People, technology, and business are frequently discussed together but often diverge when it comes to approaching and developing business capability, and yet they are mutually exclusive. Businesses need to evolve beyond hierarchical paradigms and recognise that they are an ensemble of people working together towards a common goal, understanding that some of the best ideas and meaningful front-line intelligence come from those people, and they need to have a seat at the table.
Businesses that approach strategy, technology, and growth with the intent of developing a pathway to extend business capability must look at the bigger picture. Accelerating business efficiency through technology needs to move beyond the lens of processes and systems to expose value by harnessing the invaluable perspective of people.
The business capability agenda needs to shift, and with that a move away from UAT (user acceptance testing) mindsets that assume that users need to accept what is being served, delivered at the end of a project, typically after all the major decisions have been made. People need to be considered at the beginning, and equally the overall investment needs to account for and ensure that users influence the outcomes, shared outcomes that will need to be adopted.
Investing in capability enhancement is a concept many businesses find most palatable, capital and operational investments attached to tangible service delivery, software, or assets, however the often-neglected capability enhancement conversation is concerning people, the very people that actually use the technology and engage with our customers.
People are at the core of business, and while yes, they will follow process and use the systems and technology you have invested in, the potential to miss the mark in realising the fullness of these investments can be severely impeded by the absence of targeted parallel investment in people. Users need to be engaged, by creating programs to develop skills through training, capture feedback and the opportunity to contribute and shape the technology landscape for mutual benefit.
Let us take a step back and think about this differently.
Customer success, regularly an externalised topic of discussion, but let’s flip that concept, and look at customer success internally, people are the internal customers of the technology, who based on their success, and overall satisfaction will influence the overall success and effectiveness of the business.
Is the relationship between technology and people a positive one?
People have a choice, a choice to determine if the business is worthy of their time, talents, and capabilities, and today people need more than compensation for their time to be truly engaged. Value needs to be demonstrated, and value needs to be mutually fostered. Engaging with people to provide them with opportunities to grow, influence decisions and positively shape the tools at their disposal can significantly enhance the impact of technology investments and overall business performance.
Engaging with people, involving them in the process of designing and enhancing business capabilities is an essential tool in shaping the direction of technology investment. Understanding the day-to-day challenges, front-line feedback and constraints that need to be acknowledged, targeted to be addressed or educated to overcome, and not just simply ignored and carried over.
User satisfaction and the links to productivity we know lead to higher performing individuals and teams, people who are more engaged, and professionally invested in the broader success of the business.
Businesses need to ask this question, how aligned is our technology with our people?