An in-depth transformation
When a company embarks on a project to change the main software that underpins its activity (linking the customer database, sales, production, incident management, invoicing, etc.), the scope is far greater than a mere change of tool. We are talking about the digital transformation of the whole company, because the entire backbone of the processes and the IT system is being rethought and redesigned.
All the company’s functions are impacted, from the salesperson to the installer via the back office, and this requires a major rethink of the flow of activities and the distribution of tasks between teams, in order to make the most of the benefits of the new solution and optimise internal organisation accordingly.
- With automation, certain activities will become obsolete, replaced by activities with higher added value.
- Automation is also synonymous with standardisation, which implies less customisation, this in turn can lead to possible frustration affecting both the vendors and the customers.
- In alignment with the new system, installers will be equipped with tablets connected to the IT system, giving them the ability to modify an order from the customer’s premises, to conduct up-selling in the form of an upgrade of the customer’s installation, etc.
All these changes brought about by the arrival of a new tool require a certain amount of rethinking of the company’s organisation and necessitate the ability of every employee to question their role in the process. This is a far cry from simply helping people get to grips with a new software.
Onboarding and employee involvement
The/ A such transformation cannot take place without the total involvement of all employees right from the start of the project. This is absolutely necessary in order to maximise its chances of success and avoid the risk of joining the long list of failed projects when employees were not sufficiently informed about the project and lacked appropriate training.
This onboarding and level of employee involvement is only possible if certain conditions are met:
- By highlighting the concrete benefits for the organisation and for the different functions
- By recalling the vision, objectives and conditions for success
- By adapting communication to suit the targets and to the different levels of employee involvement, for example by staging user scenarios
Every employee should be able to answer the question “what’s in it for me?” Communication must take place at all levels of the company, starting with the executive committee and the sponsors, who must intervene at regular intervals, and especially at a turning point in the project (e.g. if the project planning is modified or the scope reviewed, etc.). Communication can take the form of “lunch and learn” events, which provide information, show the first stages of the interface and permit interaction with the project teams, ambassadors and testers.
As representatives of the entire organisation, they will both represent the needs of daily business to influence the development of the solution, and also play an important role as “relayers” of information from and to the field. They will also be able to identify which changes will have the most impact, which teams or individuals may show most resistance, and then support them as best as they can.
The ambassadors are the vectors of the transformation, they contribute to raising awareness, making employees understand what is at stake and getting them involved, while also supporting the main project management team.
The project will then experience its first user onboarding, several months before the final users. A starter kit will provide them with all the information available to facilitate their first steps in the application:
- presentation of the main modules of the tool
- an end-to-end view to help them understand the logic of the solution
- a glossary of the main concepts
- an interface to understand how to navigate and where to find what,
- Not forgetting training on how to use the software and provide feedback about any defects (Jira for example).
These materials can be improved by the testers themselves during the test period and then used to train future end users.
It is at this moment that differences in the ways of working will emerge and adjustments will have to be made with the support of management. This may take the form of workshops, when processes are reviewed, testers explain the new sequence of activities and business teams learn about their impact on their daily activities.
The remote mode of working in use since 2020 has made distance learning, in total autonomy, even more commonplace. Training can take the form of e-learning training modules (with verification of learning) and/or access to the test environment for the most adventurous, comprising demonstrations by the solution provider, or even better by the testers and key users, who can train their colleagues using their own business jargon. The testers thus become ambassadors for the solution they have helped to create and the training is adapted to the target audience.
To measure whether the measures implemented have contributed to the onboarding and involvement of employees, a barometer can be set up and activated regularly to measure the level of information, understanding, support and participation among employees. Depending on the results, corrective actions can also be implemented.