then on the road to their regional offices in Edinburgh, Crawley, Cheshire, Halesowen, Leeds, Bradford and Cardiff.


The feedback has been invaluable

We created fun tasks for our testers to complete and asked for their opinions on how the devices and software performed.

There was overwhelming positivity. Testers were pleased to be hands-on with the technology and to get an idea of how Google's Workspace will make their lives easier, for instance by allowing groups of people to collaborate on a document simultaneously.

Even seemingly small features such as changes to password protocol (no more being asked to change passwords all the time!), and email retention (moving from 3 months to 2 years) seemed to strike a chord with teams.


Getting set up for success

We setup a pilot of the new kit and Google's Workspace in September 2019 before running a wider deployment…

As part of the improvements, we began upgrading their Wi-Fi at 1200+ sites so the new kit will work faster and connections will be smoother and simpler, and of course, in switching to Workspace, we are migrating them from their current document storage too and ensure their data is secure and managed according to best practice.

We also created a tool to help their staff pick the best devices for the way they work and including the valuable feedback from users into a minimum viable product kit and software, before the pilot in September.


Change can be hard, but there will be support

We know that new technology will be a huge change to everyone within the organisation. Everyone will have to learn new ways of working and are going to need to help each other as we get to grips with it all.

Be assured: we helped to provide loads of training and support to assist staff get the most out of the new technology, whatever their role and learning style. To create and manage the best training experience for everyone in the organisation, whatever their role and personal learning style.

It's was critical that we get this right, so as you'd expect we sought help and feedback from staff on training and adoption too! It's all part of a User driven design process.

Author Daniel

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