Understanding local and regional government users: transforming business through technology... and user adoption

By Harry Reid - November 20, 2019

 

The success of digital transformation projects for local and regional government organisations doesn’t just rest on the technology that’s used, it relies a lot on user adoption; understanding that it is a cultural business change as well as a practical change is hugely important.

With that in mind, there are lots of things to consider when you embark on a digital transformation journey as a government organisation. Users who might not be ready for such a radical change to the way they work cannot and must not be ignored; their reservations and concerns need to be addressed in practical ways so that they feel confident and excited at using the new tools which are being given to them. Tools like Office 365 can do lots of exciting and innovative things, along with increasing efficiency and productivity, but only if your users know how to use them effectively and to their full potential.

One of the most crucial oversights by IT professionals is assuming that everyone in the organisation will be as excited as you are when they’re given access to new applications and introduced to a new way of working. The concept of a ‘job for life’ is perhaps more prevalent in local and regional government organisations than any other sector. This concept is one of the major reasons for success and passion within organisations, as staff develop an innate understanding of the region you’re working for and a passion for delivering services. But it can also bring with it a resistance to change. Assuming that members of staff who have worked for the council for 20 years will come in one day and be completely fine with new policies, processes and technologies, can be the downfall of user adoption in your organisation.

New technology can be expensive, and you need to make sure your teams are using it to see a return on your investment, but the return in value add through using the applications in Office 365 in the way they were intended will far outweigh the initial outlay.

It also creates a culture that greets change with a positive attitude; where end users push boundaries, changing the way they work in new innovative and exciting ways that benefit the entire organisation and let local and regional government organisations provide a better service to the people they serve. This is the nirvana - the end goal that every council is chasing - and unfortunately, it isn’t possible with just one or two training sessions. It takes the creation of a bespoke user adoption programme, tailor-made for specific councils and other public sector organisations. Because although councils all work towards the same end goal, they do it in very different ways; unique ways that best fit their individual constituency and constituents. And although there will be some crossover with user adoption activities, different set ups, sizes and users means that a bespoke approach is necessary.

A technology transformation project isn’t (and should never be) a ‘keep up or get out of the way’ event. Let’s treat the end users as individuals; take them on the journey with you, and you never know what kind of innovation it may spark.


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