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LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally. 

Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.

About Ed Hickman

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Ed is our project lead and is highly skilled at taking our creative vision and designing elegant and effective solutions.
Ed has an excellent understanding of learning psychology and how to motivate and engage end users through effective design.

Digital Transformation - don't lose your user focus

By Ed Hickman
Posted 11 May 2018

Digital transformation offers exciting possibilities for organisations. Identifying and successfully embedding new technologies can result in a significant market advantage over competitors. For example, riding a wave of innovation in an untapped area opens huge consumer revenues; finding a platform to help your team work smarter increases efficiency and savings. Both these (albeit high level) cases have something very important in common: ‘consumers’ and ‘teams’ - the people that underpin and benefit from digital transformation. Understanding the people behind your digital transformation is the secret to achieving a great, lasting change. So how do you do this?

1. Identify your users - To stay focused on your users, you need to know exactly who they are. They could be your entire organisation and customer-base or smaller groups if your ambitions are more conservative or targeted. Take the time to pinpoint the people who will be impacted both directly and indirectly, then get to know them by researching their needs and challenges.

2. Discover the blockers - For teams, this might be blockers that are stopping them from achieving their best. Digital transformation is a perfect way to address issues with communication, lack of flexible working and collaboration. To give your customers the best digital transformation experience, try to understand what they’re missing. Most companies already do this, so it shouldn’t be any different when trying to integrate digital products or services - ask the right questions and be open to the responses to uncover insights. Digital can also support this exploration. If you have access to research data, use technology to interrogate it and focus on problems with improved precision.

3. Use your insights to build solutions that fit - Once equipped with these insights, bear them in mind when designing your solutions. Don’t think solely in digital terms, but have digital in mind. Too many digital projects merely add an app or online element to an offline product. Try to ‘go bigger’ than this, and discover the technologies that really ‘fit’, then model how they will be incorporated into customers’ lives (or your teams’ work). As with your research, don’t revert to the ‘what’, focus on the ‘why’.

4. Plan for feedback - Then, expect a reaction - it might be good, bad or mixed, but plan for feedback. The pace at which you respond will define the success of your digital transformation. Don’t shy away from people’s views, no matter how challenging they are. Instead, have the mechanisms in place well ahead of time to respond to users’ views. Push what is going well and don’t be afraid to iterate the things that aren’t, or even pull a struggling project entirely, especially if you understand what went wrong and how you can feed lessons learned into your next project. As Georgina wrote in her article last month, the essence of digital transformation is being brave enough to fail.

5. Measure your transformation - Measure your digital transformation and make sure you tell users - both internal and external - about your success stories. Building a reputation as an innovator will bolster your company and help attract more brilliant minds to support your transformation.

6. Embrace failure - There is also nothing wrong with letting people know when something hasn’t worked. Openness and honesty goes a long way in the current digital climate. It’s almost impossible for companies to keep failures from their users for too long.

7. Continually revisit and evolve - Lastly, don’t think that your digital transformation is complete. To give your transformation sustainability and longevity remember that your users’ challenges, needs and expectations will evolve. Make sure you have the structure and mindset to keep on evolving with them.

This isn’t new thinking. All good designers know that to make an effective product or service, you need to start with the end user - that person who will tap the screen, capture the data or click ‘buy now’. Amongst the corporate commotion about the latest technology, commentators telling us how it will change our lifestyles and planners presenting strategies and roadmaps to make it a business reality, it is easy for the voices that matter to get drowned out. We shouldn’t let that happen.

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